I love getting inspiration for branding from hotels. This week I decided to stay at two hotels in New York City: The Soho Grand Hotel and Ace Hotel.

As a brander, I tend to look at every opportunity to learn from other brands to inspire and generate ideas — not just for my own brand but for my clients. If you’ve never tried this before, I encourage you to stay in a cool hotel to gather ideas for your brand. You could do a “stay-cation” and be a tourist in your own city. Or you simply visit a city you love and choose a hotel where you’ve always wanted to stay.

For me, staying at the Soho Grand Hotel was swanky and cool. Yes, I did run into a few celebrities. The staff was classy, friendly and professional. I love their branding. But, then I switched gears to the Ace Hotel on 29th and Broadway in Manhattan. This is where it gets a bit more interesting.

FYI – the first Ace Hotel opened with friends Alex Calderwood, Wade Weigel, and Doug Herrick who purchased and transformed a Seattle halfway house into an affordable hotel that would appeal to the creative class (according to Wikipedia). As a creative person no wonder I like this hotel!

I took photographs of these four images that I’d like to highlight as really fun brand “touch points” to inspire ideas into your branding. There’s nothing too intellectual about these images. Instead, I wanted to show you how you can get inspiration from hotels to create ideas for your brand.

1. USE MESSAGING WITH A UNIQUE TONE OF VOICE.

Instead of having a sign that hangs on your doorknob that says “Please do not disturb”, Ace Hotel has a fun way for you to stick a magnet on to the front of the door that says either “NOT NOW” or “NOW”. Clever.

2. SURPRISE YOUR CLIENT WITH MESSAGING WHERE THEY DIDN’T EXPECT IT.

It wasn’t until I removed all the towels from the hotel rack that I noticed this messaging on this wall. It certainly caught my attention and I read the whole thing. (In case you’re wondering, there wasn’t a floor in the room, so I left.)

3. PAY ATTENTION TO EVEN THE SMALLEST DETAILS.

Sometimes the little things can make a big difference. When I went to wash my hands, this little object (dangling on a hook) caught my attention. It turns out to be a luxury detoxifying soap. Nice touch. Remember, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make an impression.

4. SHOW YOU CARE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT.

Yes, I love shampoo, conditioner and body wash that smell good. However, what I love about this brand touchpoint is that the hotel has indirectly told me that they care about our planet and the environment. Instead of polluting landfills with all those small plastic sample-size bottles of toiletries, they use these larger dispensers that can be easily re-filled for the next guest.

Kudos, Ace Hotel!

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