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From Consumer Goods to Hospitality: A Packaging Renaissance

Product packaging and labeling has become a crucial aspect of marketing communication in recent years. It not only conveys information about the product but also sets customer expectations and carries symbolic meaning. Despite its importance, the hospitality sector has been lagging behind in this discipline due to limitations in technology and distribution.

However, it's time for this to change. The consumer goods industry has already demonstrated the impact that packaging and labeling can have on a product's success. For example, the same bottle of Dom Perignon Vintage champagne was sold for a higher price simply by adding a fancy label that illuminates in the dark. This demonstrates how a different packaging and labeling technique can attract different customer segments and stimulate different emotional reactions.

Similarly, Superga sneakers were sold for a higher price when labeled with the Italian flag, appealing to Italian pride and patriotism. These examples show that packaging and labeling can drive additional revenue and should be applied to the hospitality industry as well.

Guest needs and preferences vary greatly depending on the purpose of their travel - whether it be for business, with family, or for a leisurely vacation. The emotional response to different room labels and descriptions will differ, which will impact the willingness to pay.

According to research on consumer behavior, 70% of purchase decisions are made within the store, making visual design, images, names, and functionality information critical in converting customers and influencing their willingness to pay. Packaging and labeling can act as a silent salesperson, tapping into personal values, beliefs, and emotional connections.

A practical example of this in the hospitality industry would be selling the same physical hotel room under different labels, highlighting different features and inclusions. The same room could be sold as a "Lowest Price" option with minimal information or as a "Most Popular" option with more in-depth details about the room and its features. Imagine the same room being sold as a "Maria Theresa Room," invoking a sense of historical elegance and creating a unique brand experience.

The technology now exists to manage room inventory on a feature-based level, allowing hotels to sell their rooms in a variety of ways. From selling a simplified inventory to fitting specific distribution channels to showcasing all room experience dimensions and targeting specific travel segments, the possibilities are endless.

It is time for the hospitality industry to embrace the advancements in technology and bring packaging and labeling to the forefront. If current PMS or channel manager systems do not easily integrate with new technology, it may be time to consider switching to a more adaptable system. Although the process may require effort and time, the benefits to the bottom line are well worth it.

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