Promotion Before Product

I recently stayed at one of my favorite hotels. It is part of a brand that for the past several months has been aggressively promoting some upgrades at its properties.

In early June I had a great workout in one of the new fitness centers at another of this brand's properties. So I was looking forward to doing the same at this hotel. When checking in, my enthusiasm peaked as I was given a room key with a photo promoting the new fitness centers.

I quickly changed into workout gear, rushed down to the gym, eager to get fit! Ah, but what did I find? Tired and incomplete equipment, the same I had complained about the last time I stayed at the property, and nothing like what the brand has been advertising.

I've been around long enough to understand that a rollout doesn't occur overnight. However, if you are going to make very public claims on a daily basis for weeks on end in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and other national publications, you'd better be prepared to back up this promotion with the product being described.

Too often we focus on "getting the word out." If the product is good, the word will get out before we've even done any paid promotion. People will talk. But in this case, what we have to talk about is not the product itself, but the promotion that misled us. Not cool.

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