Hotel News
BITAC® Events!
Operations Jul. 26, 2020 More Info 9 Supplier Spots Left
Building Your Hospitality Business
  Are you a member? Log In  or  Sign Up
Send a summary and link to this article
To Email
Your Name
Your Email
Bot Test
To pass the Bot Test, please type the white text that you see in the gray box. This helps us prevent spammers from abusing the system.
Print Printable Version

Branding Through Books

Hotels are publishing books and finding them to be a great mechanism for promoting hotels.

Thursday, January 29, 2015
Caryn Eve Murray
bookmark this
Bookmark to: Digg Bookmark to: Del.icio.us Bookmark to: Facebook
Bookmark to: Yahoo Bookmark to: Google Bookmark to: Twitter
We are on Twitter

As a world-class chef, Todd Kelly knew that even with all the right ingredients, a worthwhile creation takes time. So when Kelly, the executive chef at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, and Michel Sheer, the managing director, talked about publishing a cookbook that would showcase the best from his kitchen at Orchids at Palm Court, the hotel’s top-rated restaurant, the idea spent time simmering before it got to sizzle.

Three years later, in 2011, “Todd Kelly’s Orchids at Palm Court,” hit print, announcing its arrival with a well-publicized book signing at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in downtown Cincinnati. The book went on sale in the hotel gift shop, through the hotel website, on amazon.com, and at a number of local bookstores.

“It was a tremendous opportunity to both showcase the work that Todd does and provide customers with some additional insight into the hotel,” Sheer said. “It was a terrific way to very softly talk about the benefits of doing events and conferences here at the Netherland Plaza. The book is really about Orchids at Palm Court and the leading edge of what we do.”

Indeed, he said, the 175-page book has become a good-will emissary for the luxury, Art Deco-style landmark hotel.

Best of all, said Bob Louis, the hotel’s DoSM, the book takes home chefs and other readers behind the scenes of each recipe’s genesis, adding to the excitement by peeking into Kelly’s award-winning kitchen.

The term, hotel bookings, takes on a whole new meaning when a hotel, resort or inn decides to add publishing to its portfolio. A book or other publication can raise a property’s profile, prove a useful marketing tool, or sometimes just make guests feel an extra measure of welcome during, or even prior to, their stay.

In Britain, the Jurys Inn chain of hotels chose to publish a collection of five guidebooks last October, known as 36 Minute Cities Guides, focusing on what Suzanne Cannon, head of marketing, called “hidden gems in hidden gems in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle.”

Cannon said the collection was “born out of an insight that business travelers have on average a mere 36 minutes to really experience the city they are visiting for work. At Jurys Inn, our staff are always on hand to offer advice about great hotspots and hidden gems to visit, even if guests only have a few minutes to spare.”

As such, authorship became a team effort, with the content for the guides crowd-sourced. “The process of creating these guides began back in June, when we started to crowd source our staff’s local expertise to find out what they felt were their cities must-sees. We then shortlisted the results to come up with the final selection and worked with our film crew to capture each of these recommendations,” she said. Amassing the images was a lengthy process, she added in an email, since the photographers needed to visit each city and capture just what was needed.

The guides, she said, are not intended to replace a concierge but serve to help guests in their pre-visit planning.

“The guides allow our guests to plan their visit before they even arrive in the city, meaning they have more time to spare and visit places of interest when they are staying with us. Using the expertise of our wide network of knowledgeable staff allows for a vaster insight into local knowledge, which is especially important for our time-poor corporate travelers, who often have minimal moments to spare when visiting these cities for work purposes.”

In Pennsylvania, the Hotel Bethlehem takes great pride in its 120-page “Historic Hotel Bethlehem,” which encompasses heritage that dates to the predecessor Eagle Hotel in the 1800s, and even further back into the city’s formative years in the 1700s, said Kelly Ronalds, director of sales and marketing.

“We are built on a community piece of land and so we are into being a community hotel,” she said. The book touches on the hotel’s integration into the modern city, its support of the Celtic and music festivals held there, as well as other major local events. The book is the creation of biographer James Crutchfield and hotel managing partner Bruce Haines and is in guest rooms for browsing, or in the hotel gift shop and nearby Moravian Book Shop for purchase.

It, too, serves as a gesture of good-will for hotel guests - if not an outright gift for at least one special occasion.

“When brides book their weddings, it is our gift for the bride and groom after the wedding,” Ronalds said.

However, if there is one hotel that wrote the book on writing hotel books, it is perhaps the Hotel Del Coronado in California which, championed by staff historian Christine Donovan, has produced a total of seven on subjects ranging from history, stories for children, the holiday season - and, of course, the celebrated on-premises hauntings.

"The haunted legacy was huge in getting us started because other people were writing books about 'our' ghost, and the books were poorly done," she said. "So that's why the ghost book was the first one we did. I' really proud of it because it's not at all sensational; it's a really responsible account, very history-based." The ghost book, “Beautiful Stranger: The Ghost of Kate Morgan and the Hotel del Coronado,” and the history book published in 2013 are especially popular, as is the book detailing the hotel's 1888 construction, “Building the Dream: The Design and Construction of the Hotel del Coronado,” she said.

Her personal favorite is “The Loveliest Hotel You Can Imagine,” a softcover children's book that tells its story through a child's letters from 1892.

"I think having as many books as we do helps guests understand the breadth of our history, even if they don't choose to read all of them," she said. "In addition, just thumbing through the books in our gift stores is educational ... It's very easy to learn from our books; they're all designed to be super user-friendly so you can 'drop in' anywhere and become engaged." The hotel handles much of its own book retail operation, selling in the on-premises gift shops, on its hoteldel.com website and through Amazon. Donovan especially loves being at the book signings when a new publication comes out.

The greatest challenge, she said, "is just reining in the subject matter. I have tons of photos, files ,vintage memorabilia, oral histories, etcetera. It's just a lot to corral!"

Caryn Eve Murray
Associate Editor
Hotel Interactive® Editorial Division

Bio: Caryn Eve Murray is a freelance writer and an assistant editor on the news desk at Newsday on Long Island. During her tenure as a business writer for New York Newsday, she covered the city's small business community for which she won the Distinguished Business Reporting Award of Excellence from the New York Newspaper Publishers Association. She has also been a feature columnist and writer and has ...
Feedback Messaging & Feedback
We welcome your opinion! Log In to send feedback.
Already a member?
Log In
Not yet registered?
Sign Up
Need More Information?
  RSS Feed
RSS Feed
Contact Us
Mobile Version