The Curtis Hotel: Marketing with Verve and Humor

I just recently spent a few days at The Curtis hotel in Denver, Colorado. It’s a local favorite of mine, with different pop culture themes for each floor and bright, engaging colors and architecture. The amazing thing is that it’s a Doubletree Hotel by Hilton, as the vast majority of hotels I’ve stayed in with either chain have been notable for their bland boring appearance. No personality, just a container for people to sleep, really just a small step up from sleep capsules you’d find in Tokyo.

But at The Curtis, things are different, as was obvious when I stepped off the hotel on the 13th floor to find my room, room 1313. Yes, room 1313.

The elevator doors open and a silhouette of Nosferatu greeted me:

nosferatu at the curtis

As a film buff, I’m probably one of the handful of Curtis guests who have actually seen this classic 1922 horror film, but everyone surely recognizes “creepy” when they see it.

Indeed, it’s surprising how many hotels assume guests are too stupid to count, offering up “floor 14” as, you guessed it, the actual 13th floor of the hotel. Because it’d be scary and creepy to stay on the 13th floor right? Next time you’re in a big hotel have a close look at the elevator buttons. Amazing.

Head down to my room and it’s hard to miss the sign in the hallway, a sign that suggests ensuring the door’s securely locked before I jump into the shower is just a good idea:

bates motel sign, the curtis hotel

Fortunately, Norman wasn’t there to invite me to join him for some late night sandwiches while we tried to avoid getting his Mom upset.

More importantly, this highlights the critical need for every organization to apply some humor, a sense of fun, to their business. I slip jokes and puns into my writing, and good-naturedly make fun of myself on stage when I’m speaking. The Curtis, as is obvious, doesn’t take itself too seriously as a business hotel (even as its staff is superb and the attention to detail and quality of the catering and cleaning service are both splendid).

And they don’t forget the selling part either. Here’s the sticky that was on my bathroom mirror when I checked in:

food upsell

Smart. Very smart.

Now, how does your company use humor and wit to make your job of selling easier?  Or does it?

One comment on “The Curtis Hotel: Marketing with Verve and Humor

  1. Hi Dave!
    I like The Curtis hotel. It’s a classic example of innovation (Yes, humor.) to serve customers with distinction. Few companies today break the mold to do this. The American Customer Satisfaction Index surveys over 240 industries monthly and has found customer service most places is average at best. Thanks for the story. Happy New Year!

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