Everyone wants a free room upgrade. A quick search for 'how to get a room upgrade' generates 375 million Google search results. While there are hundreds of blog posts offering hints and tips about how to do it (guilty: we even wrote one ourselves) we've realised that there's one sure fired way to get the best room in a hotel.
Buy an Apple Watch.
We speak to hundreds of hotels daily and last week's news got us thinking about how the Apple Watch is going to impact them. The question: if you're offering keyless entry through the Apple Watch, how are you going to decide which room to offer your most technologically-savvy guests?
We learnt that the Starwood SPG keyless programme operates in a select number of hotels and a select number of rooms. It comes down to cost and technological restrictions such as battery life. Before mass uptake, there has to be some early adoption and testing to make sure the technology is seamless and 'just works'. After all, no-one wants another Sinclair C5 moment. So would hotels want to test new things on their most valuable guests? In a word: yes.
Think about the audience. Early Watch adopters are likely to have higher disposable income, be more social-sharing friendly and want to show off (or perhaps justify) their new purchase and its new features to as many people as possible. What's more, they are willing to take a risk. Buyers of the first iPhone forewent what we today class as basic features such as copy and paste and so early Apple Watch adopters are - in the eyes of marketers at least - willing to make certain sacrifices to be the ones to say 'I had it first'. To a hotel that's extremely valuable. It allows them to learn with you so they can optimise and improve for those who follow.
While we can't guarantee success - after all, Starwood is the only hotel that has announced an Apple Watch app - we do think if you're planning a trip later this year and want to guarantee yourself a room upgrade, buy yourself an Apple Watch. It beats, as one blog post suggests, pretending it's your birthday.