“Overstay. You’re welcome” is the message behind the world’s latest hotel checkout innovation–a new product to be launched by Australian upmarket hotel chain Art Series Hotels in December. The idea is simple: You don’t check out of your hotel room until someone else checks in.
Hailed by Art Series Chief Executive Will Deague as “a genuine product innovation,” “Overstay Checkout” is an idea from Naked Communications Melbourne–the agency behind the award-winning “Steal Banksy” initiative for the hotel chain last year in which visitors were offered a piece of Banksy artwork if they could steal it from the wall where it was hung without being caught.
The aim of both campaigns is to boost occupancy rates across the Melbourne-based chain’s three hotels, which are renowned for their array of sought-after artworks, during the quiet summer period.
“We want to create promotional activity that punched above its weight in terms of media activity with an offer that wouldn’t cost the hotel anything,” Naked Founder Adam Ferrier explains.
“For ‘Overstay Checkout,’ we began by looking at customer grievances–an obvious one being having to check out of a hotel room early, typically by 11 a.m. When we asked hotels why, if no one else was immediately booked in, no one had an answer. It seemed we’d stumbled across one of those sacred cows–a thing you do but don’t know why,” he adds.
“Better still, the hotels in effect will give away something of value to the consumer–late checkouts and free overnight stays, at no cost to the hotel as it’s all unsold inventory.”
Arts Hotel Series has enjoyed a number of talked-about campaigns since it began working with Naked a little over a year ago.
“Steal Banksy,” which won two Gold Effies and a Gold Cannes Lion, helped the hotel chain boost its summer occupancy rate by 1,500 rooms in just four weeks–50% over target. It boosted web traffic to Arts Hotel’s site by 112% and attracted media coverage in 61 countries worth an estimated $2.1m in PR value.
Ferrier readily admits “Overstay Checkout” “isn’t quite so immediately PR-able” as “Steal Banksy.” But, he adds: “It’s as interesting if not more interesting by being an innovative new product we can now pioneer for the hotels market.”
“Overstay Checkout” is available at Art Series hotels between December 16 and January 13.