Recently I was taught a very valuable lesson in marketing. Well maybe lesson isn't the right word, rather it was an example of a company using the same marketing practice that I adopt, and using it successfully.
I was invited on a tour of the new Dakota Hotel in Glasgow. The invite came somewhat out of the blue, but I was excited none the less, so went along with Debbie.
In keeping with the modernisation of the Brutalist haven that is Charing Cross, the facade of the Dakota is similar to that of the other hotels in the chain; Edinburgh and Eurocentral. With familiar straight lines and right angles of highly polished black stone, the building is just as imposing as the other hotels, although this one feels softer, I don't quite get that same Omnicorp HQ feeling. The interior of the hotel is unsurprisingly immaculate and intriguing, with the signature of Amanda Rosa running throughout. The restricted palette uses a variety of dark tones and hues of greys, blacks, golds and browns to create a grand yet intimate space. Lighting plays a vital part in separating areas, yet there is one word that sums up the interior perfectly and simply; texture. Rich dark woods meet even richer and darker, deeply luxurious leather, highly polished brass metals meet thick sea-weathered rope and cold marbled stone meets sumptuous stroke me textiles; furs and wools.
On arrival we were greeted by an impeccably dressed doorman, who ushered us inside, where we were welcomed by the hotel manager and other staff who were passing. The warm welcome came from all angles and felt both real and sincere. I was reminded of New York, where hospitality is taken seriously and first impressions are not forgotten. We were lead through the bar to the rear champagne lounge, where we met the hotel's Marketing Manager; Michael. He wore a very well tailored grey flannel suit, and reminded me (albeit a cliche of any charming male who works in marketing) of Mad Men's Don Draper (sans the alcoholism and attachment issues) he was polite, courteous and genuinely interested in my wellbeing whilst in his company.
And here's where the lesson started. Michael had done his homework, he knew who I was and he knew about ten30, he knew about the projects we had been involved in and recognised our aesthetic, he asked questions with intrigue and really understood the brand. I have been in situations where having been invited to events / parties / awards as a representative of ten30, the host knows nothing about me or the brand, it can be a bit rude and off putting, like you're there to make up the numbers. This was the opposite, I felt like I had been asked to the hotel because my opinion mattered and my business was interesting. I felt totally at ease in their company and made to feel important.
As we enjoyed champagne and sampled the excellent bar menu, Michael and I talked about Glasgow, fashion, culture & food and everything else in between. Not once was there a mention that Dakota was the best place to go, or did they boast about having the best this or the most exclusive that, nothing was ever pushed. Instead I was shown; shown the quality of the food, left to experience the ambience of the bar and the felt the true luxury of the rooms, and for me, it was far more effective.
We had a very pleasant evening, and I felt that we had been taken care of. I left with a feeling of leaving an old friend; looking forward to the next visit.