Free Idea for Tracy Marks

Here at AdPulp, we sometimes like to take up what we perceive to be a worthy, or otherwise interesting, corporate and/or civic cause.
For instance, The Oregonian is reporting that Portland’s downtown Hilton will be closing for four weeks this winter due to a frightening lack of bookings.
This is a property that the newspaper calls a “local icon” and points out that luminaries such as George W. Bush, South Korean president Kim Dae-jung, Muhammad Ali and Dr. Ruth have all stayed there. Yet, trouble in hospitality land brews.

Tracy Marks, the Hilton general manager, said early this week that the hotel routinely shuts entire floors during slow weeks to cut cleaning and energy costs. He projects the Hilton’s occupancy could be as low as 30 percent in some winter weeks.
The Hilton, Marks said, has already laid off 20 percent of his staff.

The Oregonian says hotel occupancy in downtown was 85 percent in July, which is clearly a great time to visit the City of Roses. But the average room rate in July was $125 compared to $146 a year ago.
“It’s one of the more challenging markets we’ve seen nationally,” said Elaine Sahlins a senior vice president at hotel consulting firm HVS San Francisco.
Personally, I’ve always enjoyed staying at Hilton hotels. Hilton employees all read Conrad Hilton’s Be My Guest, and I’ve found they generally provide a high level of service.
For whatever reason, I’m fond of the hotel business, as a customer and as an advertising man. Couple that with the pressing need to boost Portland’s economy, and you have my motivation for the following free idea.
Instead of closing for four weeks this winter, the downtown Hilton could instead offer a free extra night’s stay to any business traveller whose company either does business here now, or wants to do business here in the future. If said traveller booked one night, the second night would be free. If she booked two nights, the third would be free, and so on. The idea being that people come here for business, but stay for pleasure.
If you have an even better idea, let’s hear it.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.