10 reasons you should swap to plastic cloakroom tags

 

Trevor Sorbie cloakroom tag
What does your cloakroom currently say about you?

If you’re still using paper cloakroom tickets, or (sharp intake of breath) raffle tickets in your cloakroom, here are some very good reasons why you should consider upgrading to plastic cloakroom tags.

1. They’re much more professional.

When is a raffle ticket ever a fair swap for a designer coat? Providing plastic cloakroom tags says that you care about the belongings you’re being entrusted with, and it speaks volumes about your business too.

2. You can brand them – on both sides.

As well as pre-printed options, you can personalise the plastic cloakroom tags to your own brand in full colour, front & back. Which means you could also include a promotion, or even advertise a sister establishment. Or just have a bit of fun with them.

3. They’re rarely lost (and easy to find).

Being plastic and just like a credit card, cloakroom tags are generally kept safe in a wallet or purse. They’re easy to locate and much less likely to be thrown away by accident, thus avoiding the disgruntled queue of people who are forced to wait until the end of the night to get their stuff back.

4. They’re wipeable and reusable.

You can drop plastic cloakroom tags in your Margarita as many times as you like and they’ll still come up smelling of, er, lime. The point is, you can use them over and over again, unlike paper. Even if you laminate your paper tags, they soon become grubby.

5. They’re much more secure, and difficult to copy.

If you buy ‘off the shelf’ paper tickets, then so could someone else and you’d have no way of knowing which is genuine. Printing a unique number on every numbered pair gives you further security. All our pre-printed Cloakies have unique numbers.

6. They support your ‘use less paper’ policy.

Because the tags are made from durable plastic, they can be reused time and time again, unlike paper tickets which are a one hit wonder.

7. They’re unlikely to be accidentally torn off or ‘lost’ in the cloakroom.

In a busy cloakroom or hotel where bags are constantly being moved around pre check-in or post check-out, it’s not unusual for paper tickets to be torn off.

Plastic cloakroom tags can’t be physically torn off coat hangers. And if they’re secured on to bags with bag loops, they withstand wear and tear and jostling about.

8. You can put a disclaimer on them (in the nicest possible way)

Whatever your Ts & Cs are for cloakroom use, print them on the reverse.

9. You can also use them for bags.

Our flexible bag tag loops make it easy to affix the cloakroom tags to luggage or shopping bags.

10. They just look nicer.

Which would you rather receive when you hand over your expensive jacket – a professionally branded plastic card, or something you get at the school Tombola?

Search our Plastic Cloakroom Tags and Cloakies® at http://cardnet.upsocial.co.uk/products-by-type/printed-plastic-cards/cloak-room-tickets/

Cloakies – the mini, quirky cloakroom tags

Mini branded plastic cloakroom tag
Go mini – and give your customers a branded experience throughout

The Card Network has just added full colour, mini cloakroom tags to their list of printed plastic cards –  Cloakies.

The Cloakie has been designed for restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions who want their own colour branded cloakroom tags but might have previously been put off the price. The Cloakie is half the size of a regular cloakroom tag or credit card but is the same height, so it’s still easily visible in a wallet or purse. And because it’s smaller in size, it’s also smaller in price.

Neal Smith, MD of The Card Network explains how it came about as an idea:

We have many restaurants and hotels who order plain plastic cloakroom tags because they want to move away from using tatty raffle tickets, but can’t quite stretch to their own branded version.

he Cloakie aims to bridge the gap. It’s smaller so it’s more cost effective, but it’s still big on impact. Initial feedback shows that our customers love them because they’re a bit different – they’re quirky.”

Stave off negative customer reviews

A quick look on Trip Advisor shows how damaging a poor cloakroom experience can be. Giving a cloakroom tag for every bag or coat checked-in significantly reduces the likelihood of belongings being lost or stolen. And a branded cloakroom tag will always look more professional than a generic one.

Cloakies are full colour on both sides, and are custom printed to a specified design. They are supplied in numbered pairs, with one card being given to the customer, the other slotting easily over a coat hanger. Made out of quality plastic, they are reusable and durable.

Prices for Cloakies start from £128.00 for 200 and include free design and artwork.

It’s not just restaurants and hotels that are seeing the benefits of custom printed cloakroom tags. The Card Network’s customers include hairdressers, museums, galleries, nightclubs, bars and private members clubs.

 

How much of a mini-break can bitcoins buy you?

Bitcoin
Could we soon be purchasing theatre tickets with Bitcoins?

With Expedia joining over 60,000 online retailers that accept the virtual currency, travel by bitcoin is set to become a lot easier, and more widespread

Bitcoins aren’t exactly top of the list for most organisations when they’re setting up online payment methods.

But with their popularity soaring, it could be time for travel companies, retailers and those in hospitality to consider their worth – particularly in terms of attracting a new audience.

Expedia raises the bar

Expedia announced that it was joining the ranks of travel companies accepting Bitcoins as payment a couple of weeks ago. It is only accepting the virtual currency (or more accurately, ‘crypto currency’) for hotel bookings at the moment, and it’s only being trialled in the US. But if it’s a success, it’s likely that they’ll roll this out globally across all their other travel services. Which means paying for a whole city mini-break ‘virtually’ could soon become a possibility.

This isn’t new in the travel market – other smaller travel organisations have been accepting Bitcoin for some time now, but when a player the size of Expedia sets out its stall, you can expect others to quickly follow.

It’s already been proven possible

Last year, a newlywed couple from Utah decided to embark on a social experiment to see if they could navigate the world – and purchase every living necessity – for 3 months just using Bitcoin. You can read more about the experiment and see their series of films document their travels and challenges here. http://lifeonbitcoin.com/

Currency still volatile

With growing numbers of people making their fortune from the mining of bitcoins, adopting the currency as a payment method could open up your offer to a new, highly affluent audience.

But before you rush off to enable your website to accept restaurant bookings, or provide theatre, museum or gallery tickets via the crypto currency, consider the risks.

The currency is still highly volatile and has been in the news lately with regards to security breaches. Expedia themselves don’t ‘hold’ the currency, they trade it back into Dollars at the end of each day.

Its value can vary wildly – at its peak back in March, a single Bitcoin was valued at $1,200. Last week it was around $500.

Have you looked into bitcoins as a potential payment method? Would you? We’d love to know what you think.

New to the world of Bitcoin? Read some FAQs here. https://bitcoin.org/en/faq

 

 

Future hotels: more personal or sold as commodities?

Do hotels need to focus more on offering a personalised service to secure guest bookings in the future, or is the shift more to selling a ‘bed in a box’?

Hotel loyalty cards
Hotel room or commodity?

A recent report from the InterContinental Hotel Group says that post-recession, hotels must focus on offering an individual service to guests in order to be rewarded with their loyalty.

The results of the report are based on a survey of around 7,000 international business and leisure travellers, plus interviews with travel experts. It argues that the advent of personal technology and the concept of ‘always with me’ devices has created a demand for service that is tailored to their individual preferences.

What that personalisation should be varies depending on nationality. UK travellers value the ‘little touches’ in their rooms for example, whereas Americans regard choosing their exact check-out time as more important.

Hang on, just where are they going to get this information?

The sceptics among us are likely to respond that this is just another way for establishments to justify gleaning information about our consumer habits through ‘spying’.

Does this mean hotels will be researching us on Facebook and Twitter after we book? Will they take it from Aunt Bessie’s birthday party photographs on Flickr that I have a particular weakness for chocolate cake? Surely this is just a bit creepy.

Of course hotel loyalty cards can do a lot to record guest preferences, but they can only do so much. And you have to get the guest to sign up in the first place.

But if more hotels are becoming commodities, do we need to be worried?

At the recent Master Innholders GM Conference 2014 in London, the great and the good of the Hotel world debated whether hotels are being increasingly viewed as commodities.

The rise in popularity of OTA’s (Online Travel Agents), flash sales and price-driven discount sites means that guests’ perceptions of hotels’ value and services are changing.

Mark Lewis, managing director of Hotel Rez, commented: “Working with the likes of Groupon is a strategic decision but it does lead to commoditisation of your property and quickly leads to dilution of margins.

Stuart Johnson of Browns followed with: “We have to be very careful at the luxury end. Now at the three-and four-star level, we certainly are seeing commoditisation, especially in fast-moving hotel companies in which the guest basically gets a box and then seemingly has to buy soap, towels, Wi-Fi, service and so on.”

If this is the future for the hotel industry, do we need to be worried about our personal data?

Horses for courses

As is the case with many things in this world, it will depend on the hotel you choose, and the kind of experience you’re after. You wouldn’t find a boutique 5-star hotel charging you to use their soap (or you’d hope not). Nor is a 3-star city centre chain hotel likely to hand you a bottle of your favourite red wine on a repeat visit.

It’s likely that we’ll see a growth on both sides of the coin. You’ll just need to decide which side you’re on in a particular weekend.

Oh, and make sure you review your Facebook settings, just in case.

Read more about the debate ‘Are hotels commodities?’ here.

Spruce up your cloakroom for Christmas

Your Christmas specials are in place and the Christmas decorations are up; you’re all ready for the Christmas rush. But is your cloakroom ready to welcome the extra visitors?

Don’t leave yourself open to negative reviews online this festive season  

Printed plastic cloakroom tags
Ditch the tatty raffle tickets for branded cloakroom tags

When it comes to customer online reviews, you’d be surprised how many people reference a negative cloakroom experience. Lost or mislaid coats or luggage is never the kind of review you want to read about – even less so in the season of goodwill.

If you think it’s time for a Christmas make over, the good news is there’s an extremely affordable solution in the form of plastic cloakroom tags.

Low-cost, off-the-shelf or branded plastic cloakroom tags?

Handing your customers a tatty raffle ticket in exchange for their most prized possessions is arguable worse than giving them nothing at all.  Especially when you can get your hands on 200 low-cost numbered plastic cloakroom tags for just £42.00.

These credit card sized plastic cloakroom tags come in sets of identical numbered pairs: give one to the customer, the other slips over the coat hanger, or is attached to a shopping bag using a luggage strap.

Do so, and straight away the customer is more confident about handing over their Designer winter coat.

Don’t miss a branding opportunity

Print your own logo or brand message onto the plastic cloakroom tags for a more professional image. Doing so shows that you care about your customers’ belongings: that you’ve invested in keeping them safe. The tag is also an advertising opportunity: many people keep their tag beside them at the restaurant table for example, so advertise a long-term promotion or a sister organisation.

The cards are made from durable PVC, so can be reused over and over again.

Search our range of plastic cloakroom tags

Should boutique hotels offer loyalty cards?

It’s a question that’s currently being debated by some of the industry’s leading figures on BoutiqueHotelier.com. Are boutique hotels missing out if they don’t offer guests loyalty cards and reward them for their custom? Or should the guest experience alone be enough to secure repeat bookings?

The argument for

Hotel loyalty card
Loyalty cards can be the reason a guest chooses you over a competitor hotel

A number of well-known boutique hoteliers are in favour of introducing some kind of loyalty cards or programme. Tom Rowntree of IHG talks of the benefits of ‘brand reassurance’:

“The power that a brand can deliver is that we can take away the risk of staying at different hotels because we come in with a brand reassurance. Then of course there all the programmes we plug into, such as the IHG Rewards Club loyalty programme, so there are loyal guests that want a risk-free stay and they’re rewarded for it.”

James Lohan, CEO of Mr & Mrs Smith, believes their loyalty scheme is important for securing bookings. It offers money-back on future bookings or a gift, as well as 24-hour support from a booking team. He views these ‘a nice thing to offer guests.’

The argument against

Some hotels feel that they shouldn’t need loyalty cards and a specific loyalty programme to incentivise guests to choose their establishment. The argument is that the guest experience should stand out on its own, without needing to be propped up by the promise of points or rewards on loyalty cards. This is admirable as a sentiment, and is a great brand promise for all staff to live up to. But what happens if a competitor nearby is offering just as good customer service, but with incentives of free room upgrades or spa vouchers?

Make the stay personal to the guest’, is the view of others, including Gary Davis, CEO of Malmaison Group. Rather than offering points, reward the guest with something that you know they like. It’s hard to find fault with the concept, just as long as the mechanism is in place to flag when a guest is classed as a regular customer. Miss the opportunity to reward and you may just find that they have gone off to try a competitor hotel.

One thing is clear – loyalty cards can’t secure bookings on their own

Of course, loyalty cards and programmes will only be effective if everything else is right. It doesn’t matter how many rewards you offer if customer service is poor, your prices don’t stack up or the beds aren’t comfortable. However if you’ve invested heavily in creating a boutique hotel experience to be proud of, a good loyalty cards scheme can help you to secure repeat bookings with minimal investment.

Read more of the debate here

 

Do hotel key cards contain my personal data?

Custom printed hotel key card
Hotel key cards aren’t clever enough to retain financial information

Do a bit of research on this and you’ll find wildly conflicting answers.

There’s a school of people out there who believe that hotel key cards must contain personal information including credit card numbers and details. How else could the hotel ‘charge’ items to the right room during your stay?

It’s turned into a bit of a myth.

We have a friend who had a friend who knew someone that had their bank details stolen from a discarded hotel key card.’

But it’s exactly that: a myth.

– For a start, the information contained on a hotel key card is encrypted. Even if you were able to break the code (which you’d have to be a tech geek to achieve), the only information you’d find would be the date you checked in and out. Not exactly useful data for an identity thief.

– Also, the magnetic stripe on hotel key cards just isn’t that clever. It simply can’t hold detailed information like credit card details. It doesn’t hold information for all that long either – if you’ve stayed in a hotel for more than a few nights, you’ll probably have experienced the ‘card doesn’t work any more’ scenario.

– There is no need for them to hold financial information. As long as the card identifies you and your room, the hotel can add the charges to your bill.

So don’t feel you have to destroy your hotel key cards the next time you’re checking out.

And the next time you’re told about someone having their bank details stolen from a key card, tell them it’s an urban myth.

Fit plastic cloakroom tags onto bags the easy way

Bag straps for cloakroom tags
Fix your cloakroom tags onto bags the easy way

Plastic cloakroom tags are great when it comes to looking after coats and accessories. Simply hand the customer the branded duplicate tag, and slip the other one over the coat hanger. Job done.

But what happens when you’re handed something that doesn’t easily fit onto a coat hanger, like a bag or a piece of luggage?

Try and tuck the tag into a pocket? Prop it up and hope no-one moves it? Perform some sort of balancing trick?

Or just use a flexible plastic loop?

Plastic cloakroom tags are one of our most popular products – we supply to restaurants, bars, hair salons & tourism destinations all over the country – all of who want to manage their guest experience from the minute they walk in the door.

So when they asked us to help with tagging bags, we suggested flexible plastic loops.

Our 152mm flexible loops of clear plastic allow you to easily attach the plastic cloakroom tag to the bag or item.

And at just £3.96 for 100, they’re a no brainer when you’re next ordering your plastic cloakroom tags.

 

 

 

Using hotel key cards to drive more business: The Quay Hotel

Branded otel key cards
Turn your key cards into a branding tool

If you’re still using generic hotel key cards, you’re missing a fantastic promotional opportunity.

How one hotel is using key cards to their advantage 

The Card Network has been supplying branded hotel key cards to The Quay Hotel & Spa in Deganwy, North Wales since 2010.

The Quay Hotel is a luxury hotel and spa in a fantastic location, with views over the Conwy Estuary and within easy reach of Snowdonia National Park. The hotel also has a creative approach to marketing, using their hotel key cards to cross-promote offers at their restaurants, bar, spa and leisure club.

Using hotel key cards as a mini advertising campaign 

Over the last three years, we have helped the Quay Hotel to get maximum benefit from their hotel key cards, to drive repeat bookings and encourage more guest spending.

On our first order of branded hotel key cards, we asked them: ‘Why don’t you include a discount or offer on the back?’

Since then, we have created a number of different cards to tie in with seasonal offers and promotions. Some cards raise awareness of the other facilities available within the hotel, for example gym memberships, spa packages and restaurant offers; whereas others offer a specific discount off their next booking.

The Quay Hotel recognised the value to be gained from cross-selling to the most receptive and engaged audience they have: their current guests.

 

We now also print branded membership cards for their leisure club, offering discounts on accommodation, food and different types of memberships.

What could you do with your hotel key cards

1. Offer discounts off their next booking within a specific timeframe

2. Advertise an upgrade offer

3. Promote a deal or offer in the restaurant, spa or leisure club

4. Raise awareness of a sister establishment

5. Agree a discount with a nearby attraction, on production of the card

Hotel key cards can do much more than just open doors: they can open wallets too.

 

Are you prepared for hotel conference season?

Hotel conference registration
Speed up registration and increase security at the same time

If you’ve got a large conference or exclusive event coming up, you’ll be immersed in planning. Branding, access and security are likely to be just some of your priorities. It might help to ask yourself the following:

–    Have you made the most of the branding opportunities?

–    How are you going to badge attendees and ensure a smooth ‘check-in’ process?

–    How will grant the people access to the right areas of the conference – and keep others out?

Branding and security work hand-in-hand

Consistency of branding makes a great impression. If you have a theme and a brand for the conference, you’ll probably have applied it across everything from the welcome programme to the exhibition stands and menus.

Have you considered your name badges?

One of the first touch points with your brand is at arrival. If you’ve gone to a huge effort to brand your conference, don’t miss your name badges out. Include your logo and other conference details onto a personalised plastic card which could them be attached to a custom designed lanyard.

Rather than a simple name badge, provide a photo ID card instead – this aids security and identification and helps with introductions and recognition between attendees.

You can either have ID cards printed ahead of the conference by asking attendees to send over photographs, or print them on the day with a plastic card printer.

Increase security through customised access control cards

Giving access control cards to your attendees is a great way of granting access to the conference (and making sure other hotel guests don’t wander in for example), whilst still allowing freedom of movement.

You can also program access control cards to grant access rights for specific areas; so everyone can access the main conference room, but only certain people can access the VIP area.

Access control cards can also:

–    Have promotional or reminder messages printed on them, with event details or function information on for example

–    Act as cashless vending cards or store spending information.

Also ensure that you have enough access control cards and hotel key cards in stock to meet the rush of guests and attendees: the best laid plans will go to the wall if the cupboards are bare.