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I wrote a couple weeks ago about how word choice can lift a narrative.

Forget the classic story arc for a moment. Even one word or phrase can warm up the copy or jar the reader with a bolt of incongruence.

 

 

But nothing tests the ability to harmonize words in tight quarters like the hotel door hanger. By comparison, the writers for Hallmark Cards look like disciples of Tolstoy.

Most hotel door hangers come in at less than 50 characters — not words, characters. And in that limited amount of real estate the writer must convey that the room needs attention or not with cleverness and a certain attitude reflecting the brand.

To find the best storytelling in hotel door hangers — now there’s a reality TV show waiting to happen —we scoured hotels across Europe, Asia and the U.S. It wasn’t easy. There’s a lot of bad stuff out there, “Please make up my room.” And once we identified a door hanger with potential, we still needed to smuggle it out of the hotel.

The payoff —

An infographic that captures 14 hotel door hangers along with a history of the genre that glues together the content.

 

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Like Hemingway’s “For sale, baby shoes, never worn,” they show that a few words can trigger a reaction.

Personally, I like the simplicity of:

“Okay, now”

“Not now.”

Beyond the writing, I don’t want to lose sight that every interaction with the customer, no matter how small, is a chance to build the brand and make a connection. If the door hanger causes the guest to smile or even move in the direction of a chuckle, that’s a win for the hotel.

If you’ve come across hotel door hangers that tell a story or showcase a clever phrase, send a photo my way and I’ll pull together a second post in picture essay form.


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