Hampton Inn Marketing Fail? Sleep Naked.

Why are the folks at Hampton Inn, a Hilton Hotels brand, so intent on convincing you that their sheets are really clean?

It all started in the summer of 2012 when the Hampton Inn brand started putting post-it notes on headboards alerting guests that the duvets and sheets were clean.  The sticky note campaign met with mixed reviews and was a hot topic on the travel discussion boards and amongst frequent travelers.


Photo Credit: Paige Anderson

In case the post-it notes didn’t get your attention, Hampton Inn has a reminder for you, in the elevators.  A colleague, and frequent business traveler, posted a photo to Facebook this week after noticing this advertisement in a Hampton Inn in Washington State. The ad says “duvet covers & sheets are impeccably clean upon your arrival. so clean – you’ll want to sleep naked”


The Facebook post got a ton of comments. Here are a few: “Sleeping on top of the comforter tonight?” “Retch.”  ” blech. hope you brought your black light.”  “Gross!” “Marketing Fail.”  “Just think, the parents likely changed that sweet little naked child’s messy diaper right there as well! Sleep well my friend… With lots of layers on!”

There was not a single favorable comment on the post.   Personally, I think the “your sheets are really clean” campaign makes me question their cleanliness – not feel more comfortable.  In December 2012, Kurt Smith, the chain’s product vice president, told USA Today “they decided to roll out the sticky note reminders after customer research revealed that guests either wondered about duvet cover cleaning, or they didn’t think about it at all.”  He followed by saying “It’s one of those things that we do really well and we said, we’re not getting credit for it. So we said let’s figure how to get credit for it.”

Credit? For having clean linens? What do you think? Is this a marketing fail or success?

3 Comments on "Hampton Inn Marketing Fail? Sleep Naked."

  1. Glad to hear their linens are clean…but now I’ll wonder about the hundreds of other surfaces that don’t have sticky notes or other messages pointing out their cleanliness.

  2. I tend to agree with Kurt. It’s a marketing campaign that psychologically tells you things have been cleaned. Plus, it is capturing buzz associated with something good, clean hotel rooms.

    I know I personally saw lots of people posting pictures of the post-it notes when they first came out. I might have even been guilty. So social media is out there telling their customers that hey, we take additional steps to make sure you have a clean and comfortable stay. From a marketing perspective, you can’t ask for more.

    The sleeping naked message may have been a little tongue-in-cheek, but it helped enforce the idea, and possibly even mentally told people NOT to do it since others may have already.

  3. @Becky – my thoughts exactly!

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