Key Card Envelopes—Room for a Personal Touch

Hotel Common Space

Every bit of printed material you hand to a customer is a chance to communicate with them. Despite its size, the hotel key card envelope is no different.

Key card envelopes are used every day in hotels, motels, and inns across America. With a bit of creative effort, these tiny envelopes could better serve your customers and offer a personal touch.

Most key card envelopes feature the name of the hotel, and some hotels opt for custom envelopes showing a picture of the hotel. But they generally say the same thing: “Welcome,” “Welcome, Guest,” or “Thank you for being our guest!” The backs of the envelopes are sometimes printed with a rather generic patriotic image (a flag) or nothing at all.

That’s the kind of information and images that guests probably never look at twice. It’s not very useful, and certainly not personal. So, how can you make that key card envelope valuable to your guests? Use the space on the envelope to print something they would read and make use of. The envelope can become a means to offer a personal touch that makes their stay memorable and brings them back.

How important is that personal touch?

Studies have shown that for a hotel, motel or inn to rate highly with customers, it must leave guests with a memorable impression. Caroline Cooper of Hotelnewsnow.com estimated that 68% of customers will fail to return if they feel unappreciated. It’s the number one reason businesses lose customers. One way to solve this problem is to reward their loyalty with exclusive deals; think of things that would be of high value to the guests, but a low cost to you. Going the extra mile and offering a personal touch throughout their stay makes customers feel appreciated. It can be as simple as jotting down a recipe they liked when they stayed with you, cleaning the ice off of their car, offering a discount card to a local winery, or making sure they have kids’ coupons for their family outings. “Gaining new customers costs 5 to 8 times more than retaining existing ones,” says Cooper, “so it’s all about giving guests a reason to return.”

In an interview with About Travel, travel guru Eric Weis offers advice for how a hotel or inn can be memorable: “It all boils down to whether the guest feels that the hotel staffer really cares about them (only about 10% of time). Little details that go beyond usual and are local will make a difference—a difference that will bring customers back.”

A keycard envelope is already something customers use throughout their stay with you. They pick it up several times a day. They take it with them when they go out of their room. They have to interact with it every time they enter their room. So if you print the envelope with something meaningful, that “captive audience” will certainly make use of it! Work with your graphic artist to develop ways to use that space to print something your guests will find of value in your local area.

Go Beyond “Welcome, Guest”

Here are eight ideas for what you could print on that keycard envelope, to give your guests a sincere and personal welcome:

  1. Phone numbers and addresses to the 3 top local attractions
  2. Dates for upcoming seasonal events such as festivals, annual sports competitions, summer concerts, holiday light events, and farmer’s markets
  3. Discount codes and addresses to 3 local restaurants (this would take networking with restaurant owners)
  4. Discount code to the nearest car rental business or local taxi service (if you are located near the airport)
  5. Discounts to nearby kids’ attractions
  6. If you are a small hotel and don’t have an on-site gym, your key card envelope could serve as a free pass to a local off-site gym or spa
  7. Directions to local transportation (bus station, metro)
  8. Discount code to a local beauty shop or salon

Different kinds of travelers will be looking for different kinds of attractions and offers, and using guest-specific envelopes will assure your guests that you are paying attention. You could even consider having two different custom key card envelopes, one for vacationers and one for business travelers.

Remember, the personal touch will bring them back. Think outside the envelope! What ideas do you have for what could be useful on a key card envelope? Post them here. Take the ideas you generated to your graphic artist. Then contact your printer to start your next batch of personalized and memorable key card envelopes.

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