The pink principle: what to do with attributes to build a “customer-first” hotel


I coach tourism management and often, I brainstorm with hotel executives and get stuck to crack new ways to grow sales. The first thing I do is remind them that, “Attributes matter more than products”. Weird? But strangely, we win.

People feel what they are made to feel about a product. These feelings tend to be more enduring, more thought-provoking and more behavior-changing when they are mixed with sentiments of fear or potential for trouble. These feelings also happen very fast_ micro moments.

To illustrate, let’s compare two examples I encountered today after walking into two hotels and intentionally asking for something cold.

The Product Hotel

I was offered a cold soda and straw. I drank. There was no bill, I had to check it up on the menu; paid and left.

The Attribute Hotel

Waitress: Do you like mango? I will get you our best mango smoothie.

Butler: Did you enjoy our mango smoothie? She (waitress) insisted on the best. I have been making these for five years now. It was low-sugar, natural favor and no-preservative.

Waitress: Here’s the bill (in a classy leather wallet).

I paid and left.


Products are end-points and hotels have to choose the route. A majority choose profit-first, emphasizing transient qualities at the cost of customer wellness. After all customers can sense what they are made to feel.

Boon Cafe tops 3 smoothie giants in Mombasa for [genuinely] choosing customer-first. In closing, allow me to point-out three reasons why your hotel must emulate her, going forward, on what to do with attributes:

i) Rebuild your Mission

Attributes are statements of your enduring values. A good corporate image must project excellence, courtesy and safety_ Customer-first.

ii) Focus on Adaptation

Attribute speak louder than words about your commitment to change and remain relevant to the territory, times and values of your client.

iii) Think Community

If there is one quality, attributes are shareable. In a mobile-first generation that means instant selfies, likes, posts, shares and invites. I call this traffic-to-sales (TTS). But you could also achieve T4C, traffic-for-change, when you promote good eating habits to fight diabetes. Amazing!

So next time a diner orders for something cold, offer a feeling that is juicy, smoothie, classy, and by all means_ Pink attributes.


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