I was at an exclusive Hotel attending a conference on Social Media Marketing in Downtown Montreal this week and while leaving I noticed a display in the lobby that was clearly there to engage me.

Well after a long day of slideshows and coffee from paper cups I was not only ready, I had a few extra minutes to spare before my commuter train trip back home so I sashayed over for a closer look.

There before me were 5 or 6 various games one could attempt in an effort to win a all expense paid weekend (week?) vacation at any of the hotel’s properties worldwide.

I evaluated and chose the game where I felt had my best chance of winning, with one hand put the colored fish in to the like colored tins, with a 1 minute time limit.

It was fun at the outset, even though I was slowed down by 5 or more seconds having to ask which tin a light colored fish belonged in (it was the dark purple tin) and there were some oohs and awes from the crowd that eventually came to see what I was up to as I masterfully flipped the colored fish into the appropriately colored tins.

Well at the end of the minute I was 5 or 6 short of getting them all in, I had a smile on my face, I had relaxed a bit, I had fun. Which is probably what the hotel intended. Hotels are often filled with stressed out folks be it from traveling, doing business etc.

I’m sure they also hoped to get people thinking about choosing there other properties worldwide when they next had the opportunity.

So now here I was now ready to fill out a card to drop in the box to register for the prize draw.

Well it turns out there will be no prize draw for me, as I then learned you had to complete the task – in this case get all the fish in the tins – or you were “not eligible to register” but instead I could have “a coupon for a free drink at the lobby bar today only.” Really?!

Well of course by now I didn’t have time to have a free drink at the bar. So not only did I not complete the event, I did not get a chance to win a prize, and I did not get a free drink.

I walked out of there feeling that all the effort the hotel made to engage me, and the effort I made to participate with them, was wasted.

Moral of the story, like with Social Media Marketing, do make an effort to engage your customer, just be sure to think of the consequences, anticipate the possible outcomes good and bad, plan for them and be ready to deal with them to avoid disappointment and dissatisfaction, in spite of your best intentions.

May 27, 2011