After a recent city break to Paris, one of our colleagues told us about how much she’d enjoyed some excellent coffee during her trip. But it hadn’t been served in a restaurant or a cafe – she had made it herself at the apartment she was staying in using one of those capsule coffee machines.
When she returned home, she genuinely missed the quality of the drink she had been able to make so effortlessly. So she ended up buying the machine for her own home – same brand, same model, same colour as the one she had been using on holiday.
Her experience illustrates the effectiveness of a concept known as “tryvertising”. Over the course of her weekend away, she had become familiar with – and extremely fond of – a new product by having the freedom to try it out repeatedly in her temporary holiday apartment.
As a marketing strategy, tryvertising is quite familiar in hotels, where extra comfy pillows or a particular fragrance or shampoo may be available for guests to use during their stay – and then offered for sale to take home.
Overall, it’s an easy win for manufacturers and hotel owners – as well as the customers who get the chance to take a piece of their holiday home with them.
Feelings of ownership
But our research suggests that tryvertising is actually more effective in self-catering accommodation than it is in hotels. This is partly because renting an apartment or cottage for a break provides a more natural environment for customers than the more unusual setting of a hotel.
They are able to feel more at home and in control – what we refer to as a heightened sense of “territoriality” – and are more likely to fully immerse themselves in their surroundings and the products at their disposal. Overall, self-catered accommodation elicits stronger feelings of ownership towards the accommodation space, and potential ownership of the the amenities it contains.
This means tryvertising through self-catered holiday accommodation could provide an excellent opportunity for companies.
Those companies – which could be everything from electronic manufacturers to local artisan businesses – could select suitable hosts with whom to place their products, either for free or with a discount. A QR code could then be attached to the tryvertised goods, directing customers to extra information and purchasing details.
Those businesses could even issue discount codes to those guests. The accommodation platforms themselves wouldn’t need to be involved (they may wish to be at some level, but their input would not be necessary). It would mainly be a beneficial arrangement directly between manufacturers and hosts.
For consumers too, tryvertising makes perfect sense. Rather than looking at images on online, or observing an item in person at a store, they get a real-life user experience before they commit to a purchase.
Of course, it can work the other way too. One person told us that he had decided against buying a gadget after having the opportunity to use one on holiday.
The presence of the AI assistant in my last Airbnb getaway really made the entire stay overwhelming. I didn’t understand how to use it effectively. It kept misinterpreting our commands, and falsely activating due to background noise. This really made us [feel] stressful and uncomfortable. We had considered buying a similar AI assisted smart speaker at home before, but now we would definitely postpone the decision.
But again, that was beneficial. That particular client was given a chance to try something, and decided it wasn’t for him. He saved money.
Meanwhile, our colleague decided to spend her money on a machine she had enjoyed using, and which now provides her with delicious coffee on a daily basis.
But it’s not only about buying things for your home. Tryvertising can also enhance a traveller’s experience by allowing them to get an authentic taste of the culture through products sponsored by local businesses. And it could contribute to sustainable tourism by encouraging both hosts and visitors to engage with their community and the produce on offer.
Overall, our research suggests that everyone stands to benefit. Hosts, local businesses and travellers should all give it a try.
Jialin (Snow) Wu, Reader in Sustainable and Digitalised Service Economy, University of Huddersfield; Chen Zheng, Senior Lecturer at School of Event, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Leeds Beckett University, and Hongbo (Daisy) Liu, Senior Lecturer, University of Surrey
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