Skift Take

Other hotel brands should copy Sheraton's ideas as a way to attract meetings and conventions and build deeper marketing partnerships with local businesses.

An easy way to please hotel guests and meeting attendees is to give them free stuff.

But rather than make it notepads or pens that are quickly forgotten, the Sheraton Seattle is giving guests something that makes them happy and energized.

Sheraton Hotels & Resorts turned room keys into Starbucks cards for the first time this week for its Global General Managers Summit at the Sheraton Seattle.

In addition to opening room doors, each card was loaded with $10 to use at five Starbucks locations nearby the hotel.

Sheraton is the first Starwood brand to roll out the new card, which suggests meeting attendees at W Hotels and Le Meridien could be next to receive the key card surprise.

Although Sheraton partnered with Starbucks, likely because CEO Howard Shultz spoke at the event, the concept gives hotels the opportunity to develop relationships and send customers to local businesses.

Avoiding chains in favor of homegrown shops is something that travelers are already interested in.

The move is also good news for the room key, which some hotels want to get rid of in favor of smartphone apps that allow guests to bypass the front desk.

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Tags: meetings and events, sheraton, starwood

Photo credit: The back of a room key for a room at a Sheraton Hotel. Michael Coté / Flickr

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