It is not always easy to stand out amongst other hotels. So many hotel, so many different brands and despite that they are all sooo alike. That is why I love it when brands do an effort to stand out – like Kimpton. I have stayed in two Kimpton hotels by now, the Kimpton Fitzroy in London and the Kimpton De Witt in Amsterdam. Kimpton is one of the IHG luxury brands, butand has some quite interesting elements:

Raid the bar: free bar credit done right

Kimpton 'Raid the bar' bar credit cards
Kimpton ‘Raid the bar’ bar credit cards

If you’re a Kimpton Karma (now part of the IHG Rewards Club loyalty program) member, you will get a €15 euro (or 15 pounds) bar credit you can use for your mini bar and/or the different bars in the hotel. 

It might not seem special at first, but I just love the ‘Raid the bar’ name and the execution in the fancy cards. 

Kimpton social hour: brand storytelling with Champagne

Kimpton Social Hour
Kimpton Social Hour

The story is that Kimpton’s founder Bill Kimpton would have a daily fireside chat with his sales team to discuss all things Kimpton. As a way to honour this tradition (or it’s just a post-rationalisation of the perk – which either way doesn’t really matter), Kimpton his still hosting a daily Social Hour between 17h00 and 18h00.

In Kimpton Fitzroy’s case, it is a daily gathering on the 1st floor of the hotel with a glass of Champagne and someone from the team sharing the ideas and thoughts of the Kimpton brand. 

CEO’s phone number for elite members

Kimpton red phone
Kimpton red phone

When you are eligible to join the Kimpton Karma Inner Circle (by invitation only to the most loyal of Kimpton guests), you’ll get access to a dedicated phone number of Kimpton’s CEO and the executive team. Or, as Kimpton officially states:

Direct access to Kimpton Hotels’ CEO via the Inner Circle VIP Line and exclusive email address. This number is available in the Inner Circle welcome kit, which is mailed when status is granted, and in the monthly Inner Circle email statement. Access to our CEO and his executive team is provided to give feedback about your Kimpton experiences. The VIP Phone line may be used for experiences with all other IHG® brands and other travel requests.

Kimpton Hotels

Which illustrates quite aptly why what Kimpton is doing is so difficult. There seems to be a thin line between “you get the company CEO’s phone number and you can call him – and he might be picking up” and the statement above that completely takes any emotion out of the otherwise really nice perk. 

Secret password to be ‘in the know’

From time to time, Kimpton will secretly announce a new ‘secret password’ or ‘secret codeword’ that – when mentioned during check-in- will give you an additional small gift. Depending on the hotel (each Kimpton hotel has the freedom to ), you can get anything from a small gift to extra bar credit (which I did get when I used the ‘Chilled to perfection’ codeword at the Kimpton Fitzroy in London – 15 pounds free drinks). A smart way to have people feel ‘in the know’.

In conclusion

What I appreciate most is that each single one of these acts of hospitality are very easy to scale over a large amount of properties – not much special training is needed. On the other hand, most of them have massive impact in making people feel ‘in the know’ and feel personally touched by these brands. I am very much looking forward to other brands crafting similar personalised travel experiences in the coming years.

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