Key card design is an overlooked and underutilized facet of hospitality marketing. A surprising number of hotels elect to use blank, bland, or generic key cards due to budget constraints or a lack of creativity. Ironically, these are often the same businesses that invest loads of time and energy designing business cards, tri-fold brochures, and small promotional items for the same hotels. They design these marketing materials with the sole objective of getting them into customer pockets, ignoring the fact that key cards end up in customer pockets automatically. In fact, whether they have a blank design or a bold one, most key cards end up going home with the customer.
Wouldn’t it be more cost-efficient and more effective to invest time and resources into well-designed key cards instead of frivolous tchotchkes? Thankfully, some hotels are using custom key cards to make strong impressions on their customers at a very good value. Below are a dozen examples of custom key card design.
Bellagio’s key card reflects the elegance of the rooms, the decor, and the architecture of their hotel.
Excalibur’s ornate metal key design harkens back to the legend on which “Excalibur” is based.
Treasure Island – Promoting Cirque Du Soleil’s “Mystere”
Treasure Island’s keycard sparks the curiosity of those who came for the famous Cirque Du Soleil performances.
Tropicana – Miami Gardens in Las Vegas
Tropicana’s Miami Gardens key card features an Art Deco design that emphasizes the “South Beach” feel that they emulate from halfway across the United States.
The MGM Grand Hotel and Casino — arguably the most well-known establishment in Las Vegas — forgoes any promotions or marketing copy, going instead with their classic, ubiquitous lion logo.
NH Hotels – London and Mexico
NH Hotel’s key card design focuses on national flags and symbols for their respective hotel locations. They want you to remember your travels, not your hotel room.
NH Hotels – United Kingdom and International
For NH Hotels in the United Kingdom, the emphasis is once again on familiar symbols of the specific country. For their generic keycards, the universal “rubber duckie” connotes comfort across all cultures.
Marriott – Singapore
Visitors of Marriott’s Singapore hotel will likely take the key card home, which illustrates a photograph that captures not only the appeal of Singapore, but also the unique location and architecture of the hotel itself.
Palms Casino and Resort – Las Vegas
Palms Casino and Resort chooses palm tree imagery to reinforce their brand, and sunset and moonlight effects to elicit impressions of Vegas nightlife.
Stardust celebrates their forty-fifth anniversary with a retro throwback to their early years. Sadly, the resort was demolished in 2007.
The Venetian’s classic key cards offer simple photographs of their impressive location and architecture.
Venetian – Chinese New Year Edition
To celebrate the Chinese New Year, The Venetian made substantial changes to their key cards.
All images are courtesy of Oomph, a passionate plastic card printer with a fantastic range of membership and hotel key cards. You can see more of their key card designs online, and you can follow them on Twitter at @madebyoomph.
Do you think that key cards are an underutilized opportunity to make an impression on customers? Are they truly more effective and cost-efficient than other promotional items? Do you have any key card designs (or design ideas) to share?