A Toast to Your Stay: W Gives Guests a ‘Bubbly’ Ride

SAN FRANCISCO—Getting on an elevator is mundane. There’s the button to push to call it, and then there’s the wait for the cab to arrive. Eventually, the doors open and you enter. And while everyone’s elevator experience is typically the same, it doesn’t have to be.

“It’s crazy to see the reactions of people when they come into the elevators,” said Sara Hamza, W Insider at W San Francisco, about the property’s recently introduced “Champagne Campaign” for elevator-riding guests. “People are definitely surprised, so I think we hit the nail on the head with that element of Champagne Campaign.”

Launched in June, the campaign aims to welcome guests in a nontraditional way. “A lot of hotels will have wine or something at the check-in desk, or maybe a snack, but, of course, at the W, we want to do something more out-of-the-box and unexpected,” she said. The twice-weekly ritual is designed to boost guests’ spirits as they travel to and from their designated floors.

When guests enter the lift, they’ll see Hamza in the far corner with a wheeled bar cart with bottles of bubbly, glassware and a sign displaying a witty message. “When the guests come in, usually they think I’m headed to a room or an event or something,” Hamza said. She then offers them a drink, which surprises them, and the majority of guests accept.

W San Francisco’s campaign also connects guests with one another. “If a guest gets in, I pour them a glass, and then if another guest gets in on a different floor, they’ll ‘cheers’ each other,” she said. “Then they end up talking and connecting. They probably would’ve just been sitting there in silence if there wasn’t that experience to bond the two.” This “bubbly” experience unifies the property by linking guests with a common element.

Champagne Campaign also provides the property’s W Insider with an opportunity to pitch services to guests and understand their needs. “It’s a good way to meet our guests, and then let them understand what the W Insider is and what our brand is all about,” said Hamza, who’s been a W Insider—the designated in-the-know employee at a W property—for a little more than two years now.

The W Insider’s job isn’t to necessarily point the guest in the right direction; rather, it’s to leverage connections to provide the guest with an amplified experience. “I would say the biggest thing is going out, trying these new places, but then also leaving your card behind, and then following up on those connections,” she said. W Insiders also pay attention to social media, using it as a tool to find new restaurants, popular art murals and more.

Hamza works in collaboration with other colleagues at the W San Francisco, including those in marketing and those on the concierge team. The combination of property relationships and city partnerships provides the W Insider with the necessary tools to create unforgettable experiences.

“We’re always looking for happenings,” Hamza said about future campaigns. “A lot of my job is out in the city, but, of course, we want to bring some of these experiences into the hotel as well.”

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