A “lowballing” London hotel which overdelivers.

by Rajul on April 2, 2010

Even some of the best rooms at Dean Street Townhouse in Soho are modestly described merely as "bigger" as part of its strategy of managing expectations

Most hotel websites will naturally do everything in their power to “sell” you the idea that your stay will be perfect.

In London’s competitive market, many mid-range hotels even describe themselves as “luxury” to try to justify their high room rates.

The flip side is that this can raise your expectations and leave you disappointed if even a minor aspect of your stay falls short.

So how refreshing to find a relatively new hotel taking just the opposite tack.  It may have hit on a masterful strategy which others could learn from.

I’m talking about Dean Street Townhouse in the heart of Soho – a hotel we recently featured as an ideal base to celebrate Carnaby Street’s 50th Anniversary as well as to sample the delights of Soho.

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Bathrooms at Dean Street Townhouse are well-stocked as the owners are showcasing their own "Cowshed" product range

When this hotel first opened it was described as a “crash pad” hotel in the middle of Soho – which already set expectations pretty low.

Even at that stage – when most hotel owners go for maximum hype – Dean Street Townhouse’s owners described their smallest rooms as “tiny”.  This is not a word that many hotel companies would dare to use!

But tiny rooms are all too common and I wish more hotels were this candid.

A few weeks after opening, the clever marketers behind Dean Street Townhouse went further still and began describing their very smallest rooms as “broom cupboards”.  This not only shows a nice touch of levity – but also, importantly, even more honesty (and therefore credibility).

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Dean Street Townhouse also has a thriving dining room specialising in fine British cuisine

Furthermore, the owners of the hotel didn’t even classify their hotel as a hotel on TripAdvisor – electing instead to go for the less choppy and competitive waters of “bed and breakfast”.

That’s despite the fact that it’s much better than a typical bed and breakfast (though regular readers will know that London’s best B&Bs will give any of the city’s top hotels a run for their money).

The results of this “lowballing” strategy?  By managing expectations, they have intelligently given staff time to get into their stride without too much pressure.  This has led to excellent guest and professional reviews.

It’s a brilliant contrarian strategy and one that other hotel operators would be wise to take note of.

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Photo credits: Dean Street Townhouse.

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