What’s on my radar these days? Marketing! I took a few required courses on this topic in pursuit of my BA in Business Administration at the University of Washington- –


Wait! I thought we were a drama major?


For the first two years of college only, Lily. Then a chain of tragic- -uh, that is, ill-advised- -events occurred that re-routed my academic career from the liberal arts institution known as Whitman College to the state institution Dad called The Diploma Factory.


You would think marketing would appeal to me as it could charitably be called an imaginative profession. That is, if you enjoy manipulating people. If it were only about matching goods and services with the people who want and need them it would be a whole different topic. But I digress.


What a surprise.


I recently queried overnight accommodations in a town where I’d landed after of a long day of driving. The motif of one establishment was bowling (cute and kitschy), but a video at their website promoted it as the perfect romantic getaway- -beautiful young couple, Jacuzzi suite, shrimp sauteed over a gas flame, poolside champagne. At a bookings website the hotel was noted as a place where people who travel by themselves feel comfortable.


That’s a lot of different things to be.


I thought so, too, 9, and the dissonance intrigued me. Bowling and romance? Romance and traveling by oneself?

Marketing: The bowling motif extended to the room numbers.

Curiosity piqued, I decided to stay.


Did you go bowling?


No, though the opportunity was there. An actual bowling alley/arcade/restaurant/brew pub was across a hot stretch of asphalt from the hotel. Also on the property was a brewery that made the craft beers served in the pub. Oh, and miniature golf, just opened that day.


In the brewery?


No, on a built-up spot in between everything else, under 90+ degrees of white-hot sun. Several people were out there having a scorching good time.


I opted instead for the brew pub/restaurant, not because I’m a fan of beer (craft or otherwise), but because a complimentary pint came with the room and I thought I’d go for the experience. I wound through a rabbit warren of different activity spaces enclosed in one huge building.  An arcade at the entrance flowed into the alleys, then a hard left to the pub and restaurant. Plenty of noise and color, and lots of kids accompanied by adults in various states of travel exhaustion.

Marketing: They got the bowling alley part right, anyway. . .

At this point I’m thinking Why do they market this as a romantic destination when it’s the perfect place for grandparents traveling with young grandchildren? Plenty of activity for the kids (including a small pool at the hotel, heavy on pool noodles but lacking champagne), a place to eat, and a pint or two for grandma and grandpa. My sister and I would have loved this place when we were kids, would have begged to stay there whenever we passed that way.


It certainly doesn’t sound sophisticated.


Probably not your kind of place, Lily. But it was lively and fairly affordable, especially if you were sleeping three or four to a room. Breakfast included!

Marketing: If only I had known I would have packed Grandma Gretchen’s bowling shirt!

I’m still baffled by the marketing video, but what I did figure out is this: the hotel must have been a Super 8 in its first life, one that fortuitously shared the block and a huge parking lot with a bowling alley. The décor, which was very fun theme-wise, made me think of the HGTV program about motel makeovers.


Marketing. Big hint: sell what you have, not what you want people to think you have. You might not see a steep rise in short-term sales (with an equal rise in misled and angry customers) but if you work at it for a couple of years and earn a reputation for what you do and do well?


Now you’re in business!


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