The hotel business is in trouble: Three out of four hotels rooms are currently empty. That's a lot of lost revenue for a companies that rely on travel while everyone is social distancing amid the coronavirus crisis, and it poses trouble for companies that want to stay close to their customers who can't make use of their primary product. One attempted solution to the problem? For Hilton DoubleTree, it's DoubleTree cookies. 

In short, you probably won't be staying in a hotel for a while. But, that doesn't mean that you can't have part of the business experience. Hilton DoubleTree is sharing their popular recipe online, and it's a great example of how being generous and creative with your marketing can help your business stay afloat amid all that's going on. In my eyes, there are three big lessons to takeaway from this example:

It keeps you top of mind.

This past week, AirBnB launched Online Experiences. In short, you are given a guided virtual tour on a particular subject, like wine tasting with a master sommalier. In DoubleTree, the sensory cookie experience is now their biggest advantage, as the recipe allows you to take the DoubleTree experience home.

In both cases, these companies are trying to stay top of mind of customers until the travel restrictions are lifted. Giving extra or surprises to your paying customers is a wonderful way to stay top of mind. It is a simple, smart way to keep those you serve coming back for more.

It shows your generosity.

As I previously wrote, being transparent and giving can actually establish your brand more. It tells your customers that your priority isn't the business model, but instead it's serving them.

DoubleTree is not a cookie company, just as much as AirBnB isn't a Zoom competitor. In both cases, though, they are focused on the mission (creating a home-like atmosphere anywhere) versus the execution (getting the proverbial butts in seats). Plus, it sets the tone for the company culture both inward and outward. 

It brings a collective mindset.

As spring began, many Americans were stuck in the house working through their (hopefully still stocked) food. Most restaurants are closed and everyone is learning how to rely more on their kitchen. It is getting old.

In finding socially safe ways to support their customers, AirBnB, DoubleTree and others travel businesses are supporting self-quarantine-- even if it is against their main business.

If your intention is to serve, then you care about your customers' experience before, during and, ideally, even after you invoice them. And, as myself and other leaders have learned, you may find a new revenue source that stays on well after your business crisis subsides.