Friday, August 24, 2012

Is It a Good Business Strategy to Offer Phone-Free Discount?

A restaurant is offering 5% discount to customers who leave their cellphones at the door during the meal. The restaurant owner wants his customers to enjoy the dining experience and food without getting distracted by their cellphones, according to this Fox News video. Is this phone-free strategy well received and working?

It works very well for this restaurant. Over 50% patrons have chosen discount over cellphones. Moreover, it gave the restaurant about three minute free media exposure on Fox News, with additional conversations on social media.

Honestly, this is not the first time I heard of such incident. There are resort hotels encouraging guests to lock up their cellphones during their stay because they want their guests to truly enjoy the beauty of nature.

Will this “phone-free” advocate become a trend? More importantly, is it a good idea for business to promote a “phone-free” policy?

In my opinions, unless you are the first one who initiates a “phone-free” policy and gets some free media exposure, it is probably not a good idea to discourage cellphone usage. Furthermore, I argue that business should do the opposite by encouraging customers to use mobile devices, including cellphones. My reason is simple. We are now living in the “SoLoMo” world, where everything goes “Social, Local, and Mobile.” Business must embrace the “SoLoMo” movement. If mobile devices are prohibited, how can customers capture their wonderful experience and then immediately share it on the internet? It seems to me that many customers only use mobile devices for pictures and videos these days. Many customers also want to share updates as soon as they capture a memorable moment. We cannot expect this group of customers to write long reviews and edit/upload their pictures/videos after the experience is over, can we?

What are your thoughts? Should companies promote “SoLoMo” or “phone-free” policy?

Relevant discussions:

References:
The picture was downloaded from NewMediaTravel.com