Past history indicates that by incorporating key cards into your advertising campaign, you will see a sales growth.
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Having Key Guarantee as a
vendor partner has undoubtedly helped us grow incremental sales as well as provided
considerable cost and time savings - two of the key ingredients
to success in the
ever-challenging restaurant industry.

-Amy Goddard

Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano

Bloomington, IL







































Products and Services


Key Guarantee, places keys in hotels and motels from California to Connecticut.

"We’re in just about every chain," says Brad Francis, president.


We offer four-color advertisements on motel/hotel room keys and on the envelopes that are given out to the guests.


How it works:
~ The advertiser provides art, which is usually a logo and/or a special promotion.
~ Key Guarantee's art department adjusts the ad to fit the key card. Ads are typically four-color, simple, clean and in eye-catching colors. The simpler the wording, the better..
~ Key cards are given to hotels/motels at no charge.
~ You can buy the entire key card and envelope or you can place your logo on the keys with up to four other advertisers. Compatible businesses can go together to buy a market (examples: Dominos’ Pizza with Coke, Walgreens with Fuji film).
~ Exclusivity: These are the only room keys used at participating hotels so you are guaranteed that guests will see your message.
~ Participating hotels include "choice" establishments like Clarion Inns and Suites and Marriott Hotels, as well as chains like Days Inns, Ramada Inns, Howard Johnson, Travelodge, Best Western, Holiday Inns and independents.
~ Individual motels and hotels have the right to turn down an ad. This could happen if an advertiser already has a contract with a hotel/motel on the local level. An example would be a pizza company that already has placed "tent" cards advertising their product in each room.
~ Media plans can be customized by hotel brand, geographic location or both. Ads on the room keys and envelopes can be customized on a per market basis so that restaurant chains, for instance, can list local sites and their telephone numbers. Typically advertisers come in and buy a market vs. buying a hotel/motel chain. "A Motel 6 in Sweetwater, Texas, isn’t the same as one in Orlando," says Brad.
~ Some local restaurants and retailers advertise on key cards, but generally it’s not cost-effective to buy just a few keys. Covering an entire local market works well but not a corner store at one or two locations.
~ Many advertisers use key ads to run specials or coupons, which offer the added bonus of a tracking mechanism.


What products and categories do well on key ads?

~ Whether travelers are staying in a motel/hotel on vacation or business, they have to eat.
~ Restaurants are one of the categories that have done well on key ads. "We’ve got over a 100,000 keys in circulation right now for Domino's Pizza. Advertisers are really a diverse group," Brad says. Events like marine shows and car races have done well with tourists and conventioneers.
~ Of the 67,000 hotels/motels in the U.S. only 5 to 10 percent have their own restaurants. Pizza and other restaurant ads do well in the other 90 to 95 percent.
~ Typically attrition rate for hotel/motel keys is 20 check-ins. The keys typically last only 10 check-ins. Though no formal study has been conducted, some advertisers attribute it to customers keeping the keys to use for promotions.
~ Some advertisers have done tracking. For instance, Walgreens offer a free roll of Fuji film to key-holders. They electronically scanned each card to gauge the effectiveness of the medium.
~ Key Guarantee has had feedback from advertisers that report to them anecdotally on their ads’ effectiveness. "We have seen pizza stores triple, or in some cases increase five or six-fold, their sales to participating hotels," said Brad.


Making the buy:
~ Contracts generally run 12 months, but advertisers can change their promotions within the contract span. They may want to have a summer-type promotion and change to winter. We can do that, but the pricing gets down to how many keys are printed for each promotion.
~ Lead time is four to six weeks. It really depends on how quickly they have their artwork ready.
~ A "shell" key can be printed for a national advertiser with a box where local telephone numbers can be later printed.
~ Advertisers get first right of refusal after their contract expires, so if they want to remain in a market, it’s guaranteed.
~ Sales are handled through Key Guarantee's office or by salespeople calling on advertisers and hotels, primarily on the East Coast.


What is Unique:

The envelopes or folder in which the keys are handed to the guest can be imprinted with an additional four-color ad. One advertiser can buy the key card and envelope or a compatible business (think pizza and soda) can buy the envelope during the campaign.