How The “World’s Worst Hotel” Showed The Power Of Honest Marketing

How The “World’s Worst Hotel” Showed The Power Of Honest Marketing

A run-down dirty backpacker hostel in Amsterdam has given a masterclass in how a little honesty can sometimes be the most effective form of marketing in a world grown weary of being lied to. 

The Hans Brinker Budget Hotel Amsterdam prides itself on being the world’s worst hotel. By celebrating its bad points over more than a decade and a half, advertising agency KesselsKramer helped reach a target group of backpackers distrustful of advertising.


By daring to be the worst, the Brinker reached maximum occupancy on a weekly basis. Those who summoned the courage to step through its creaking doors were surprised to find the hotel not (quite) as bad as advertised. A reaction that helped reduce the Brinker’s complaints. 

hans brinker 1

The phenomena the hostel has tapped into was raised at this year’s SXSW Conference in Austin Texas as being the ‘Non-Obvious Trend’ of Loveable Unperfection. By focusing on imperfections and personality, products and services can be seen as more desireable. 

hands brinker 2

 So successful has Hans Brinker been, it’s opened a second hostel in Lisbon, equally bad service, but slightly less awful weather, and even has a book full of its advertising triumphs. Check out some of it here.

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SXSW The Hans Brinker Budget Hotel

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