May 24, 2016
An overnight stay in a hotel is an experience in its own right. Whether a consumer is traveling for business, taking a vacation, getting a night away from the kids, or celebrating a special occasion like a wedding or anniversary, most people already associate hotels with things that are positive.
If you want to create a positive association between your hotel and consumers, experiential marketing is a great option for you. Your target audience already places a premium on experiences. If you offer them a fun, meaningful or materially rewarding experience, they’re sure to remember it for a long time. They’re also likely to tell their travel-loving friends about it.
Hotels interested in engaging in experiential marketing have several advantages over other types of businesses. We’ll explore how your company can take advantage of its existing assets to create incredible experiential marketing activations. We’ll also share some creative ideas for creating one-of-a-kind events.
We’re seeing a lot of brands partner with other companies to increase the reach and effectiveness of their experiential marketing activations. If you plan an event with a brand with a complementary mission and audience, you both do a better job of reaching your target consumers. It can also save both of you money.
Factory 360 planned a series of events for luxury spirit brand Moët & Chandon and hotels it identified as key accounts. Moët & Chandon wanted to promote their new Moët Mini, a product that places the company’s excellent champagne in smaller bottles. The partnering hotels were happy to loan out their facilities because they knew the events would attract young, high-wealth individuals.
Moët’s strategic positioning of “approachable indulgences” was brought to life with a series of events called “La Mini Fete Moët.” Factory 360 recreated a traditional carnival experience at six upscale hotels, including the Bagatelle New York, the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills and the Virgin Hotel in Chicago.
Consumers played fun “midway” games in an upscale yet relaxing environment. There was also a “Mini Me Photo” activation that allowed consumers to snap a photo of themselves, “shrink” it to miniature size, and add a Moët Mini bottle. The resulting photo or GIF could be shared on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.
The tour was extremely successful. Over 35% of attendees shared a “Mini Me Photo,” and Factory 360 estimates Moët and its partnering hotels earned over 1.5 million impressions. The hotels that participated in the activations will share a fond place in consumers’ memories of the event, making it much more likely that consumers will think of them when they need a place to stay in the future.
Incorporate your rewards program
Most hotel chains have rewards programs, and people love them. According to statistics compiled by Access, more than 45% of consumers say the opportunity to earn rewards is a primary driver for purchasing from a brand.
See if there are ways to tie your experiential marketing campaign in with your rewards program. Can you do a scavenger hunt where the more items people find, the more reward points they get? Can you put together an obstacle course, and everyone who completes the course in a set time gets points? Can you do a daily drawing for points, and tell people to enter the contest by sharing a picture of themselves at your activation with a hashtag?
Do experiential marketing in conjunction with other big events
Sometimes people stay at hotels so they can share time with a special someone, or attend a small event like a class reunion or association meeting. But if your hotel is hosting people who are in town for a big event, you can build a very effective experiential marketing activation around that.
When people travel for an event like the Super Bowl, SXSW, New York Fashion Week, CMA Music Festival, or South Beach Food and Wine Festival, they come ripe for new experiences. Capitalize on that by making their time at your hotel an experience they won’t forget. Award tickets for stadium tours to guests at random. Give them custom swag. Create a photo booth where consumers can try on exclusive clothing and accessories and snap photos of themselves. Help your guests get front-row seats at big concerts. Leave a welcome basket full of local food and beverages in guests’ rooms when they arrive. You get the idea.
Create a campaign that relates to consumers’ reason for staying with you
Do you know what type of traveler is most attracted to your brand? (Business travelers, vacationers, families, affluent men and women, etc.) Plan an activation that’s targeted to their needs and interests.
For example, if you serve primarily people who travel for pleasure, think about an event related to travel. Marriott Hotels recently gave people the opportunity to take a virtual trip from the Washington, DC area to Hawaii and London. Using futuristic 4D booths, consumers could take a “tour” of well-known British tourist attractions or feel the sun’s warm rays while they sat on a “beach.”
Create a campaign that has nothing to do with why people stay with you
Perhaps the goal of your experiential marketing campaign is to attract consumers from a different target market than your primary customer base. Or maybe you just want to do something different from what everyone else is doing. It can be very beneficial to do an experiential marketing activation that seems a bit out of left field for your brand.
Experiential marketing is so common these days that it often takes a very creative activation to attract consumers’ attention. So give your experiential marketing some leeway in creating the best event for you. As long as it’s closely tied to your goals and objectives for the campaign, it might just surprise you with how effective it can be.
For example, this article on BizBash describes how a growing number of hotels are hosting concerts in their ballrooms. Some are open to the public, but some are exclusively for guests and reward program members. No matter why people are staying with you, they may enjoy the chance to listen to some live music at the end of the day.
Does your hotel need help putting together a successful experiential marketing campaign? Factory 360 is here to help! We have over 10 years of experience creating high-quality, high-result activations for a variety of brands. We can help you build your business and attract new consumers through fun and meaningful events. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.