The newest emerging trend in experiential marketing is a seemingly audacious one – opening branded hotels to let consumers sample products and services during their stay. Luxury gym chain Equinox is set to open a fitness-focused hotel in New York City in 2018, with plans to open more if the first hotel proves successful.
Home furnishing retailer West Elm is also opening a hotel of its own to immerse guests in a room filled with their products. The company is partnering with hospitality management and development company DDK to open West Elm Hotels in a number of U.S. cities in late 2018.
What Brands Need To Do
Obviously, not every brand is equipped or suited to open their own hotels. Equinox’s venture into the hospitality business may look surprising, but considering it is a subsidiary of The Related Companies, one of the largest real estate companies in the U.S., the decision is not that out-of-left-field. And given West Elm’s positioning of its home furnishing products, it also makes sense for the Williams-Sonoma Inc.-owned brand to experiment with a branded hotel to provide customers with an immersive product sampling experience. Nonetheless, these two examples certainly push the envelope on what marketers typically consider as experiential marketing, inspiring brands to look beyond the standard branded experiences they offer and explore new ways to reach prospective customers.
Update: Luxury fashion brand Shinola is also set to open a branded hotel in downtown Detroit in 2018.