- Marriott's W Hotels brand let loyalty members use their points to bid on a chance to stay in one of three "designer yurts" during Coachella, at the musical festival's VIP Safari campgrounds, Chief Marketer reported.
- Each yurt is designed to look like a W Hotels room from around the world, stocked with snacks and beverages and offering a personal concierge and shuttles to and from the concert venue. The yurts also feature Sound Suites, private music studios and a writers room. The starting bid for the yurts was 45,000 loyalty points, and the auctions closed with the yurts going for 662,500 for the festival's first weekend, 652,500 for the second weekend and 822,500 for the third weekend.
- In separate news, Marriott is also expanding its TED partnership to offer curated in-room TED Talks playlists to match guests' moods, a press release announced. The partnership also includes the TED Fellows Salon series at hotels. As part of the effort, Marriott launched the Instagram Story series "Marriott Hotels Talks TED," which features original content.
Marriott continues to leverage partnerships to reach different audience segments, whether it's music festival-goers eager to find proper lodging or business travelers wanting to tap into the latest TED insights. The hotel chain is attempting to stay ahead of travelers' evolving needs and desire for personalized experiences. The designer yurts and curated TED Talks playlists and Instagram Stories demonstrate how a one-size-fits-all marketing approach doesn't cut it in the highly competitive hospitality and travel industries.
Experiential marketing is a key tactic for hotel chains, especially when it comes to reaching younger consumers who tend to prefer experiences over products. Among millennial women, 72% said spending on experiences makes them happiest, and 54% say experiences will drive their biggest purchases in the next year, a recent study by Merkle and Levo found. Millennials also have a growing purchasing power, spending $200 billion a year collectively, and are willing to indulge themselves. Coachella is exactly the type of event to attract that type of young, high-spending and experience-focused audience.
Marriott has been working to better respond to guests' needs in other ways, by introducing new features for its hotel rooms and enhancing offerings on channels like mobile. The brand recently tested voice assistants in rooms and redesigned its app to make it easier to navigate and to add messaging that uses beacons to push real-time content to users.