PR Best Practice: ‘W Hotels’ Experience at Coachella’

HSMAI’s 2019 Adrian Awards competition is open and accepting entries through Aug. 22 — honoring creativity and innovation in hospitality advertising, digital marketing, and public relations. Take some inspiration from one of last year’s Platinum winners: Marriott International, whose “Marriott International Presents: W Hotels’ Experience at Coachella” was honored in the Public Relations/PR Campaign/Experiential category. (View all of last year’s Adrian-winning submissions here.)

BACKGROUND: In 2017, Marriott International introduced an immersive experience for loyalty members at the Coachella music festival, transforming eight safari tents on festival grounds into hotel rooms representing each of Marriott’s lifestyle brands. In 2018, Marriott sought to take it a step further, spotlighting one of the company’s luxury brands, W Hotels, with four exclusive luxury yurt experiences.

MARKETING GOALS: There were two major goals of the Coachella activation. The first was to drive awareness and affiliation of the W Hotels brand within the broader Marriott portfolio by spotlighting the brand’s music strategy and highlighting the W properties that have private music studios and writers’ rooms and that will host Wake Up Call festivals in 2018 and 2019. The second goal was to drive engagement and advocacy with Marriott’s loyalty program. The target audience was Millennial-minded global jetsetters who seek memorable experiences and as many choices as possible.

THE EVENT: To gain access to the W Hotels yurts at Coachella, guests had to be a member of one of Marriott’s loyalty programs — Marriott Rewards, SPG, and/or The Ritz-Carlton Rewards. Members could bid on one of four yurts and/or ticket packages using their loyalty points on the Marriott Rewards or SPG Moments platform. Perks included a 24/7 concierge and amenities tent, maid service, private parking, dedicated golf cart and driver, VIP stage access, and moments like a surprise private brunch with the band Marian Hill.

RESULTS: More than 600 million PR impressions were delivered across 35 outlets. Engagement was driven with the loyalty program, generating 5.7 million redeemed loyalty points for the yurt experiences, with the highest bid going to the Bali Yurt for 1 million points. Success was also measured by the guest satisfaction of members on site. The members staying in the yurts over both weekends became fast friends, hanging out in the W Village common area and seeing the headliners together. As one member said, “After having this kind of access, there is no other way to attend Coachella. We were treated as if we were staying at a W Hotel on festival grounds. Once-in-a-lifetime experience for sure.”


Categories: Marketing, Public Relations
Insight Type: Best Practices