You may have heard of Tommy Hilfiger, Dogfish Head, and Volvo, but you probably have not heard of what they have been up to recently. These brands are branching out into the hotel industry, anticipating your check-in. With the retail industry in a rocky place, brands are engaging beyond their product and creating even stronger and more creative relationships with their customers and brand community.
Look at Tommy Hilfiger. A few years ago, he purchased the Raleigh Hotel in Miami’s South Beach. He’s converting the hotel into a membership-based luxury boutique hotel. Hilfiger intends to expand across the country in other cities.
Brands aside from fashionistas are taking on the hotel industry, too. Dogfish Head created the Dogfish Inn, a hotel dedicated specifically to its beverages. The 16 room Dogfish Inn is in Lewes, Delaware. Never heard of it? Us either. The place has perks, though. Think: an all-inclusive package, including transportation to the Dogfish Head brewery with a private tour, tastings, and rides to their restaurant. There’s one catch; you can’t purchase the beer in the actual inn.
London’s Portobello Gin
If you have already acquired a taste for gin, The Distillery in London may be ideal for you. If you’ve had one too many sick nights on the drink, maybe not. Created by London’s Portobello Road Gin, the 3-room hotel engages guests in a gin making experience, along with two bars. Oh, yea, and there’s a gin museum.
Volvo made a short and sweet jump into the hospitality industry a few months ago. To promote its new V90 Cross Country Wagon, the auto company partnered with the luxury hotel group Tablet and launched a pop-up hotel in Sweden. The Volvo Get Away Lodge was only available in March, but served as a momentary experimental stay for outdoor lovers. For its short-lived hotel, Volvo gave travelers access to the V90 Cross Country Wagon, which was perfect for exploring the terrain in Sweden.
When a company makes bedding and mattress pads, why not venture into hotels? This is what an indie bedding company thought as they transitioned over to a branded hotel. Out of Venice, California, Parachute its 1 room penthouse in 2016. When staying at the penthouse, guests sleep on the brand’s bedding and mattress pads and use its towels and robes. Want to buy Parachute products after your stay? Guests can purchase any merch at a special discount. With the success of their penthouse, Parachute has larger boutique properties in the works, targeting other market segments.
Before these brands even had thoughts of disrupting the industry, Camper was paving the road for this trend. In 2005, the Spanish based footwear brand opened its first hotel in Barcelona. Soon after it opened the Barcelona hotel, the shoe brand launched another in Berlin.
With other well-known brands, such as Zappos, talking hotel openings, true indies need to stand our ground. The transition from a retail brand to a hotel is a huge move to make, but for these companies, it seems to be a beneficial choice. Does it work?
Join us in our discussion at ILC as we explore the retail brands who are both dipping into and straight up disrupting the hotel space. Yep, we’ve got West Elm accounted for… don’t you worry.
– Llenrock’s Communications intern Elizabeth Lockwood