One of the earlier forays into lifestyle automobile and hotel cross-branding came with Volkswagen’s venture into the hospitality business. Each of the 21 rooms of the Hotel Fox in Copenhagen was designed by a different international artist in commemoration of Volkswagen’s release of the Fox automobile. Great idea that photographs well when it’s new, but here’s some food for thought – what happens when the inevitable carpet stains set in or housekeeping slips below par? Would a disgruntled guest’s experience (and subsequent word-of-mouse) lead to a negative impression of the Volkswagen brand?
Hotel loyalty programs that offer rental car discounts to its members are nothing new; but the concept of giving prestige car owners perks at lifestyle hotels provides an interesting reversal of marketing roles to this profitable relationship. Mercedes’ launch of its Destinations program not only provides room upgrades and gifts, but also allows members to drive different models while staying at select luxury resorts. It’s the perfect opportunity for a genteel up-sell, baiting guests with short-term use of the latest models while creating desire for its associated prestige.
Reversing the dynamics of the hotel and auto industry cross-branding relationship looks to be a smart move. What other marketing relationships could be reexamined from new angles to strengthen your brand’s identity?