By Linda Plant, Global Marketing Director for the May Fair Hotel and Radisson Edwardian Hotel Group.
Guests are increasingly expecting and demanding more from their hotel stay. At all levels they require value for money but at the premium end of the market in particular, guests are also looking for an experience.
This experience can be sought through the style and design of the hotel, the personal service they receive, the association with the clientele who frequent the hotel, the location and local events, or being granted access to a “scene”.
This is why marketing partnerships are so valuable; they provide added value and unique experiences guests wouldn’t normally be a part of.
For instance at Radisson Edwardian we constantly strive to give our guests added value from theatre ticket packages, to private gallery access and even to giving away complimentary books as part of our Book Club at the Bloomsbury Street Hotel.
Partnerships are incredibly useful when establishing a brand personality and creating stand out in the marketplace. A good partnership should have a halo effect on your brand and vice versa.
A successful partnership should reflect and amplify what you want to say about your brand, what is said about your potential partner and also what your target market wish to be a part of.
At the May Fair we base decisions on whether or not a partnership would be a suitable fit on a series of key brand pillars: Film, Fashion, Music and Art.
These pillars are part of the hotel’s heritage taking inspiration from periods such as the Roaring 20’s when it was a hub for the film industry and also reflects the interests of our target market.
As part of our strategy we’ve established a number of key partnerships within these industries positioning the May Fair as the official hotel partner for the British Fashion Council and London Fashion Week, the 54th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express, The Raindance Festival and MOBOs amongst others.
The Radisson Edwardian Bloomsbury Street Hotel is also a fantastic example of these types of collaboration in action. Testament to the literary heritage of the area, the Bloomsbury Street property has developed associations with publishers and authors to run regular book club events and provide guests with a Book of the Month.
However a partnership needs to be more than just the inclusion of a hotel’s name on the marketing collateral; affiliations need to be included in actions and future plans.
We make considerable efforts to ensure integration of activities filters down from the vision of the management, to staff and, ultimately, the guest’s experience. We want guests to feel a part of the event.
For example, during London Fashion Week we had numerous top designers staying at the May Fair and screened live catwalk shows to the hotel bar. The Bloomsbury Street Hotel has also put on a number of exclusive author events, encouraging guest involvement and promoting an individual experience.
It’s not enough to just be connected with these institutions in order for the relationship to have meaning, we look to deepen our engagement and offer support to help nurture up-and-coming talent.
For example at the May Fair Hotel we recently hosted the Profile Fashion Show as part of Graduate Fashion Week, a fantastic celebration of the budding designers of tomorrow. We’ve also held movie screenings through our partnership with Raindance and have our own film-maker in residence, which presents an opportunity for rising talent to showcase their material.
To summarise, more is expected of hotels than ever before. The luxury market needs to deliver an individual experience that cannot be matched elsewhere; a delicately balanced combination of high quality service, top hotel facilities and cohesive partnerships with relevant institutions can be used achieve thi
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