An Integrated Marketing Partnership for the JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek
This is a summary of a one-month initiative fueled by a partnership opportunity sought out by the JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek. Once the only hotel in Denver’s luxury shopping neighborhood, within two years the Marriott hotel found itself surrounded by the city’s booming hotel growth and three new competitors. Two of which, were Marriott products as well, appealing to different types of audiences but stealing the points-driven guest regardless.
The JW began to look for ways to re-establish itself back into the market as an on-trend, thriving and relevant luxury hotel by programming partnerships with local neighborhood that aligned with their brand.
Located in a shopping district, the hotel had always hosted first floor retail, many fell victim to the new evolution of shopping and the majority of the retail had moved out of their spaces. But one tenant was still thriving, as they had in Colorado for many years, John Atencio Jewelers is a luxury-level uniquely designed diamond and jewelry house who was about to launch their annual Bridal and Diamond Event, offering zero percent financing for purchases.
The partnership wrote itself based on a story of John Atencio’s proposal to his wife, he set out on a journey to find the perfect ring for his future fiancé and when he couldn’t find it, he created one himself. The JW Marriott’s personal brand is based upon creating journeys for guests to find their true passion. This alignment created the core copy for the promotion.
Once that story was written, a promo brief was created which covered all elements of integrated marketing, these pieces are as follows:
Call to Action
The way you speak in marketing needs to focus on the consumer and their “why”. What is the goal you want them to achieve and why should they do it for you? In this case John Atencio wanted people to visit their store during the Bridal and Diamond Event, a zero-percent financing in the month of April deal for all in-house jewelry. The JW Marriott wanted exposure, to further align itself with the level of luxury in Cherry Creek North, and to potentially gain bookings in both rooms and two Proposal Packages which were launched in line with these promotions. The call to action was based around visiting both locations (for jewelry or a hotel stay) and experiencing true Colorado luxury, with the opportunity to win something too.
Website and Digital Marketing
To best control the story, the JW Marriott built a landing page attached to their vanity website which listed a giveaway for a luxury experience, both proposal packages with booking links and logos and links to local area partners who had committed to participate in the giveaway and packages as part of an amenity program.
This website allowed for a number of wins for the property, it allowed them to control their message and provide direct links to the potential opportunities for return on investment. It also provided exposure for partners, which encouraged them to provide services as a discount or complimentary in exchange for exposure. And it allowed for new links to boost the JW’s linking strategy on the vanity site. Learn more about the importance of linking strategy here from Moz.
The JW Marriott is barred from sending single property emails to their data base, all emails must be run through the Marriott brand. Fair. But John Atencio’s email database is 11,000 affluent Coloradans and some people from out of state. Per the partnership, the JW was mentioned on any giveaway promotional emails, which allowed them to get in front of a market that hadn’t seen them in a while.
When conversations first began about this partnership, the John Atencio team had a goal of bringing in “influencers” to their Bridal & Diamond Event to promote it locally. Hotels are always a great partner for an influencer program, during low occupancy nights they are able to contribute an overnight stay in exchange for exposure from the influencer.
Recommendations for the influencer experience included:
· A one-night stay at the hotel in a newly updated room
· An exclusive viewing of new John Atencio products
· A complimentary diamond-themed cocktail at the JW’s restaurant Social Fare (which incorporated a new local partner, Blanchard Family Wines)
· Swag bag filled with discounts and information about local Cherry Creek retailers
Guest experience is something that every hotel should be focusing on, not just on the customer service side, but the added programming that enhances perceived value. Small, affordable, experiential activations were recommended to allow the JW team to tell the story of the partnership to the guest and create interesting social content. Some of these recommendations included adding a vitrine to the lobby showcasing John Atencio jewelry, picking a few high-traffic days and dressing the front desk in jewels and partnering with a local vendor to create a custom cocktail with a portion of the proceeds going towards the JW Marriott’s giving program.
All of the elements named above are content drivers for social media, from the landing page acting as a catch-all for further information to the activations that could be great imagery, making sure all efforts were captured and featured on social media was a main goal. The team designated a unique hashtag and encouraged anyone interacting with the promotion to use it so that the content they produced could be easily identified and reused by the property. There are great User Generated Content (UGC) tools out there like Hyp3r which gathers and helps to gain permissions to use content produced anywhere inside a specific geofenced location.
The partnership between the JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek and John Atencio was a natural effort, the two brands matched up perfectly and both parties were equally excited to work together. Their audiences are similar in purchasing nature and the giveaway allowed the JW to get out and about in the neighborhood to start making connections. Just through setting up the swag bags for influencers, the hotel was able to get in front of many other partners and discuss further activations. The hotel was also able to launch a much-needed Proposal Package which tells the story of how amazing the luxury property is for weddings and social events.
A full marketing plan can fall short if no one has the time to execute it. While the ease of the partnership was a blessing, the teams on both sides had difficulty executing the full integrated marketing plan simply due to their daily workload. Planning a full marketing promotion needs to happen 3-6 months in advance to be able to align the elements needed during the execution phase, otherwise marketing teams are often left scrambling. A year-round marketing content calendar is being implemented for the JW for the rest of 2019.
Partnerships with brands that are aligned are the best way to gain new and credible exposure to an audience that you’re trying to reach. They can be a fun change-up to your day and create new experiences for your customer. But a partnership that isn’t marketed to its fullest extent utilizing all channels isn’t going to do either side justice. If you go to all the work to team up with a company that has similar goals, make sure you use an integrated marketing plan to make the most of what you’re doing.