How the Irvine Marriott Launched its Grand Opening with Multisensory Events
When you put $35 million into the redesign of a business like Irvine Marriott did in California, you want to put on an event to showcase the updated and improved spot. Instead of a traditional ribbon-cutting or stuffy event, this Marriott created an impressive experience to interact with participants with its multisensory event series from February to April. This is a fantastic example of experiential marketing that other brands could follow.
For its reopening, the hotel created an event series that would evoke the senses and imagination of event goers to help them experience different aspects of the hotel and the brand. It focused on the Marriott brand’s guiding principles of taste, culture and innovation with three events in the series. While normal grand opening parties can bring people to the premises and create excitement, they tend to fail on conveying the experience of staying at the hotel. This aspect is where Irvine Marriott shined with its multisensory event series. When people see a hotel room or meeting space, for example, they can't always imagine what it's like to use that space. Irvine Marriott's series helped event goers experience the hotel.
The taste event provided a sensory dinner for high-level customers and bloggers, who had the chance to try food stations prepared by different Marriott properties. These stations incorporated different senses to create an experience. For instance, one station combined auditory and taste sensations by having participants eat seafood along with audio of the ocean. The culture event hosted a larger number of guests, providing networking and performing arts. Finally, the innovation event incorporated virtual reality, robot experiences and other interactive displays and workshops that focused on the past to the future.
All of the events highlighted areas of the hotel and showed guests how these areas could be used. Guests also got to experience Marriott catering, which they could incorporate into their own events.
Learning From Irvine Marriott
Multisensory marketing like Irvine Marriott’s guest series can create an effective and memorable event for many brands. Marriott used different senses, including sight, sound, touch, taste and smell through food aromas, textures, audio and other methods. Any brand could find ways to incorporate multiple senses into one experience. For instance, create a food serving station that focuses on the aroma or texture of the food in addition to the taste.
Irvine Marriott’s event series provides a great example for similar types of businesses in particular. That’s because it helped guests experience what it’s like to stay at the hotel and use its services. You could create a similar event if your business is based on on-site experiences. This could work for hotels, restaurants, recreational activities and other experiences.
The idea is to showcase the site and how it could be used. It’s similar to a real estate agent staging a home to give an idea of living in the home. The Irvine Marriott showcased its cuisine, while captivating multiple senses. It had artists perform around the pool to highlight the hotel’s pool while giving guests the feeling of traveling and experiencing a new place and culture.