How the Irvine Marriott Lauched its Grand Opening with Multisensory Events

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.

Multisensory Events

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. 

Brighten Up Your Summer Events With These Theme Ideas and Tips

Brighten Up Your Summer Events With These Theme Ideas and Tips

Renting a venue is just the first step to making your summer corporate event a success. You need to bring in the bright, exciting feel of summer so that your guests are glad to have chosen your presentation over other possible activities. Here are some ideas that should give you inspiration for planning your expo:

First, a Caveat: Make Sure the Theme Resonates with Your Brand

If your theme is summery, but doesn't tie into your brand's image, you'll miss a powerful marketing opportunity. Be sure to keep your event on-point as well as fun. This way, your guests will firmly connect your brand with the experience rather than thinking of it as a generic sponsor.

Roses and Wine

The aforementioned roses and wine theme was done to great success by Kim Crawford Wines, which wanted announce its new rose wine in grand style. It filled its area with roses and even had a bar made of live rose bushes. The roses were very summery, and they tied in perfectly with the launch of the new rose wine. On top of that, there were enough roses that just looking at the event area made an indelible impression – and connection with the advertised product.

A Rocking Summer Night

This type of theme is great for many companies that cater to younger audiences, but it's perfect for companies associated with making rock music. What better way to show off instruments, amps, stage lighting rigs, and other musical equipment than to have people come and experience the sounds and sights of professionals using the products? Hold the party outdoors under strung-up lights for that summer feel.

Have a Barbecue Party

Everyone loves to eat, and barbecuing is a quintessentially summer activity. This makes a barbecue a perfect event for any company that wants to be seen as fun and exciting while avoiding faddish trendiness. For maximum impact, make the event large enough for a huge number of guests and cook the food over one or more showy firepits.

Always Make Sure Everyone is Comfortable

The level of comfort expected will depend on your audience and the type of event you're holding, but it's always important to avoid the chance of outright misery. For outdoor events, one great way to do this is to offer branded umbrellas. If the event is on the upper-class end, provide them as part of the package. Otherwise, set up kiosks and sell them at reasonable prices. Be sure to keep the cost within the "impulse buy" range – the more people buy them, the more your brand and event name will be seen later on!

Other ways to ensure comfort include providing cushioned seating, decent plates and utensils, and easy-to-navigate pathways between tables or exhibits. If your event uses disposable serveware, be sure to have plenty of trash cans and recycle bins set up so people can conveniently offload them once they're done with their food and drinks.

For a spacious event space in sunny Miami, consider Soho Studios. We have both indoor and outdoor areas that can be customized to match any theme you choose.

How to Transform a Blank Canvas

Even if a business has money, they’ve still got it rough when it comes to event planning. Sometimes, the space isn’t there. At other times, unconventional avenues make it hard to let loose, get the point across and attract new customers. When thinking outside the ballroom, it’s important to consider your audience. Transforming a blank canvas into a full-fledged event isn’t easy, but it’s possible. Here’s how:

Turn Small Shops into Networking Gatherings

If you’re stuck with a coffee shop, fear not. You can still use the free Wi-Fi, attract customers and dish out branded swag. Coffee shops are today’s pop-up shops, and they’re surprisingly good venues for small businesses lacking funds. You can still cross-promote your other options, staying true to a frugal budget while meeting the locals.

Use Park Space for Active Market Promotion

These days, most brands utilize the sporty, get-up-and-go lifestyle to promote. We live in a world where even videogames are getting more active. If you’re stuck with a field, make use of it. Parks might seem unconventional at first, but they’re incredibly capable event properties. Set up a gazebo, have a cookout and promote your product to passerby.

Turn a Tram Ride into a Town Tour

Sometimes, all the venues are booked. Have you considered your mobile options? Today’s town visitors—and even the residents—are using cross-city tram services, brewery carts and even carriages to see new sights. Give your customers a look through your business’s eyes, and give them something to remember. Travel is memorable, and you needn’t spend tons of money on a good trip.

Book it In an Airport

If you’ve got extra money, try out a pop-up experience in an airport. A surprising number of brands, like NGO Miseror, have created entire digital campaigns centered in airports. Aside from the obvious high-traffic benefit, airports are unique places which guarantee visibility. If you’re expressing yourself in an airport, you’ll definitely be seen.

Check Out the Local Lodge

Similar to the cross-town experience, a one-night stay in a lodge isn’t a bad idea. A lot of marketers, in fact, are bringing their customers closer by instilling a sense of sincerity. If you can get your customers talking to one another, you have an experience.

Not every event relies on flashy event spaces, huge banners and unique technology. Sometimes, simpler is better. It’s called experiential marketing for a reason. Even if the event is small, you can instill a sense of wonder by planning your event correctly. Check out your local area’s offerings, and get to work on your brand’s experiential canvas.