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Collaborations

Successful collaborations are meant to stop us in our tracks, and the ongoing trend of dream team collaborations is almost always guaranteed to generate buzz. Who doesn’t recall the magic several years ago when Google and Verizon created Android phones, technically Apple’s first rival? Or how about the Neiman Marcus-Target collaboration that featured a staggering 20 designers and 50 products?

Even the development of unexpected or bizarre product concepts is a tremendous way to spice up two brands simultaneously and reach new audiences. A great example is the off-the-wall pairing between Veuve Clicquote Champagne and DKNY, which resulted in the development of a quirky rain boot that generated massive press. And since both brands are under the LVMH Group, overall it was a brilliant strategy and method to promote the sister brands.

But obviously, not all product collaborations go over successively. If one of the entities for whatever reason hits a bump in the road, it can cause harm to both. Who can forget several years ago when Kellogg dropped Olympic star Michael Phelps for smoking marijuana or Walmart stopped the sales of a clothing line endorsed by American TV host Kathy Lee Gifford after discovering the clothes were made by children in a Honduras sweatshop? More recently Tiger Williams encountered his own fair share of endorsement struggles while this week all eyes are on Simon Cowell and the future of his global television megahit “The X Factor” as news broke about his impending fatherhood involving a friend’s wife.

But regardless of the risk, I believe strongly in the continuation of this ongoing trend, especially in hotels, due to its addictive tendencies, which are notorious for generating foot traffic and immeasurable press.

Hotel collaborations with designers and celebrity chefs have ventured beyond the spa, restaurant, room service and luxury amenity lines. Celebrity chefs can provide luxury hotels with an impressive revenue accelerator; in fact, as an insider, I can attest to the value and ability a chef brand has to elevate an entire food and beverage operation.

Let’s take a look at some of the higher-wattage and most successful designer and chef collaborations that have taken place in hospitality.

Most recently, famed chef Nobu Matsuhisha took it a step further than simply lending his name to a hotel by establishing a collaboration of 181 rooms at Caesars Palace. The launch of the boutique Nobu Hotel is the first celebrity chef-branded hotel venture in Las Vegas.

Individuality (a new trend on the horizon in the uniform segment), where no two uniforms are alike, was heightened by Designer Christian Lacroix’s collaboration with the Sofitel South Bangkok. 

The world’s leading fashion houses love bringing their runway expertise to design hotel interiors, and tourists not only enjoy wearing their wares, they enjoy viewing them within a hotel environment. Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular iconic properties with designer affiliations or collaborations.

Housed within the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, the Armani Hotel takes up 11 stories of the mixed-use skyscraper, and Giorgio Armani designed the modern rooms and touts that hotels offer him a better base from which to truly sell a lifestyle.

Bulgari Hotels and Resorts is a joint venture between Bulgari and the luxury division of Marriott International. Bulgari opened its first hotel in Milan, Italy, and is now in Tokyo, Bali and London. Bulgari is also opening a hotel in Shanghai due to be completed in 2015 that will be part of a 40-story mixed-use building covering 12 floors.

Palazzo Versace Gold Coast claims to be the first fashion-branded hotel. Patterns and prints found in Versace’s fashion collections are evident across the property located at Main Beach on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

In conclusion, I can assure you this ongoing collaboration trend has no signals of slowing down. If you have created or incorporated a similar collaboration at your own property, please share via a comment. If not, feel free to let me know what your own “dream team collaboration” would be for either your own property or the industry in general. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas!

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