Wheel trend rolls in

Calling all hotels who have an abundance of unused, high-traffic square footage crying for some TLC!

Whether it’s a stark empty lobby or a spacious connector for guests commuting indoors to a convention center, theater, office building shopping or Outlet Center, taking a set of wheels off-the-road and into your property is the “whisper” behind this week’s trend.

With pop-up’s trending a few years now, we continue to live in an era of creative consumer engagement. This week’s trend is about a reworked, re-energized, ancient-old marketing tactic borrowed from the automotive industry who swears by it’s positive effect on consumers when a modified version of a car showroom is displayed in an unexpected space such as convention center or shopping mall. To this day, it is viewed as an excellent and effective method of drawing attention and let’s be honest; most new car displays are eye-catching!

A convenient yet unexpected engagement opportunity of shiny new automobiles strategically positioned and displayed in a lobby thanks to a strategic pairing of two local businesses: a car dealership and hotel. Together, this partnership allows consumers to get up close and personal with the cars. It’s even more effective if the experience can transcend into a hands-on test drive of the vehicle in the adjacent parking lot.

A shiny new automobile displayed in a hotel lobby presents a convenient yet unexpected engagement opportunity.
A shiny new automobile displayed in a hotel lobby presents a convenient yet unexpected engagement opportunity.

The car showroom is just the beginning and provides a basis for the number of unlimited possibilities. Allow me to share a couple of examples:

Recently, LAX developed their own spin on projecting local relevance while engaging travelers. Partnering with a popular local food truck Kogi, the truck rolled indoors and parked directly at the gates causing a serious level of traveler delight. The line could have wrapped around the truck three times as travelers co-mingled around the unexpected discovery and opportunity to enjoy a taste of Los Angeles from a real and authentic local entity.

Food truck rolls into LAX.
Food truck rolls into LAX.

A similar example was spearheaded by fashion discount giant Forever 21 who equipped fashion emergency vehicles, loaded them with outfits galore and used it as a promotional prop for the opening of new location in Costa Rica.  A retail frenzy over a creative merchandising technique caught shopper’s off-guard resulting in a favorable first-impression and unexpected sales!

In New York, a vertical food truck court has popped up on a gigantic freight elevator located on the upper floors of an 81-year-old, 19-story commercial building in Chelsea. The fresh take on selling inventive meals to office workers has resulted in something similar to an elevator ride in a department store imagined by Willie Wonka which has generated a fair share of unexpected visiting guests.

A food truck in a New York office building's freight elevator.
A food truck in a New York office building’s freight elevator.

Creating new experiences doesn’t necessarily mean you have to create and build a concept or partnership from ground zero. Reinventing the wheel by injecting your own spin to a current trend often lends itself to offering relevance and capitalizing on an excellent return on investment.

If you have a noteworthy and unexpected consumer engagement story a hotel could possibly adopt and put their own spin to it, please share!