Back when Keith Moon and John Bonham walked the earth, rock stars were famously banned from hotels after escapades involving groupies, motorcycles, chain saws and the like. Now, travel brands aren’t just welcoming music artists, they’re entering lucrative deals with labels and promoters in an effort to attract a younger, hipper crowd.
At the start of the year, Hilton Worldwide (which represents 12 hotel brands and more than 4,300 properties across 94 countries) inked a five-year deal with Live Nation to become its official hotel partner. In June, Marriott International (which represents 19 hotel brands and more than 4,200 hotels spanning 80 countries) embarked on a similar yearlong global partnership with Universal Music Group. (Financial terms for both deals were not disclosed.)
“If we get it right, the rewards can be huge,” says UMG executive vp business development and partnerships Mike Tunnicliffe, who calls the deal the first in a move toward “longer term, more strategic, revenue-generating” brand partnerships. Hilton and Marriott respectively boast 40 million and 50 million members of their loyalty rewards programs — all of whom will be targeted with marketing blasts about upcoming tours, releases and events. “That adds up to good stuff for us in terms of awareness,” says Russell Wallach, Live Nation’s president of media and sponsorship.
“Not many companies can match our scale,” says Karin Timpone, Marriott’s global marketing officer. “Our physical presence is huge around the world, but also our digital presence is huge.”
On the ground level, Hilton will also offer discounted rates to artists and road crews of Live Nation tours, while Marriott will promote UMG repertoire on its digital and in-room entertainment platforms. And artists who perform one-off VIP concerts at hotels could be looking at a big payday.
To launch Marriott’s #WithTheBand campaign, Ellie Goulding performed an hour-long set at London’s St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel on June 30, which sources say is likely to have netted her upward of $100,000 to $200,000. Paramore and Nick Jonas received similar sums for participating in Hilton’s @Play concert series, in addition to the viral traffic generated by such events as the Periscope live stream of Jonas’ April 22 show at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas.
“Brands that were spending the majority of their advertising budgets in sports are realizing that music audiences are much more diverse. Sports does not do as good job targeting women, targeting multi-cultural, targeting millennials,” says Wallach.
“It’s a very symbiotic partnership,” agrees Mark Weinstein, Hilton’s global head of partnerships. “We can be a great platform for the music community, and they can be a great platform for us.”