Rent The Runway Checks Into The Hotel Business

  • December 6, 2019 at 3:12 PM EST
  • By Bryan Wassel
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Rent The Runway and W Hotels recently announced a partnership that allows travelers to choose up to four items from Rent The Runway for $69, with the clothes delivered to a hotel for the traveler’s arrival. It’s the latest example of how the retail and hospitality industries can integrate their offerings to enhance the customer experience.

“Companies are trying to get consumers to experience their brand. Gone are the days where consumers must buy everything in-store,” said Bruce Winder, Co-Founder of the Retail Advisors Network in a statement. “To thrive as a retail brand, you need to have a store that offers community, trial, education, expertise or inspiration, and hotels can really create all of that. Hotels are the ultimate experiential stores.”

Detroit’s Shinola Hotel opened earlier this year and marked the first location for the luxury watchmaker Shinola. The company’s Runwell Desk Clock, a Shinola-made alpaca throw blanket and signature candle are showcased in each of the property’s 129 guestrooms, and all are available for purchase, allowing Shinola to connect retail and hospitality in an immersive hybrid concept.

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Other consumer brands checking into the hotel space include LVMH’s Bulgari, which formed a joint venture with Marriott to open Bulgari Hotels & Resorts in Milan, London, Bali, Beijing, Dubai and Shanghai. Japanese retailer Muji has unveiled properties in Shenzhen and Beijing, China. 

Rental management company Domio has outfitted its New Orleans apartment hotel with custom artwork that can be purchased on the e-Commerce platform Society6. Domio plans to ramp up the “shoppability” of its guestrooms, with plans to build on partnerships with home goods brands Snowe and Casper as a way to offer guests easier ways to purchase items.

“When you go shopping, your brain automatically goes into a shopping mode, and it’s not organic,” said Olivia Hnatyshin, Domio Head of Branding and Design in a statement. “But when you actually exist in a space and can see pieces in motion and see how it works together in a residential setting, it’s really helpful in creating an organically shoppable experience.”

Incorporating hotels into a retail space can create a win-win for both parties as well. High-end luxury hotels have been very successful components of high-end malls, and midmarket hotels have proven to be strong additions to midmarket retail venues.

“A great hotel properly integrated into a project can increase retail sales per square foot by up to 40% over properties in the relevant competitive set,” said Guy Maisnik, Partner of the Global Hospitality Group in a statement. “And the right retail setting can similarly enhance hotel revenue per available room by a similar premium over the hotels’ competitive set. These synergies are not just aesthetic; they provide significant financial benefit.”

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