“Shoppable” hotel rooms offer items from cosmetics and toiletries to art and furniture that guests can buy, essentially turning a piece of your vacation into everyday reality.
“Hotels are doing everything they can to increase awareness and appeal of their online stores and grow their sales of their branded merchandise,” said Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst and founder of the Atmosphere Research Group. “Online stores are getting as much attention as the hotel website where you plan and book your room reservations.”
For some properties, this means making standard room amenities like soaps, shampoos, or room art available for public purchase. And at the extreme, an entire accommodation can be turned into an entirely shoppable showroom, offering guests an intimate test drive that most traditional buying experiences lack.
When you buy something you loved on vacation from a hotel’s retail site, you send a powerful message to the hotel. “It basically implies that they want to take their hotel experience ‘home’ with them,” said Michael Weiss, senior director of online retail for Marriott International. “I’d say that’s an incredible endorsement.”
Shop everything from hotel pillows to dishes
Some established hotel groups have long been offering in-room amenities for purchase. Guests at Westin (a Marriott International brand since the group’s Starwood acquisition in 2016) properties have for years had the ability to recreate their entire night’s sleep at home by purchasing the brand’s exclusive “Heavenly Bed” mattresses, pillows and sets of sheets. Today, 13 of Marriott International’s 30 brands offer everything from mattresses to vanity mirrors for sale on their websites. “I think people — even in today’s online shopping-obsessed world — still like the idea of truly sleeping on a mattress for a full night to see if they like it instead of buying one after trying it in a store for five minutes,” Mr. Weiss said.
But Marriott’s merchandise menu doesn’t end at beds. The company has responded to concierge inquiries about in-room products by expanding its inventory. Customers at Courtyard hotels can take the brand’s bistro experience home by way of wine glasses and dishware, for example. And at the Marriott proper, a good experience with the in-room alarm clock, shower curtain or bedside lamp is completely reproducible at home.
Buy turntables, Bluetooth speakers, and other boutique goods
Where Marriott helps you replicate your stay at home, some boutique properties are curating aspirational design lifestyles that are easily transported home— for a price.
Shinola, a Detroit luxury design retailer that launched in 2011, opened an entire hotel in downtown Detroit this January in order to offer customers a more immersive experience than was possible in its retail stores. Guests at the Shinola Hotel have the opportunity to live with (and later purchase) the brand’s high-end products, including the hotel’s limited-edition desk clock, an alpaca throw blanket, a turntable and a set of Bluetooth speakers.
And from the EDITION, a global group of 9 luxury properties, you can purchase extravagant room furnishings — like the “bowling bowl” art or marble-print accent pouf ottomans both featured in the brand’s Miami Beach location — as mementos. They even offer three different faux fur throws, specially designed for locations in Barcelona, Shanghai, New York and London.
Bring home a part of your vacation rental
Even apartment rentals are treating their spaces as short-term live-in showrooms. For Domio, a vacation rental company with serviced apartments and “apart-hotels” in seven cities across the United States, giving guests a way to bring the brand’s design home is part of the company’s mission. “Bringing home a piece of Domio can help spark those positive moments you’ve gained while staying with us,” said Jay Roberts, the company’s co-founder and chief executive. Domio guests can purchase custom designed wallpaper and art featured in the brand’s new New Orleans apartment hotel. Shoppable signature toiletries, an extra-wide full length mirror (designed for large groups getting ready to go out) and even a sofa bed are all on the road map.
Fülhaus — an interior design start-up that offers “haus-in-a-box” furniture packages to short-term rental management companies — offers visitors to select properties it has furnished the opportunity to shop that individual apartment’s style in its online store.
And even independent Airbnb hosts are taking the opportunity to make a sale. At Montauk’s McKinley Bungalow, every item within the home is up for grabs. Some of the pieces are vintage finds, and others are designed by the property’s hosts. And on the website for Casa Mami, a vacation rental outside of Sen Bernadino, Calif., many products featured in the home are listed and linked for a guest’s shopping convenience.
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