American Marketer

Events / Causes

Starwood, Mercedes AMG Petronas partner for members-only Grand Prix package

May 11, 2012


Starwood Hotels & Resorts is partnering with the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One racing team to position its properties as premiere accommodations for Grand Prix race attendees and offer members-only travel packages.

This three-year partnership will allow Starwood to give its Preferred Members exclusive experiences at hotels in Spain, Monaco, Singapore, Brazil and Abu Dhabi where Grand Prix races will take place. The packages will start with travel options to Formula One’s European season at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.

“With this partnership, Starwood is looking to generate brand awareness in key markets among affluent travelers,” said Taylor Rains, account coordinator at Rawle Murdy Associates Inc., Charleston, SC.

“Rather than sponsoring a stagnant sporting event, Starwood is aligning its brand with something fluid that touches various different markets," he said.

Mr. Rains is not affiliated with Starwood or Mercedes AMG Petronas, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Starwood and Mercedes AMG Petronas did not respond before press deadline.

The Mercedes AMG Petronas team competes in the FIA Formula One World Championship. The engines for the team’s Formula One cars are provided by Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains.

On the luxury track
Starwood is now the official preferred hotel partner of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One team.

SPG members can experience members-only Grand Prix events in Spain, Monaco, Singapore, Brazil, Abu Dhabi and other future race destinations by purchasing the Game On with SPG: Access Like No Other package.

Rewards members can now connect with their passion for a world-class sport, per Starwood.

Travelers can bid program Starpoints for more than 120 Access Like No Other travel packages offered via the SPG Moments auction program.

These include meet-and-greets with the drivers, views of the pit lane from the team’s hospitality suites, guided factory tours and live race screening events.

To bid, members must register at The SPG program is free to join.

Fans of Mercedes AMG Petronas are prime customers for Starwood and hail from all over Europe and the Middle East, per Mr. Rains.

"The value for Starwood comes from highly-targeted and efficient exposure,” Mr. Rains said. “With this partnership, Starwood reaches consumers on their terms and in their market.

"For existing Starwood customers, this partnership offers yet another unique experience and shows them that Starwood is not to be outdone,” he said. “Mercedes AMG Petronas gains association with a highly-recognizable, international brand with an established consumer base.”

I’ll race you
By offering this package through its auction program, Starwood is upping the exclusivity factor for its SPG program and its partnership with Mercedes AMG.

The hotel brand also seems to be choosing its SPG partnership wisely to attract affluent consumers.

Starwood’s previous global partnership with Bentley allowed the hotel chains to offer select exclusive driving experiences through SPG moments, giving the automaker a leg-up over competitors.

In addition, Bentley vehicles are now available at many St. Regis and Luxury Collection properties for guest use (see story).

Starwood’s partnership with the Formula One Team tells consumers that the brand is working to enhance their experience, per Mr. Rains.

In addition, a long-term partnership is more effective than a one-time-only package for raising awareness for both marketers.

“Starwood’s choice to maintain a partnership with Mercedes AMG Petronas for three years shows a strong commitment,” Mr. Rains said. “This allows the strategy to develop fully and promotes a successful campaign.”

Final Take
Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York