American Marketer

Events / Causes

Ritz-Carlton targets ultra-affluent via political package for Presidential Inauguration

November 7, 2012


The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, DC is encouraging politically-minded ultra-affluent consumers to experience the 2013 Presidential Inauguration through a hotel package priced at $100,000.

The "Access Washington" hotel package is available Jan. 18-22 and offers a behind-the-scenes look into the inauguration events in Washington. The package is certainly tailored for wealthy consumers who seek experiences to which the general public does not have access.

“We wanted to create something that is fun and creative, celebrates one of the most important and exciting times in Washington, continues to create lasting memories, and reinforces luxury and mystique of The Ritz-Carlton brand,” said Elizabeth Mullins, area vice president and general manager at Ritz-Carlton, Washington.

“As you can see in the components of this inaugural package, The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, creates the luxury trends, not follows,” she said. “It showcases our creativity and access to exclusive one-of-a-kind experiences for our guests and for creating lasting memories.”

Presidential treatment

The $100,000 package includes private experiences that can only be found in Washington. It is based on double occupancy.

Guests will receive two first-class, round-trip domestic airline tickets. They will be chauffeured to and from the airport in a luxury vehicle.

The four-night stay is in a luxury hotel suite.

Guests will get themed amenities each night. They will also receive an original diamond and ruby pin by jeweler Ann Hand.

Ann Hand pin

Also included in the package is Club Lounge Access. This space offers complimentary food and beverage presentations throughout the day.

On the first evening, guests will be served a three course dinner prepared by the hotel’s executive chef Yves Samake and the students of DC Central Kitchen. The value of the dinner will be donated to DC Central Kitchen.

One of the private events that guests will experience is an afternoon tour of Washington with guide Ismail Naskai. He was the winner of the Best Tour Guide award by the Washington Area Concierge Association.

This behind-the-scenes tour includes the opportunity to take the same walk as the incoming president during his inauguration ceremony. Guests will also get special access to the Capitol, National Archives, Library of Congress, National Treasury and Arlington Cemetery.

Another event included in the package is to attend the Inaugural Parade Watching Party at Newseum. Guests will be able to jump ahead of the line and receive early admittance.

Inside, food and beverage will be served from Wolfgang Puck's "The Source" restaurant.

Ritz-Carlton partnered with Saks Fifth Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD, to provide guests with an outfit for this event.

Before the events, guests will spend the afternoon at the Fifth Avenue Club with a Saks Fifth Avenue fashion director. They will be styled in a dress or tuxedo and receive a hair and makeup session in their hotel suite.

Guests will have access to Saks Fifth Avenue’s Fashion Concierge throughout their stay.

Additionally, guests will participate in a private viewing of the VIP autograph book signed by heads of state and celebrities. They will also learn the background and history behind these signatures.

There is also a “back of the house” tour with hotel security so that guests can witness how the president and heads of state arrive and exit.

Another experience included in the package is a private cupcake decorating party for 10 guests at Georgetown Cupcake's "Lab.”

Guest will create a cupcake flavor to be featured as the bake shop’s Flavor of the Day during the 2013 Inauguration.


One-of-a-kind experiences

Other luxury hotels seem to be tailoring packages to ultra-affluent consumers who are seeking exclusivity when traveling.

For instance, Mandarin Oriental’s San Francisco property is marking its 25th anniversary through two packages meant to offer the best of the city and the hotel’s amenities.

The Extravagant Silver Package starts at $25,000 for two nights. It includes a private one-hour helicopter ride, a 25th anniversary dinner with Champagne and wine pairings served on the Oriental Suite terrace, a two-hour couples’ spa treatment that includes a gift, two monogrammed bathrobes and a gift certificate to Christofle in San Francisco (see story).

In addition, Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York is celebrating its 15-year anniversary by offering an extravagant crystal-themed package valued at $15,000.

Since the 15th year is the “crystal” anniversary, Trump is offering a package including crystal jewelry, Champagne and crystal-covered Christian Louboutin shoes (see story).

Hotel packages such as these allow travel marketers to create an experience unique to the property that attracts affluent guests.

“At the Ritz-Carlton, there is a significant amount of dedication and care that goes into making memories for the discerning world traveler,” Ms. Mullins said. “We kept this in mind when creating this package – what would our customer want for a once-in-a lifetime experience and being part of this historic moment?

“With all the exclusive access, over-the-top amenities and experiencing a part of history, we think all the components make this a great package and incredible value,” she said.

Final Take

Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York