American Marketer


Ritz-Carlton targets sports fans with basketball charity package

March 11, 2013


The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, NC, is targeting sports enthusiasts with a basketball package to be sold for charity in partnership with the Charlotte Bobcats National Basketball Association team.

The “Basketball Bucket List Experience” includes VIP NBA tickets and a two-night stay at the Ritz-Carlton. There is one package available priced at $10,000.

“The package helps to underscore the hotel’s relevance in the sports market, a market which underpins a significant amount of business and travel in Greater Charlotte,” said Heidi Nowak, director of sales and marketing at the Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte.

“It also allows us to show off the complete luxury travel experience available at our urban hotel, including unique dining, a remarkable spa and spectacular accommodations,” she said. “We like to think that after this two-day whirlwind, the four lucky guests will have enjoyed the equivalent of a dream resort stay.

“This will also become part No. of a broader, charity-based bucket-list initiative, which is currently being planned by the property.”

Dream day

The package includes accommodation in and out of the hotel. Both the Ritz-Carlton and the Charlotte Bobcats have included special offers to complete the package.

The package offers two nights in the 2,900-square-foot Ritz-Carlton Suite with an adjoining second bedroom, two signature treatments at property’s spa, dinner at the on-property BLT Steak restaurant, an autographed cookbook from BLT Steak chef and owner Laurent Tourondel, breakfast each morning at on-property Bar Cocoa, a private tour of Charlotte’s Mint Museum, two personalized Ritz-Carlton bathrobes and round-trip private transportation from the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Ritz-Carlton suite

In addition, guests will receive four floor seats for the Bobcats versus New York Knicks game April 15 at the Time Warner Cable Arena, which includes in-seat concession service, BackCourt Club access, dinner buffet and complimentary beverages.

The package also includes a pre-game meet-and-greet with the guests' favorite Bobcats player and admittance to a behind-the-scenes Bobcats post-game press conference.

Time Warner Cable Arena

The package is priced at $10,000 for four guests.

All of the proceeds will be donated to two charities: Eastway Middle School, Charlotte, and the Cats Care Foundation of the Charlotte Bobcats. The money will be split evenly between the two groups.

“While the components of this package are worth more than the package price, we still felt it would be most appropriate to share this one-time revenue with the community,” Ms. Nowak.

“The hotel has selected a nearby public school, while the Bobcats will donate their half of revenues to their local [nonprofit] foundation, which supports a variety of important children’s causes in Charlotte,” she said.

“Local was the keyword in our selection of the recipient organizations.”

Exclusive offerings

Luxury hotels can boost their status by making offers more exclusive to a limited number of people.

For instance, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts allowed London-bound affluent travelers to book a music-themed package that included a private recording session at the iconic Abbey Road Studios, which is not typically open to the public.

Fairmont-managed hotel The Savoy, London, hosted the "Record a Song Experience" that offered guests a two-night stay where they participated in a group song recording at Abbey Road Studios. There was a limit of 20 packages spread over two weekends (see story).

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

The “Access Washington” hotel package was available Jan. 18-22 and offered a behind-the-scenes look into the inauguration events in Washington (see story).

In addition to boosting the exclusive nature of the property, Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, could gain additional exposure by partnering with a sports team.

“The Bobcats have worked with the Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, since pre-opening, and we value our relationship with them and their proximity to us,” Ms. Nowak said.

“We always appreciate the business that basketball brings us and we, in turn, are able to send business toward the Bobcats as well,” she said.