American Marketer

Events / Causes

Sprucing up marriage proposals with bespoke scenes

February 13, 2014


Everyone knows that the rise and fall of marriage proposals cluster around certain dates, so how do hotels prepare for all the knot-tying?

As one might suspect, luxury hotels have colorful proposal anecdotes and are equipped with measures to help guests ask the question. Whether on Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong's helicopter or a midnight boat ride at Four Seasons Hotel Prague, concierge teams try to imbue the occasion with a sense of exclusivity.

"Through the years, our hotels have become well known for special occasions, and as the location for many proposals, weddings, wedding anniversaries and other important romantic milestones," said Sian Griffith, director of communication at The Peninsula Hotels, Hong Kong.

"While of course many couples do 'wing it' in terms of proposing at our hotels, the teams at our properties love to be involved with extra-special occasions like this!" she said.

"Often the proposer already has a set idea of what they’d like to do and so we can assist them in executing their plan or plans, or else our teams are always delighted to come up with bespoke and creative options to make the big moment even more memorable, and of course are only too pleased when the couple returns to the hotel to hold their wedding."

All about where

On the ground, a city can appear cramped, endless and chaotic. On a 34th floor rooftop, however, the noise melds into a calm buzz and the concrete and steel no longer seem so imposing.

At least this is the hoped-for atmosphere that drives couples to the top of buildings to kick off a marriage.

At Four Seasons George V Paris, guests can marvel at the Eiffel Tower, and at the brand's Mumbai, India, property the concierge team arranges a sunset dinner and a hidden ring.

Four Seasons George V in Paris

For an even more majestic height, lovers can hop into Peninsula Hong Kong's helicopter, where an estimated 90 proposals are made each year.

Peninsula Hong Kong's helicopter

In the opposite direction, guests at the Four Seasons Golden Triangle, Thailand can hunker down in the wine cellar.

Four Seasons Gold Triangle

Four Seasons Prague will bring a couple on a rose-strewn and candle-lit boat ride in the middle of the night.

Four Seasons Prague's midnight boat ride

What about bespoke?

Concierge teams play an integral role in setting the stage and customizing details.

In short notice, concierge teams can draw on an abundance of resources for scenarios, such as unfurling a banner freighted with the question, planting a ring in a museum exhibit or spelling out the words "Marry Me" with Kit Kats on a bed.

Since Valentine's Day is right around the corner, many hotels will be handling proposal requests.

Is it best for luxury hotels to veer toward familiar narratives or search for something novel when crafting Valentine’s Day packages?

The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong and Graff Diamonds

The holiday falls on a Friday this year, giving marketers the liberty to devise multiple-day packages that appeal to travelers from all over in ways that a Tuesday or Wednesday simply could not achieve. Though the majority of properties will be adorned with common decorations and stick with ordinary events, a few properties may wade a little further into the pool of creativity (see story).

While luxury jewelry brands are featuring diamonds and retailers are showcasing fine chocolate collections, fashion brands are focusing on entry-level goods and accessories for holiday gifting.

Balenciaga featured a mix of scarves and handbags, while Louis Vuitton and Mulberry elected to stick with wallets, small handbags and tech cases. Through this effort, these fashion brands can try to earn more market share in this gift-heavy holiday (see story).

Any brand that manages to contribute to a marriage proposal will likely generate long-lasting consumers.

"Hotels realize the importance of a marriage proposal as the start of lifelong journey," said Tiffany Dowd, founder and president of Luxe Social Media, Boston.

"Several hotels have even created the position of proposal concierge to facilitate every detail of the engagement planning process, from small to extravagant, to ensure everything is to perfection," she said.

"With such a momentous occasion, it’s likely the couple will share the beautiful experience with friends and family, which is beneficial to the hotel.The perfect proposal is a meaningful connection to the hotel, and it’s very likely the couple will return for a honeymoon or anniversary getaway as a celebration of their love."

Final Take

Joe McCarthy, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York