Fairmont’s ambitious Beyond Limits campaign embodies the essence of this luxury brand’s recognition that accommodations are infinitely more than comfortable beds. The brand-wide campaign epitomizes one of the tenets of the Mille Club, a program we (Hotel Mogel) run designed to inspire any hotelier with lessons from the five-star, thousand-dollar-plus-ADR hotspots around the globe. In short, this timeless tenet is guests want unique experiences.
Right in the heart of Montreal, Canada, Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth is already regarded within the brand and within our home country as among the leading hotels in the ‘Augmented Hospitality’ movement, having hosted Celeste, a cabaret cirque-in-residence as soon as the pandemic subsided, while everyone in the industry and many others may recall the iconic John and Yoko Bed-In Suite where the song Give Peace a Chance was written.
Accordingly, when it came to designing the latest au courant campaign, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts immediately earmarked this property for the creation of the Barbie Dream Suite and accompanying marketing program. To discuss the launch, we asked Philippe Champagne, Fairmont’s Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for Eastern Canada to provide us with some further details.
How long did it take from concept through to opening?
The beginning stages of this year-long collaboration between Mattel and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts began several months ago. One of the core values for Barbie is inclusivity, and we needed to make sure to build a complete offer that could be enjoyed across all ages. Team members from several departments were brought together for brainstorming sessions to develop experiences that cater to different audiences – guests from out of town staying at our hotel, local guests, kids, adults and so on. Our team along with designers who have created all of the different experiences in various areas throughout the hotel – from the Barbie Dream Suite to the Barbie Sweets Shoppe – worked together for about a month to be able to host the first guests staying in the Barbie Dream Suite on August 24th and first Afternoon Tea Experience at Rosélys Restaurant on August 26th. We are looking to expand upon the Barbie Dream Experiences at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth and more surprises are in store.
The property offers a number of packages. Can you explain the entire program?
Guests can immerse themselves in the pink and playful world of Barbie with a selection of Barbie Dream Experiences to choose from. Stays in the former St-Henri Executive Suite which is a two bedroom suite with two full bathrooms, living room, dining area, kitchenette and powder room start at $1,499. Guests can also add to the suite experience a variety of package options including a fabulous tea party, spa day fit for a Barbie girl, birthday celebration or even a slumber party with your best friends.
Alternative Barbie Dream experiences accessible to all are available throughout the hotel. Guests are welcome to raise their PINK-Y during the Barbie Afternoon Tea at Rosélys restaurant every Saturday, sip on Barbie-themed cocktails (or mocktails) at Nacarat Bar and enjoy all the sweet treats from the Barbie Sweets Shoppe at Marché Artisans. A selection of Barbie dolls and accessories with a culinary or travel theme also completes the Barbie offer at Marché Artisans. More surprises in conjunction to the 65th anniversary of Barbie in 2024 will be announced later this year.
What is the guest response? Has demand exceeded the supply?
The response has exceeded our expectations. Because guests need to contact our Barbie Concierge to inquire about availability for the Barbie Dream Suite, we quickly felt the enthusiasm and were able to measure the demand for this new hotel offer. Reservations for the Barbie Afternoon Tea are also very popular, to the point that we needed to increase our order for pink tableware.
What has truly been extra special to experience is seeing the reaction of our guests as soon as they turn the corner and see the Barbie pink door at the end of the corridor on the 17th floor. Guests of all ages are amazed by all the little details that complete the room transformation! Creating unique and memorable experiences for our guests is at the core of Fairmont’s Beyond Limits campaign and we are so happy to have received such an extraordinary response so far.
How much extra work does it take housekeeping staff to maintain?
The housekeeping staff is very excited to be part of making this new hotel offer come to life. The cleaning routine is identical to the rest of our 950 hotel rooms; however, we now have to make sure that certain objects are now rose-coloured instead!
With school back in session, do you still have moms and daughters wanting to stay over?
With this year-long partnership, we are offering people of all genders and ages the opportunity to celebrate throughout the year, whether it ties with a special celebration (like a birthday or anniversary) or gives our guests an opportunity to gather and have a fun-filled one-of-a-kind experience.
What lessons did you learn from the process that you could pass on to other hoteliers?
Like always, be bold! I believe that hospitality is much more than just a bed and a shower and that nowadays, hoteliers must integrate unique experiences in both accommodation and F&B.
At Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, ‘Augmented Hospitality’ is part of our DNA. It’s our vision of creating unforgettable memories for our guests, and we will continue to innovate in this direction because, if you think about it, there really is no limit to what hotels can do as long as there is imagination and audacity.