CityJet and Aloft Hotels are the latest travel brands to gravitate towards using music's emotional resonance as a tool to engage more deeply with their guests.
European business carrier CityJet has collaborated with MDM Records to create a consistent musical experience that reinforces the brand beyond the airport and plane.
Called OnAir, the music is a curated selection of indie artists at the fringe of the mainstream presented alongside some more popular artists. A dedicated iPhone app acts as a sort of contemporary radio station for the indie-inclined, with the music also streaming from the CityJet Facebook page.
A companion site features events and music news in addition to the music player. Looking past the peculiar out-of-date music news and slightly clumsy copy, the concept is solid and seems to fit right into the CityJet's desired young professional demographic.
Aloft's latest is most definitely drawing on its Starwood heritage - the W Hotel was a pioneer when it came to music, commissioning exclusive CD compilations and reinforcing the energetic musical atmosphere with a DJ playing loudly in the lobby.
Aloft is taking their musical roots beyond the DJ and into live music; the promotion is called "Play & Stay at Aloft," and the hotel is on the search for the next indie band sensation.
Partnering with popular indie band We Are Scientists, Aloft is hosting a series of live events at hotels in London, Brussels and Abu Dhabi. Bands submit a link to their demo, with the most promising invited to perform live at their nearest participating Aloft Hotel.
We Are Scientists will then watch the video from each of these gigs, and invite one deserving band to perform with them at the Aloft Sessions in London.
The most captivating part of the promotion is that We Are Scientists will collaborate with the winning band to write and record a brand-new track in 12 hours, courtesy of a pop-up studio built for this occasion. So not only will the band get bragging rights to perform with We Are Scientists - they will get to perform a completely fresh track with the band in front of a live audience in London.
This is a huge opportunity for an aspiring band, and really shows how a traditional contest can be made more creative, interesting and exciting by employing unusual elements that reinforce both the brand's message and the consumer's desires.
Both of these examples effectively engage each brand's fan base, while also bringing more people into their ecosystem. It's a fantastic way to make your own press, and hook the types of customers that each brand would like to see more of.
However, it's not easy to continue to create compelling content (as evidenced by the lack of updated music news on CityJet's page). In addition, the execution of a contest can sometimes lead to unexpected headaches and disappointed participants that might be left with a skewed view of the brand.
We're going to keep an eye on the progress of these initiatives, and see what lessons can be learned as brands continue to look for authentic and effective ways to take their brand beyond the basics.
We Are Scientists share more of their hipster humor: