West Elm is expanding into the hospitality business. The furniture and home goods retailer announced the expansion of its signature modern aesthetic, West Elm Hotels, in partnership with DDK. The first properties are expected to open in late 2018 starting in Detroit, Minneapolis, Savannah, Charlotte and Indianapolis. In addition, each hotel will offer a unique experience and feature local design elements as West Elm continues to grow its commitment with makers around the world.
Total Retail's Take: It isn't enough for a retailer just to be a retailer anymore. Providing experiences is of the utmost importance. West Elm Hotels seems like the ultimate experiential marketing move. In addition, the retailer is collaborating with local makers in each city to make each boutique hotel unique. Over the next few years, I think we'll see more retailers expand into different verticals. Just last year, Urban Outfitters announced it acquired Vetri Restaurants. It's not longer just about selling product; you have to create experiences as well.