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I just received a press release from Mercedes-Benz that shows that even premium automakers are feeling the squeeze and need to festoon their amenities with benefits that are offered outside the car.
All Mercedes-Benz owners are now eligible to be part of the company’s “Destinations” program. The incentive offers owners a collection of upscale hotels that feature special welcome gifts and room upgrades, but more importantly, the complimentary use of a Mercedes-Benz vehicle for these pursuits.
On the Mercedes-Benz owner’s website, users can view descriptions of the resort properties and the benefits each hotel offers. All the destinations in the program have been hand-picked; according to the press release, they include the Calistoga Ranch, CA; Encantado, NM; The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, SC; The Montage Beverly Hills, CA; Rancho Valencia, CA; Stowe Mountain Lodge, VT; The St. Regis Aspen, CO; and Winvian, CT; and Trump International Hotel & Tower, IL.
Mercedes-Benz vehicles at each property will range from a SL 63 AMG performance roadster to the flagship S-Class sedan and new BlueTEC SUV diesel. Each Mercedes-Benz comes equipped with an in-dash navigation system, which is obviously helpful when you are traveling during a vacation.
Of course this concept has been taken right out of the playbook from companies such as American Express, but who cares? If it works in other industries, why not try it to enhance the sale of cars?
In order for the automotive industry to survive, new marketing tactics have to be developed to drive traffic into showrooms. Credit to Mercedes for putting together a pretty cool marketing program. In addition to driving the car you have at home on a vacation, the program should get existing drivers into models other than the ones they own. Sort of a test drive while you are wearing a Hawaiian shirt.
Oh by the way, don’t forget the dreaded small print—vehicles and room upgrades are subject to availability.