Taco Bell is entering the hotel business to better compete against other fast-food chains, CNN Business reports. For five evenings in August, Taco Bell is overtaking a Palm Springs, California, hotel and making it the Bell: A Taco Bell Hotel and Resort. The Bell will feature new and traditional menu items, a gift shop, nail art and more.
Promotions like the Bell can give customers a reason to “think of us as a cool and innovative brand,” Matt Prince, Taco Bell senior manager of public relations and brand experience, told CNN Business. Prince called it a way “to ensure that Taco Bell has a really special place in culture.” For Taco Bell, the Bell is an opportunity for people to be part of a Taco Bell experience – and share the experience online.
Promotions like Taco Bell’s give fast-food chains an opportunity to stand out in a crowded market, increase brand awareness and create buzz on social media. Domino’s promised to assist cities in fixing potholes. For Mother’s Day, KFC let customers create a video for mom featuring shirtless “Chickendales” dancers. Arby’s offered customers a 24-hour Hawaiian vacation for $6.
For Taco Bell, promotions like the Bell gives customers something different without putting pressure on franchisees. Off-menu promotions can generate interest in the brand, and a Taco Bell resort would look great on Instagram. #TacoBellResort
CNN Business said that the Bell visitors can become brand ambassadors on social media. People who stay at the hotel will see new menu items and post about them. Chipotle used a similar tactic when it expanded its rewards program. The chain gave out free cash on Venmo to raise awareness for the program while entering into people’s social media feeds.
“Venmo, to us, is becoming an untapped social network,” Venmo chief technology officer Curt Garner told CNN Business.
Social media also is a source of ideas for Taco Bell. If someone tweeted about a Taco Bell Hotel, Taco Bell may have seen it and taken that into account. “It could be just one tweet in a sea of a million that’s like, ‘This is interesting – is there something more to this?’ ” Prince said.
With Taco Bell Hotel, it was “a buildup of things over the course of the past couple of years,” said Alec Treffers, Taco Bell communication and brand experience senior specialist.
But for other Taco Bell ideas, such as opening a wedding space at a Taco Bell Cantina in Downtown Las Vegas, social awareness was important. “With weddings, we did see people using sauce packets to propose to their significant other,” Treffers said.
Taco Bell will start taking reservations for the Bell in June, and the hotel opens Aug. 9.