Sep 26, 2013

Ace Hotel’s Thoughtful E-commerce Curation

[Ace Portland photo by Lauren Coleman]

Ace is a mini-chain of boutique hotels based out of Portland, Ore. But as they say on their gorgeous new website, they’re actually a "collection of individuals," just like any company, though it’s refreshing to hear one speak to it. As such, they care about keeping things fresh, energetic, and human.

More than merely sending emails to its growing customer base, trying to get them to spend money at their locations in Portland, London, Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, and Palm Springs, Ace partners with like-minded businesses for some thoughtful e-commerce curation as an added bonus. Other humans who are also doing cool stuff, as it were.

"We choose partners by making friends with people we admire and whose work is interesting to us," says Ace’s Chelsea Place. "We’ve been working with artists ever since the hotel opened in 1999, and our artist friends painted all the rooms differently."

Those early artistic partnerships have extended throughout Ace’s history to the point now where they’re working with all sorts of different, interesting folks. "We’ve made friends from leather makers like Tanner Goods, local bike makers like Hufnagel in Portland and Horse Cycles in New York. We’ve got new murals going up in Palm Springs by different artists and partners like Juxtapoz. We sell bags, tank tops, flip flops, have three collaborations with Converse, have several Pendleton blankets, new letterman jackets coming out, several robes—the list goes on."

Using MailChimp to get the word out about someone else’s product helps to cast a positive light on both parties. "We have a lot of partners in our retail, our events, restaurants at most of properties that host events and special nights," Chelsea says. "So when we want to send an email to sell, say, the bikes we have at the hotel that are built by a few different brands, we write the copy, choose the images, and then share with the other companies to proofread and add any additional content. After they go out, we forward the final emails from MailChimp to each partner so they can send them to their lists."

The process seems to be working, too, if only because its benefits come full circle. By linking away to other companies, and helping them promote their hard work through Ace’s channels, there’s an avalanche of good will, great work, and warm fuzzies across the board. "We track the revenue and are able to encourage other partners to sign on with us based on those results," Chelsea says. "The more partnerships we do, the stronger our brand becomes. Our campaigns are really key to getting the word out to people who want to stay in touch with us. Even if they aren’t buying something straight from one of the emails, they’re counting on us to bring a certain level of quality and experience."