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As a Sarasota art destination and champion of the arts, Art Ovation Hotel works to ensure the continued expression of the creative spirit that is unique to our city. Art Ovation serves as an active host, facilitator, patron and partner for the advancement of the arts, presents an evolving array of unique, immersive, artistic experiences supported by exceptional hospitality in a dynamic, artcentric environment. Utilizing our boutique venues, our approach emphasizes skill and relationship building through the availability of internships and scholarships, curated art exhibits, live performances, tours, classes, talks and workshops. It is our desire that through participation each artist and their expression; each guest and their aspiration find new, creative life at Art Ovation Hotel. 2




Secondary Research


Primary Research


Research Insights


Opportunity Areas


Creative Strategies





A Hotel at the Heart of it In the Spring of 2018, Art Ovation opened its doors to artists, travelers, and locals alike. Located in downtown Sarasota at the corner of Palm and Coconut Avenues, Art Ovation is right in the heart of the city. Known as Florida’s cultural coast, Sarasota is home to a professional symphony, ballet and opera, and more than 10 theaters and 30 art galleries. 5



The brand concept fully embraces the Sarasota arts community, promising to deliver a memorable and uniquely curated hotel stay by immersing guests in the creative process and providing interactive one-of-a-kind experiences.






We have a passion for the arts and a deep appreciation for the joy they bring. We reveal in finding carefully word operationalizing and sharing artful experiences with our guests and visitors.

To inspire is to share a vision for what IS possible. Like the artists we admire, we strive to inspire our guests through words, actions and a progressive view of our community and the world around us. We succeed when guests become participants.

Both visually and experiential, we represent the authentic enthusiasm for our guests and their time with us. That energy is apparent through tireless attention to detail, exuberant programming and a zeal for living with the arts.

Like our guests, we are proud tastemakers with a world view. We envelope them in approachable refinement and professional service. Our spaces, experiences and branding itself are intellectually and visually appealing.

Engaging all five senses, we are commited to expression that is created rather than imitated. We celevrate visual, performing and culinary arts in clever, inventive and imaginative ways.


After an exciting and unpredictable (red tide, anyone?) first year in business, Art Ovation is looking to the future by inviting us to explore new approaches to communicating and delivering the brand promise.

Our Challenge? How might we attract a younger demographic, locals and travelers, that represents the target the intended autograph collection audience without alienating the local community and current audience?

Our Goal Our goal in addressing this challenge was to find new ways to deliver on the brand promise of being “exactly like nothing else� across all outlets.


Students and the younger crowd in Sarasota do not go out in Sarasota. The younger Sarasota crowd does not know about Art Ovation.

The drinks and food are too expensive for younger audiences and that is why they do not go.

The Sarasota community does not see hotels as being open to community and does not consider them for entertainment

The older crowd is a deterrent for Gen Z and Millennials.


Young families would attend the events if they knew about them.


We began by mapping our discovery goals and deciding on a research methodology. We then went to tackle the assumptions we thought we knew.

Learning What We Don’t Know Before attempting to develope solutions, we needed to understand the problem we have over theories, but we needed evidence to back those theories up. 9

Trends Technology-Enabled Service Design Standard approaches no longer cut it. Guests crave personalization and digital services that put them in control of their own experience. Interactive Guest Experiences As technology like virtual, augmented, and mixed realities continue to advance, so do the possibilities for creating immersive and interactive experiences for guests. Sustainability and Environmental Awareness Social responsibility is now the expectation, and this value is rapidly spreading as a priority across customer segments and generational cohorts. Diversity and Inclusion Hotels at the top of the industry are prioritizing their commitment to creating a culture of diversity and inclusion by providing anti-bias training to executive teams and staff.


Secondary Research

We began by dividing up secondary research topics, learning about the Sarasota population, the competitive landscape, and the emerging trends in dining, retail, and hospitality.

Gen Z and Millennials

Gen Z and Hospitality

Anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 23 to 38 in 2019) is considered a Millennial, and anyone born from 1997 onward is part of a new generation, according to the Pew Research Center.

Gen Z loves technology and are also selflearners. They know where to find reviews and seek out information before making a purchase. For this reason, your online reputation matters.

The millennial generation is the largest and most diverse generational cohort in history, and Gen Z is on track to surpass them. But do not make the mistake of lumping these two groups together: Gen Z: True digital natives that grew up in an “ always on� technological environment.

Millennials: technology-savvy but adapted as the internet evolved and cell phones became omnipresent.

Gen Z: Grew up in the peak of the Great Recession, and as a result value transparency and informed decisionmaking when it comes to price.

Millennials: Grew up in the 9/11 era and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and as a result have intense political views that are influenced by their individual experiences during this time.

Gen Z cares deeply about the environment and preserving the earth for future generations, even more than the millennials before them. By 2020, Gen Z will make up approximately 40 percent of all U.S. consumers.



COMPETITOR MAP Hotels Ritz-Carlton - Luxury & Opulence The Westin - Wellness Offerings Embassy Suites - Rooftop with AC Aloft - Technology Hyatt Regency - Luxury & Watersports The Modern - Instagrammable Rooftop Bars Sage Westin Art Scene Ringling Museum - Rotational Exhibitions Selby Gardens. Sarasota Museum of Art - Pop up space Art Center Sarasota The Artful Giraffe - Pottery & Paintings Sil’s Art From Within Studio Creative Cove Painting with a Twist - Wine & Painting 13







Interviews Conducted


Market Research Surveys

154 Unique Survey Responses


Hours of Observational Research

To discover and better understand the attitudes, behaviors, and existing perceptions of consumers across generations, we dived into primary research. 17



Perceptions of Luxury

Getting Involved in the Arts

Experiences makes Loyalty

Sharing is for Everyone

As members of the local retirement community, Baby Boomers in Sarasota enjoy being involved in local culture and art experiences. They might stick with what they know, but if presented with modern expression, they are often delighted.

Baby Boomers in Sarasota know what they want from new experiences, they have clear preferences based on past experiences. They might not spend much on drinks, but when they find a place they enjoy, they remain loyal.

They are into social shareability too. Baby Boomers in Sarasota are motivated to have new, unexpected experiences because of their desire to share with family and friends on social media.

We also conducted research around the perceptions and misconceptions around the word “luxury” to determine if it should be used as part of the marketing message for each demographic.

Baby Boomers seekout luxury, and are willing to pay slightly more for products and services they consider “luxury”, but with that they expect attention to detail, superb customer service, cleanliness, and having their needs anticipated.




Atmosphere Matters.

Expectations vs Reality.

What’s Offered Where?

It’s not a Culture Clash

Young Millennials know about Art Ovation, and love the idea of the rooftop as nightlife destination, but choose to go to other venues that provide a less formal atmosphere that denote more affordable food and drinks.

Young millennials love galleries and bars, but will chose entertainment venues with targeted activities, designed to align with their own interests, values, and purchasing preferences (they will pay, but only if the service and experience is worth it).

While aware of Art Ovation as a hotel, the value proposition for each outlet remains mystery.

A mixing of demographics is not the problem, unless the treatment varies across cohorts.

Perceptions of Luxury Millennials associate the word “luxury” directly with being expensive and high quality. A lot of white hair? Who cares.

Experience over Affluence.

The age of the patrons doesn’t matter to millennials as long as the service is equally as welcoming and the experiences offered are visible and accessible.

Value and excitement are key drivers over luxury and intimacy. Younger millennials, and gen z even more so, don’t front. They do not want to put on a mask or act unauthentically.

Turn it up! But not too loud.. Music was a driving factor for everyone, an art form valued by all, as long as there is a clear outlet for conversation as well.

Associations: High class. High price. High taste level. In Sarasota, younger Millennials and Gen Z often assume venues with “luxury” in the marketing message will not be welcoming to a younger crowd.




Synthesizing the data enabled us to establish a new perspective and understanding of the problem. Equipped with data and this new understanding, we identified five key opportunity areas for addressing our challenge: 23


Baby Boomers

Flagship Event (hype)

Targeted Events

With a population of 13,678, Baby Boomers living in Sarasota have the money, time, and interest. For this reason, we cannot alienate this segment and must design solutions with this in mind.

Our research shows that the large 21-35 year old millennial audience in Sarasota are hungry for social events that they can look forward to and plan on attending with friends. This presents an opportunity for Art Ovation to develop an iconic event that happens annually, monthly, or weekly and is designed for this audience.

Our research shows that there is not a onesize-fits-all event or experience that meets the needs of Art Ovation’s diverse audience. There is opportunity to develop targeted events that are designed and marketed based on what we have learned about each segment and their discovery, research, and purchasing patterns

A Note on Service Design: Throughout the research synthesis process one theme kept emerging: inconsistencies in service and interactions with younger guests. It was observed in each outlet at the hotel, it was heard during social listening sessions, and it was discussed in many of our customer interviews. This pattern led us to a powerful insight: younger guests, specifically in the 19 - 25 age range, are not attending the events because they do not feel like they belong at Art Ovation. “Some guests shared experiences about inconsistent service at the bar on the rooftop, as well as not being greeted properly at the front of the hotel by staff. It seems to vary depending on age.” - Simon Samuels, 22

The Overture Restaurant and Lobby Gallery

Service/Interaction Design

Our research has shown that the Overture Restaurant and Lobby Gallery are currently underused with slow traffic, which contributes to some of the misconceptions about the hotel. This presents an opportunity to develop concepts that activate the restaurant and gallery with experience, event, services, solutions that are “exactly like nothing else.”

Our research shows that service is a key element valued across customer segments and greatly impact the overall experience. One of our key research insights showed that many guests who are not staying at the hotel do not feel like they belong. They feel like an outsider and they do not see themselves or their values represented by the Art Ovation Brand. This give an opportunity for Art Ovation to be proactive versus reactive.

“Gen Z interview candidates agreed that it is too upscale, the environment feels too sterile and unwelcoming to “someone like them”, and prices were too high to feel at ease about making the same drink purchases they would elsewhere. Art Ovation feels like a special destination. Reserved for vacationers and those who want to spend more money than normal for an occasion, not a venue to frequent.” - Austin Ventola, 21 “As it stands, the environment is more of a “we will do whatever you ask” kinda vibe when the luxury expectation is more of a “allow me to serve you” vibe. Service in the lobby is non existent unless you actively seek it out by walking to the front desk or to the restaurant, leaving the lobby very barren.” - Daniel, 21 “If this demographic (gen z and young millennials) were to be pursued as a target for these specialized events, then the hotel would have to focus primarily on the atmosphere at the hotel in the sense that these type of people feel welcome.” - Chloe, 21 25


Creative Strategy and Campaign Concepts

With our research insights in hand and clearly defined areas of opportunity, we moved into the idea generation phase to develop solutions that address the challenge. As you will see in the following three presentations, the solutions are expressed through a creative strategy and a campaign to capture our market and capitalize on the opportunities. 27

Design Criteria for Creative Strategy and Campaigns

Students worked in teams and individually, and three ideas were selected for further development. The criteria for selection included:

• Must respond to at least 1 or more of the opportunity areas identified

• Include the “big idea” in a single concept statement for the campaign

• Must align with the client brief;

• Must include a media strategy with at least 1 experiential element and 1 event to include in hotel programming

• Must align with the values of the brand as expressed through the brand statement and pillars • Be designed with a clear customer segment(s) in mind • Have a clear strategy - what the creative ideas will achieve and why it matters


• Address (preliminary) the media/ marketing plan that will make this campaign a success (with clear messaging across channels, informed by the customer persona) • Include Campaign Objectives and KPI’s

Eat Your Art Out Overture Restaurant is bringing creativity to the dinner table, dishing out Instagramable moments that are exactly like nothing else.

Ovation for Nature (interactive) Provoking the senses through technology and interactive experiences, Ovation for Nature is celebrating the tranquil beauty of Sarasota.

Exposure (event) A campaign to shatter preconceived notions, inspire brand love, and bring together a youthful, engaged community around the Art Ovation brand.



Kyjahana Irizarry

Bridget Leavy

James Harris

Simone Samuels

Research Book Lead Research

Research Book Research Assistant

Research Book Lead Designer

Research Book Design Assistant

Lauren Breuer

Yousaf Ejaz

Chloe Morin

Daniel Salaverri

Austin Ventola

Miranda Williams







Ivy Xu

Jamy Gallman

Shelby Robinson

Ovation for Nature

Ovation for Nature

Eat Your Art Out

Contact Information Instructor:

Kathleen Sobr ksobr@c.ringling.edu

Research Leads:

Kyjahana Irizarry kirizar1@c.ringling.edu

Research Assistant: Bridget Leavy bleavy@c.ringling.edu Design Lead:

James Harris jharris4@c.ringling.edu

Design Assistant:

Simone Samuels msamuels@c.ringling.edu

Profile for RinglingBusiness

Art Ovation Research and Strategy Book  

Business of Art + Design Year 3 // Brand Strategy for Art Ovation Hotel, a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel // In the Spring of 2018, Ar...

Art Ovation Research and Strategy Book  

Business of Art + Design Year 3 // Brand Strategy for Art Ovation Hotel, a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel // In the Spring of 2018, Ar...