In this period of unprecedented hotel promotional activity, travelers have been on the receiving end of offers for points and miles and free nights and elite status and gift cards and more.
The latest "stay with me" incentive: tickets to Def Leppard or Snoop Dogg concerts.
Through August 31, members of Starwood's Preferred Guest program who register in advance will receive one ticket to a Live Nation concert for every qualifying stay at any of 890 Starwood hotels, up to a maximum of four tickets for four stays.
The proffered tickets are for "general admission/lawn" seating. In other words, these are the cheap seats. Also in the fine print: "Tickets are redeemable until October 31, 2009, or while supplies last." So there's a fairly narrow window of opportunity to use the freebies.
According to the Live Nation website, tickets for an August Def Leppard concert at the Ford Amphitheatre in Tampa are priced at $29.50. So the mathematically inclined can divide that by the cost of their Starwood stay to compute the rebate percentage represented by the ticket.
But that's probably not the point here. I doubt that Starwood expects this promotion to generate significant incremental traffic, or shift share away from Marriott, as the marketing wonks might say. Rather, this falls under the heading of surprise and delight.
The verdict: surprising and delightful.