Should Home Depot go on vacation with its customers?

Photo: The Home Depot
Nov 03, 2022

Home Depot is partnering with a short-term rental platform so that when people are on vacation at one particular location, they’ll see what a trip or two to the retailer can do for them when they get home.

Most everything, from the paint on the walls on down, at a new 4,000 square foot vacation rental home in Massachusetts is available for purchase from Home Depot, according to an article on People. The location, available to rent via Vrbo, was renovated by Home Depot using décor and furnishings from the home improvement chain in consultation with a number of popular home decorating influencers.

Home Depot is not the only retailer or brand trying to get its products out in front of vacationers. HomeGoods recently launched an initiative offering customers a chance to stay at a two-bedroom home for one of four weekends at $29.99 per night. Each weekend is slated to show off a different kind of unique décor that visitors can shop via the House of HomeGoods microsite. Visitors can also bring home some of their favorite products.

And RH recently opened up its own ultra-luxury hotel in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, according to Travel + Leisure. Rooms cost between $3,500 and $7,500.

Should Home Depot go on vacation with its customers?
Photo: The Home Depot

Not all attempts at integrating brands into hospitality experiences have succeeded. West Elm’s planned shoppable boutique hotels announced in 2016, for instance, never got off the ground.

Home Depot’s new brand-building experiment comes as the chain appears to be bouncing back from a 2021 dip, which followed a massive boom in business brought on by the pandemic.

Nationwide lockdowns beginning in March of 2020 led to a spike in DIY home improvement projects, boosting purchases at Home Depot and its major competitor Lowe’s. In 2021, however, Home Depot began running up against headwinds as fewer people initiated DIY home projects and the housing market softened.

The chain released its Q2 quarterly results for 2022 in August, and reported a 6.5 percent year-over-year sales increase. This represented the highest quarterly sales in the company’s history.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will customers staying at the Vrbo rental property make the connection to Home Depot and shop the retailer accordingly? How do you see retailers most effectively leveraging relationships with vacation rental platforms?

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"Integrating a retailer’s brands into hospitality experiences should be a low marketing priority and ought to carry low expectations."

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7 Comments on "Should Home Depot go on vacation with its customers?"

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Neil Saunders

This seems like a very niche initiative to me, but it is also an intimate one that is fairly innovative. It is possible that people staying at the rental will see something they like such as a light fixture or a paint color and will follow up with Home Depot once they are back from vacation. However overall this isn’t going to move the dial much for Home Depot so the retailer needs to keep pushing inspiration in other ways both in-store, online and via market opportunities with things like TV shows and magazines — all of which have much larger audiences.

Zel Bianco

Go to Home Depot while on vacation? There should not be a connection to Home Depot while on vacation. If West Elm’s attempt was not successful, I believe it would be a stretch to think Home Depot would have a different result.

Lucille DeHart

Well, this is a stretch, but I am a fan of immersive marketing. It will all depend on the individual consumer tastes!

Mohamed Amer, PhD

This is a creative approach to inspire vacationers to visit their Home Depot store and recreate some elements of their positive vacation experience. The reach of this marketing program is quite limited, and the time lag between the stimulus and the desired action is sufficiently long to raise doubt about purchase follow-through. Integrating a retailer’s brands into hospitality experiences should be a low marketing priority and ought to carry low expectations.

Gene Detroyer

This seems like a lot of work for Home Depot with very little return. How big can this audience be?

Craig Sundstrom

No, I don’t think they will; at least not without it being pointed out to them in a way that would quickly become annoying. Indeed — skeptical me talking here — given that Home Depot is mostly known for low prices more than quality, I’d be concerned they might make a negative connection (some broken or poorly maintained item being dismissed as “like something you get from Home Depot”).

So do I think this idea is a mistake? No, but I think it needs to be evaluated carefully.

Tony Walker

This is a clever idea from Home Depot, although the key to it working is not in how many vacationers see the inspirational rooms, but rather how it gets leveraged through their marketing & social media channels. This type of innovation will be great for new season styles, colours and ranges provided they can encourage enough short stay owners to refresh the decor regularly.

"Integrating a retailer’s brands into hospitality experiences should be a low marketing priority and ought to carry low expectations."

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