7-Eleven turns latest experiential store into ‘gaming palace’ Airbnb

Dive Brief:

  • Convenience store chain 7-Eleven will turn the Dallas location of its “luxury” 7-Eleven Evolution Store concept into a “gaming palace” before it opens to the public, per a press release. The store will be available for two one-night stays (Feb. 26 and Feb. 28) for $11 via Airbnb beginning on Feb. 1.
  • Along with access to a game pod featuring a PlayStation 5, guests will receive unlimited Slurpees and a one-hour Twitch streaming session with gamer FaZe Temperrr, founder of the gaming organization FaZe Clan. The experience will be virtually hosted by Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.
  • The retailer is tapping into the experiential hospitality trend that declined as the pandemic took hold last year. To address COVID-19 concerns, each night of the experience is limited to two guests from the same household and includes health screenings, personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer stations, a mask mandate and the participation of a certified compliance officer.

Dive Insight:

The tie-up with Airbnb gives 7-Eleven a way to bring together several marketing trends as the retailer attempts to market the opening of its latest 7-Eleven Evolution Store. By turning the never-before-shopped-in store into an Airbnb, the retailer can tap into the experiential hospitality trend that was utilized by brands including Taco Bell, Mattel and Oscar Meyer in 2019 before the pandemic curtailed in-person activations last year. With access limited to two groups of two housemates and a litany of COVID-19 precautions, 7-Eleven seeks to offer a handful of consumers a memorable experience that can drive awareness of the new store concept while avoiding the blowback associated with unsafe gatherings and travel during the pandemic.

The Dallas location is one of six 7-Eleven Evolution Stores in the U.S. that are designed for experiential testing so that customers can trial the brand’s latest innovations. 

Giving a gaming focus to the marketing around opening the newest experiential store in an attempt to engage the 79% of people in the U.S. aged 13 and up that identify as gamers, with the average consumer spending more than an hour a day gaming, per Twitch data provided to Marketing Dive. With a Twitch stream with the founder of FaZe Clan, 7-Eleven can reach the gaming influencer organization’s large audience on what is emerging as the de facto platform for gaming experiences. FaZe Clan previously has collaborated with brand partners including Burger King, Nissan and Wix. It is also an effort timed to continued interest in the new and highly hyped PlayStation 5.

“Everyone knows that the PlayStation 5 console launch has been one of the biggest headlines in the gaming world the past few months,” 7-Eleven Chief Marketing Officer Marissa Jarratt said in a statement. “The ultimate gamers’ console warranted an experience just as exclusive in our newest 7-Eleven Evolution Store — our ultimate retail environment.”

Giving fans access to a PlayStation 5 makes 7-Eleven the latest brand to market around Sony’s highly coveted new console and the resulting “console war” with the Xbox’s Series S and Series X devices. While Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Bud Light mocked buzzy console tech with November campaigns, KFC this month announced plans for an actual gaming system with a built-in “chicken chamber.”

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