On Monday, Hilton Hotels launched what it says is the first rewards program for playing a branded game in Roblox.
11:11 Media, Paris Hilton’s media company, is giving 111 players 111,111 points through the Hilton Honors loyalty program to put toward hotel stays. It is also distributing 11 diamond-tier membership statuses to bring the giveaway’s total to 12 million points.
Gamers and fans of Paris Hilton — a.k.a. Little Hiltons — can earn points by playing in Slivingland, Hilton’s Roblox world, drenched in her glitzy 2000s aesthetic that has offered brands such as Taco Bell in-game advertising space.
“Sliving” is Hilton’s portmanteau meaning slaying and killing it while living your best life.
Players can enter the giveaway by participating in a scavenger hunt for Hilton Hotels-branded items, exploring the experience, complete with a virtual hotel lobby and signing up for Hilton Honors. Using the campaign hashtag #HiltonForTheStay on social media will net players an additional entry.
Hilton Honors is also giving away 50,000 wearable items for Roblox avatars.
The rewards program is part of Hilton Hotels’ It Matters Where You Stay national campaign and its “Hilton. For the Stay” global brand platform, which launched in October with a commercial starring Paris Hilton.
Hilton Hotels worked with content studio Sawhorse to build the experience, creating wearables and recreating that same commercial using Roblox avatars — including Hilton’s, which it updated for the campaign with her guidance.
The commercial is running in-game as part of Roblox’s video ad offering.
Tying a rewards program directly to a branded gaming experience is a test for 11:11 Media, which is trying to see if it can take gaming beyond generating brand awareness.
“So many brands have been jumping into platforms like Roblox, Fortnite and Minecraft to do amazing activations but they’ve all been top-of-funnel brand awareness-marketing campaigns,” said Cynthia Miller, head of innovation at 11:11 Media. “For the first time, we’re starting to innovate to look at what happens if you future-proof your loyalty program and meet Gen Z where they are.”
While Hilton Hotels is the first brand to allow Roblox players to generate real-life loyalty reward points for gameplay, others have found different ways to tie their rewards programs to Roblox. In April 2022, Chipotle let its loyalty members exchange rewards points for a Roblox Gift Card.
Most brands struggle to tie sales and conversion to gaming, however, and instead rely on metrics such as player count, average session length or a more bespoke measurement tied to their game to track how players engage. Activision Blizzard is creating a tool to help brands measure attention, but 11:11 Media wanted an immediate return on its gaming work.
“What a win looks like for us is seeing if we’re able to drive conversion off-platform,” Miller said. “We’re going to track how many people claim content, visit and sign up to Hilton Hotels.”
11:11 Media will track conversion until the campaign runs its course at the end of February. Slivingland is age-gated for players 13 years old and up and is focused on driving sign-ups from players aged 18 to 24.
Roblox reported that 40 million daily active players were at least 13 years old in Q3 2023.
11:11 Media hasn’t dismissed engagement entirely, however, as it will also track audience feedback on Discord, TikTok, Instagram and X, formerly known as Twitter.
The idea to tie rewards to Roblox came to Miller when she found a startup called Flaunt that ties rewards to engagement in age-13-plus Roblox games.
“I remember coming across them a couple of months ago and thinking ‘This is game-changing. I don’t have a use case for this yet, but it will be amazing once I find the right brand,’” she said.
Once Hilton Hotels launched its commercial for Hilton Honors last fall, Miller and the brand decided it would be the right campaign to test Flaunt’s Roblox rewards pilot program, which launched around the same time, especially because Hilton has been so gung-ho about Roblox since launching Slivingland in August.
Miller sees the campaign as a precedent for CMOs who are looking for ways to extract more than brand awareness from gaming.
This story first appeared on PRWeek U.S.