Traveling to a music festival is fun, but the quest to find nearby lodging? Not so much. For one sweepstakes winner, however, HomeAway, an online vacation rental marketplace, changed the game. During the first weekend of the Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park, this year Oct. 5-7 and Oct. 12-14, Austinite Zach Moses and five guests became the first attendees in the event’s 16-year history to sleep within the festival grounds, taking over Zilker Lodge for four nights. In addition to the accommodations, HomeAway, a fourth-year festival stage sponsor, offered VIP tickets and backstage access, while a host of brand partners provided festival “survival” supplies.
To transform Zilker Lodge, which is ordinarily occupied by local nonprofit Austin Sunshine Camps, into a unique vacation rental experience, HomeAway teamed up with both the festival property and online retailer Wayfair.com. Wayfair was tasked with outfitting the two-story lodge, combining elements of the venue that were already in place, like gaming tables and leather furniture, with custom sleeping spaces and stylish décor that matched its rustic vibe. Additional amenities included indoor corn hole, lounge areas and cable TV. (Bonus: Wayfair donated all of its furniture to Habitat for Humanity following the activation.)
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The revamped lodge was also brimming with goodies from a variety of partner brands. Like a pantry fully stocked with groceries from Texas-based H-E-B, canny packs—fanny packs equipped with a koozie—from Miller Lite, and a fridge loaded with Texas’s beloved mineral water, Topo Chico.
There was also a fully outfitted Moscow mule bar featuring items like upscale copper mugs and citrus squeezers provided by Tito’s Handmade Vodka, which Moses got to take home. The brand additionally provided him with a full-size Yeti cooler, and offered access to its hospitality suite on the festival grounds. Additional partner components included swag and a giant cooler of cold brew cans provided by Austin-based High Brew Coffee, and two acoustic guitars, courtesy of Tito’s and High Brew. Moses, who happens to play guitar, got to keep both instruments.
Outside of the converted lodge, Moses earned perks like VIP festival passes for him and all five guests, a pre-fest lunch provided by Chipotle and backstage access.
“We wanted to create a meshing of what HomeAway represents with the fun that we experience every year at Austin City Limits,” says Adam Annen, project manager at HomeAway. “We really wanted to get someone to experience sleeping inside Zilker Park during the festival. There are a lot of neighborhoods in and around the park that often sell out vacation rentals, so you can get very close, but we wanted to get you literally steps away from the festival gates.” Agency: In-house.