And co-branding campaigns or marketing sponsors aren’t the only way Marriott’s creative media group generates returns.
As visitor profiles and Marriott’s content personalization improve, Marriott Traveler becomes a more effective funnel for direct bookings.
Travel media in general has become more performance-oriented. Condé Nast Traveler added mobile deep links to hotel and travel apps because affiliate links can be much more lucrative than ad revenue.
Affiliate marketing is one of Marriott’s fastest-growing channels, SVP of global marketing optimization Andy Kauffman told AdExchanger last year.
For instance, working with venues and ticket-based events on co-sponsored hotel deals has been a popular activation for Marriott’s owned media, Battaglia said.
If a partner is willing to pay to attract that traveler as well, the hotel can keep room prices low without eating into its profit margin.
By matching Marriott’s loyalty data to a partner’s first-party data, a joint booking campaign also starts with a well-honed seed audience.
Marriott could execute similar media plans if it, say, paired paid social with sponsored stories produced with a brand-name travel media company like Condé’s Traveler or Time Inc.’s Travel + Leisure.
But “owning our own content is paramount” to Marriott’s content and marketing plans, Battaglia said.
For one thing, as cookie data is increasingly restricted to publishers and not available to brands or their tech vendors, Marriott must own the media to continue collecting data on or targeting its loyalty program audience.
Creative production and data-driven marketing “really need to exist together hand-in-glove to be their most effective,” he said.