In an era where people are booking more travel online, rather than calling up a hotel or airline, grabbing those digital wins is of the utmost importance. Hotel chains have recently become more aggressive with their marketing plans in order to compete with the travel-booking sites such as Expedia & Priceline that are selling the same rooms. In order to avoid paying out high commissions to online travel sites, hotels are hoping to take reservations into their own hands with more sophisticated advertising strategies.
Marriott International is the current eleventh top digital advertising spender in the travel category, spending $645K on average per month on display placements alone in 2017. Over the last thirty days, the brand invested nearly 70% of their digital budget into desktop/display ads. Download their full desktop advertising strategy in the new Brand of the Week report, and read on for highlights.
Highlighting specific cities, Marriott International placed over 1,400 unique creatives across an average of two hundred sites per day over the last month. From San Francisco, to Atlanta, to Maui, and many cities in between, creatives to invoke your sense of Wanderlust popped up on top sites including Kohl’s, CNN, and Reddit. Plays on messaging beginning with “The Minute Your/The” range from a couple’s getaway in New York City, to partying with friends in Austin. The creatives direct to the Marriott corporate site with the search query for that city or area already plugged in, making it that much easier for you to get to your next destination sooner.
While the campaign did feature generalized creatives sans a city or area, the majority of Marriott’s display creatives displayed a specific destination or hotel property.
This approach is similar to the creative strategy of top online travel-booking behemoth Priceline, Inc. which counts Agoda, Booking.com, KAYAK, and its namesake site under its umbrella. Dynamic HTML5 creatives are also used, featuring certain properties and locations directing potential customers to search query pages.
Audience Specific Creatives
Clearly the competition is on between hotel chains and online travel sites to fight for your wallet and attention. Going one step further, Marriott is also targeting specific audiences, such as the foodie scene, for those that may not be intrigued enough by a hot destination. The top site for Marriott International on desktop over the last thirty days was Food & Wine, raking in fifteen percent of the hotel chain’s budget.
In a campaign for the JW Marriott arm of their brand, an animated HTML5 creative shows a male chef playing with baby artichokes with the messaging, “Our secret ingredient? Chefs who love what they do.” The ads direct to this landing page detailing “The JW Treatment” (complete with videos) which includes professionally poised staff trained by the Joffrey Ballet for grace, chefs that love creating experiences with the “best local produce,” the most luxurious pampering, and a world champion chocolatier. If that’s not enough to lure in the jet-setting foodies, I’m not sure what is.
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