Uh Oh: Marriott Launches New Advertising Platform

Uh Oh: Marriott Launches New Advertising Platform

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Marriott, the world’s largest hotel group, has today announced the details of a new advertising platform that its launching. Let’s take a look at the details, and what the practical implications are for Marriott Bonvoy members and guests.

Marriott & Yahoo launch media network

Marriott Media Network is described as an “omnichannel cross-platform advertising solution for brand advertisers, enabling curated content experiences and offerings to guests throughout their travel journey.” For this endeavor, Marriott is exclusively collaborating with Yahoo.

The Marriott Media Network will initially offer brand advertisers exposure to travelers in the United States and Canada, with the goal of eventually expanding globally. This is intended to give advertisers access to more than 164 million Marriott Bonvoy members, plus other Marriott guests.

Marriott will be offering ad inventory spanning its owned channels, including display, mobile, video, email, and digital out-of-home (in-room television and digital screens) when fully deployed.

This new network is intended to offer brand advertisers “an unprecedented combination of scale and personalized media to an audience of in-demand, high-intent travelers.” Marriott is even claiming that this new advertising platform is good for consumers, arguing that it will create “a broader and more rewarding travel experience.”

As it’s described:

For travelers, tailored brand experiences will drive smarter purchase decisions and a more fulfilling travel experience. The Marriott Media Network will provide travelers with relevant products and services during their travel journey, including throughout their path of purchase, pre-arrival and during their stay. Marriott’s audience has intent, and travelers will be in the right mindset when receiving these offerings.

Expect new in-room ads at Marriotts

What are the implications of this development?

At the end of the day, for major hotel groups us guests and loyalty program members aren’t the customers, but rather we’re the product. The customers are the companies that they’re trying to sell on investing in a Marriott property, as well as the co-brand credit card partners (and that’s fair enough, as that’s how the business works).

Now you can take that a step further. While Marriott isn’t a media company, we’ll also increasingly be the product being sold to third-party advertisers. Frankly the hotel industry has historically had surprisingly little targeted advertising, despite offering access to a pretty desirable customer base.

Sure, hotel groups develop affiliate partnerships with complementary businesses, but that’s about it. What am I expecting here? If I had to guess:

  • We should expect third-party ads on marriott.com and the Marriott Bonvoy mobile app
  • I wouldn’t be surprised to see “Bonvoy TV” replaced with ads from Marriott’s partners (frankly that’s not a huge loss, if you ask me)
  • Expect more marketing emails with offers from partners, rather than just Marriott

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of companies seek out ads with Marriott. Presumably Marriott doesn’t want competitors advertising through these channels (I can’t imagine we’ll see Hilton ads), so perhaps it’ll be like the ads we used to see in inflight magazines (most airlines have eliminated those), like for plastic surgeons in Denver, lawyers in Scottsdale, and steakhouses in Kansas City.

Bottom line

Marriott is partnering with Yahoo to launch a new advertising platform, intended to better monetize the lucrative customer base that Marriott has access to. Expect ads on Marriott’s website, Marriott’s mobile app, and in Marriott marketing emails. Furthermore, expect new on-property ads, including on display screens in public areas, on televisions, and more. I’m curious to see just how prevalent this becomes…

What do you make of Marriott’s new partnership with Yahoo?

Conversations (27)
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  1. Dave M Guest

    Marriott would really impress me if they could actually confirm a suite night award upgrade more than 5 days before my stay. But alas they cannot / will not. Suggestion - less marketing, and better service. Titanium Elite Lifetime member.

  2. G.perri Guest

    I agree with all Marriott it has been very bad for all the way form customer service to hotel amenities plus they jack up the rates 35% more that pre pandemic times.bottom line is time look for another hotel chain that they will appreciate ur business.thats what happens ween u want to become the bigger.next step is fall.
    Platinum titanium life member

  3. Ryan Guest

    Would be awesome if Marriott gains money from this, as an ambassador and shareholder, I would let the tv run ads no stop during my stay if I meant Marriott gets more money to make improvements in areas I care about. Currently have never watched the tv in room except one morning on holiday vacation with girlfriend we watched two Christmas movies on netflix

  4. Eduardo Aviles Guest

    Marriott has become the sad company as far as treatment of it's Bonvoyed members.

  5. Jim Guest

    “omnichannel cross-platform advertising solution for brand advertisers, enabling curated content experiences and offerings to guests throughout their travel journey.”

    Was this written by a young new employee who just graduated from college?

    The only thing I want to be curated is a really good non hazy (west coast) IPA from a small local brewery on tap in the hotel bar for $6 a pint. $4 during happy hour and after 9pm.

    A little clue...

    “omnichannel cross-platform advertising solution for brand advertisers, enabling curated content experiences and offerings to guests throughout their travel journey.”

    Was this written by a young new employee who just graduated from college?

    The only thing I want to be curated is a really good non hazy (west coast) IPA from a small local brewery on tap in the hotel bar for $6 a pint. $4 during happy hour and after 9pm.

    A little clue from this Gen Xer.. I despise advertising and absolutely do not want my every move to be tracked like a sexual predator would a potential victim. This will permanently steer me away from Marriott.

    Besides, I never turn on the hotel room TV. There is nothing on but commercials, thoughtless aggressive people who have nothing real to say and reality shows.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Since you brought this quote up.
      “omnichannel cross-platform advertising solution for brand advertisers, enabling curated content experiences and offerings to guests throughout their travel journey.”

      If you cut out the all the "buzz words" you literally get "advertising for advertisers to guests",

      One of the reasons scammers thrive, people actually fall for this crap. Companies pay top money to agencies for this? Customers actually believe this?
      This whole quote is already telling...

      Since you brought this quote up.
      “omnichannel cross-platform advertising solution for brand advertisers, enabling curated content experiences and offerings to guests throughout their travel journey.”

      If you cut out the all the "buzz words" you literally get "advertising for advertisers to guests",

      One of the reasons scammers thrive, people actually fall for this crap. Companies pay top money to agencies for this? Customers actually believe this?
      This whole quote is already telling what everybody already knows.

      And a little tip to that Gen Xer.. Sadly, the generation that succeed you are trading privacy for convenience. They have money and willing to waste them. So the market is shifting towards them. And if you really value not being tracked, I suggest you avoid any smartphones, Alexa, and credit cards.

    2. Steven L. Guest

      > Sadly, the generation that succeed you are trading privacy for convenience. They have money and willing to waste them.

      Cute. Are you going to follow that up by saying that “they” could easily afford a house if they just cut back on the lattes and skipped the avocado toast? Some of “them” worked hard to crawl out of the smoking crater of an economy that the generation preceding the Gen Xer’s dropped in “their”...

      > Sadly, the generation that succeed you are trading privacy for convenience. They have money and willing to waste them.

      Cute. Are you going to follow that up by saying that “they” could easily afford a house if they just cut back on the lattes and skipped the avocado toast? Some of “them” worked hard to crawl out of the smoking crater of an economy that the generation preceding the Gen Xer’s dropped in “their” laps right in time for “their” graduation. You would also do well to remember who invested in the Bezoses and Zucks of the world in the first place; “they” still weren’t old enough to drive by the time Amazon IPO’d, much less during the preceding funding rounds.

  6. Jeff Guest

    I am not as worried as most on here. I am spammed FAR more often by other brands and who knows just maybe they will incentivize us to view ads on our TV or mobile (i.e., lower room costs, bonus bonvoy points, etc.). Marriott has treated me fairly and their brand standards are solid.

  7. DL Guest

    I think we'll actually see more and more of this as the ad industry moves to so-called "first-party data", away from third-party ad data aggregators. This is driven by privacy standards that started in Europe but are becoming commonplace in other places in the world. Companies that have large customer datasets (like Marriott or any travel provider, frankly) will be looking for ways to put it to better use. Is that good for the consumer?...

    I think we'll actually see more and more of this as the ad industry moves to so-called "first-party data", away from third-party ad data aggregators. This is driven by privacy standards that started in Europe but are becoming commonplace in other places in the world. Companies that have large customer datasets (like Marriott or any travel provider, frankly) will be looking for ways to put it to better use. Is that good for the consumer? I don't know about that. But it's something I expect to see Hilton, IHG, Delta and scores of others copy.

  8. Ron from FL Guest

    I'm done with the Marriott Brand. They have been very disappointing for the last few years.

  9. Chris Guest

    In which Cloud Cuckoo Land is this something guests/customers would actually want???

    1. LarryInNYC Gold

      As Ben makes clear in the article guests and customers are not the same thing. The hotel guests may not want this, but Marriot's customers do.

      Left unspoken in this article is that the same principle applies to this blog. The reason that the annoying, bandwidth consuming pop-up video that so many people complain about has never been addressed is that it serves the need's of the blog's real customers, who are the advertisers and...

      As Ben makes clear in the article guests and customers are not the same thing. The hotel guests may not want this, but Marriot's customers do.

      Left unspoken in this article is that the same principle applies to this blog. The reason that the annoying, bandwidth consuming pop-up video that so many people complain about has never been addressed is that it serves the need's of the blog's real customers, who are the advertisers and the credit card companies whose offers are advertised.

      Personally, I'm more than happy to play the role of "product" for the quality of material that I get for free but there's some degree of dissonance generated by seeing the "Yeah, Marriot sucks for selling our eyeballs to their corporate partners" response to this post.

    2. Steven L. Guest

      It’s pretty easy to install uBlock Origin to stop the pop-ups; what extension would I need to download to get my company’s travel department to switch away from Marriott?

  10. Eskimo Guest

    Nothing to worry about. This is just dinosaurs trying to do something with their budget to be 'savvy'.
    You will probably see some temporary changes and after a while it will disappear like another failed marketing campaign.

    Same reason that nobody watches "Bonvoy TV". It's only benefit is to help guest fall asleep.

  11. David Diamond

    Just when we think Bonvoy has hit rock bottom, Marriott always finds a way to surprise us with a lower bottom.

    1. Noa Guest

      Your website literally shows intrusive video ads even on mobile, so you shouldn't complain

    2. Noa Guest

      This was meant to be a top comment but the video ad made me misclick and make it a reply

  12. Nikojas Guest

    Advertising on yahoo / with yahoo seems like a brilliant idea if it were 2005! Since our data has
    a saleable value can we expect bigger members rate discounts? I won't hold my breath....

  13. DenB Diamond

    A hotel has always been a fertile source for advertising messages: local restaurants, tour operators, attractions, nightlife, shopping, transport. But I expect this re-invention will advertise products/services/subscriptions for sale far away or online. Personally I'd love a screen in my room showing me walkable restaurants with high scores from a credible review site. But Yahoo! and Marriott don't have the werewithal to organize something like that (how do they get the restaurants to pay?). So...

    A hotel has always been a fertile source for advertising messages: local restaurants, tour operators, attractions, nightlife, shopping, transport. But I expect this re-invention will advertise products/services/subscriptions for sale far away or online. Personally I'd love a screen in my room showing me walkable restaurants with high scores from a credible review site. But Yahoo! and Marriott don't have the werewithal to organize something like that (how do they get the restaurants to pay?). So we'll see luxury consumer goods sold everywhere, and online products/services/subscriptions we already know about.

    1. Sir Digby Chicken Caesar Guest

      There are review sites which are credible?!?

  14. Mike R Guest

    TIL: Yahoo still exists.

  15. Mark Guest

    Oh wonderful! Marriott is already the worst hotel chain when it comes to spamming it's customers with unwanted emails.

  16. Russ Member

    Finally, a way to monetize new art for the Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn and Residence Inns!!

  17. Steve Diamond

    Nothing worse than when Southwest airlines send me 9 emails about renting a car for my upcoming southwest trip, only a matter of time before hotels figured this out too and pushed ads on us after booking their properties.

  18. AM Guest

    Reading between the lines of the release "personalization" and thinking about where advertisers see the value in data - I think you should expect a creepy amount of data sharing and ad targeting. EG Marriott is almost certainly passing your email and phone number to Yahoo so they can run it against their massive ad databases and show you ads based on what you've clicked on recently. Assuming they do this, it also means Yahoo...

    Reading between the lines of the release "personalization" and thinking about where advertisers see the value in data - I think you should expect a creepy amount of data sharing and ad targeting. EG Marriott is almost certainly passing your email and phone number to Yahoo so they can run it against their massive ad databases and show you ads based on what you've clicked on recently. Assuming they do this, it also means Yahoo and their advertisers are going to know when and where you stayed with Marriott. Awesome

    1. AdamH Gold

      Yeah, this is the most interesting thing to me. How personalized would they be willing to go? There is so much more in personalization i think airlines/hotels/car rentals could do. United could know all the movies/TV I have watched and sync it back up for each flight I get on. Hotels could remember my Netflix password and make it just instantly work like I am watching a TV in my own home. Ad personalization would...

      Yeah, this is the most interesting thing to me. How personalized would they be willing to go? There is so much more in personalization i think airlines/hotels/car rentals could do. United could know all the movies/TV I have watched and sync it back up for each flight I get on. Hotels could remember my Netflix password and make it just instantly work like I am watching a TV in my own home. Ad personalization would be the next logical step, but I think they are a still a few years off here. I think this is more just a realization Marriott has 1M+ TV screens across all their properties and if you can even monetize a few of those by placing an ad when a customer walks in a room it can been a profit maker. I don't really see it very different than an in-flight magazine. They know they have a captive audience.

    2. Traveler123 Guest

      The nice thing is that it’s not linked to your specific name or email— on a basic level it’s just matching a ‘user ID’ (random number) that Yahoo has on you to another ‘user ID’ that Marriott has on you. This is something that almost every single advertiser already does when you transact with them online.

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The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Eskimo Guest

Nothing to worry about. This is just dinosaurs trying to do something with their budget to be 'savvy'. You will probably see some temporary changes and after a while it will disappear like another failed marketing campaign. Same reason that nobody watches "Bonvoy TV". It's only benefit is to help guest fall asleep.

2
David Diamond

Just when we think Bonvoy has hit rock bottom, Marriott always finds a way to surprise us with a lower bottom.

2
Ron from FL Guest

I'm done with the Marriott Brand. They have been very disappointing for the last few years.

1
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