Shortlisted 2021

Travel and Tourism


Marriott Bonvoy International

Entered by:

Spark Foundry

Trigger the escape

The Challenge

Marriott Bonvoy launched as a loyalty brand in 2019. As a company, Marriott has a range of hotels in it’s portfolio including W hotels, The Ritz-Carlton and Sheraton, to name a few.  At the end of 2019, Marriott Bonvoy faced multiple challenges. Firstly, whilst the campaign launch in 2019 was successful, it focused on driving awareness of the brand name and little about what was behind it. People had little understanding of the range of brands that made up the portfolio. There was also a business challenge, people who booked Marriott Bonvoy hotels were still doing this primarily via OTAs (e.g Marriott needed to change this.

January was a key month in the travel planning calendar and an opportunity to capture a healthy travel market. The problem was, this wasn’t new to the industry, the seasonality was well known and competitor activity was high, a sea of holiday advertising occurred.  The challenge facing Marriott Bonvoy was complex, we needed to create stand out within the category and in a cluttered market to not only improve perceptions of the brand and hotel range, but also convince people to book direct with Marriott.

The Creative Solution

There are several triggers to planning and booking holidays. January/February travel planning surge had several triggers driving the behaviour. One of the key triggers for planning a holiday was weather; Cold, rain and snow made people seek escape. In January, people were not only seeking escape from the weather, they were seeking escape from the day to day reality of life. Monday mornings, the morning commute, the post-christmas finances.

Our strategy was to surround these triggers. Connecting within moments of escape and seducing with stunning brand experiences, showcasing extensive choice of brands, and delivering a best price guarantee.  We wanted to transport people away from the day to day moments when they seek escape and inspire them to book a trip with Marriott Bonvoy.

The Media/Content Amplification Solution

Our media strategy centred on surrounding and immersing our travellers at moments of escape. Utilising outdoor, audio, commuter press and social media we targeted key day parts and triggers across the week and January and winter period.  Running for 8-weeks in total across UK, Germany, France and Spain.

Launching on Blue Monday with Twitter and across all touch points we capitalised on the day when peak ‘escape’ was sought by our audience.

To create impact, we tailored our content with dynamic creative executed across all channels. Content was tailored to time of day, day of week and used weather triggers to create the greatest impact and cut-through with relevant creative.  Facebook and Instagram by definition are an escape medium. Facebook and Instagram was a core channel to deliver scale and reach across our key media markets, however there was already high level of competitor clutter on the platform. To make our creative stand out in this environment we delivered creative triggered using weather data. When the temperature plummetted we seduced our traveller audience with customised creative, a rainy window that when interacted with by the user cleared to show a seductive holiday scene.

Building on the base audience reach established with Social Media, Audio, Commuter Press and Outdoor were core channels to target our audience seeking escape from day to day life.  Working with Spotify activating across UK, Germany and France to target the morning commute and Friday night escape from the 9-5. Using tailored creative, we were able to customise our audio message to the ‘moment of escape’ creating a highly relevant creative to reach our target when they were in their escape mindset. Audience reach was further extended across audio with local radio media in UK and Germany.

Impact was established with the commuter audience with digital out of home, media ran during key commuter times and using dynamic technology creative was customised to the weather and time of day targeting key commuter routes across UK, Germany and France.

Further tactical activation was centred around Monday morning triggers with Twitter and local commuter press (physical and digital) to amplify and drive demand during key escape moments.

The Result

The campaign launched mid-January in line with Blue Monday, and ran for 8-weeks, however the effects of the pandemic began to appear in late February. The campaign was successful in achieving both media and business goals, despite the onset of the pandemic.

Brand tracking studies across Spotify and Facebook showed an uplift in brand awareness.

56million people were reached across 4 markets (UK, Germany, France and Spain).

Results from using dynamic creative showed customised creative to the escape moment delivered a 4times improvement in engagement in Social Media.  But it wasn’t just the media performance for this brand campaign that was strong. We saw a direct impact on results for our performance media campaigns. In fact, the performance media had a 260% uplift in ROI when audiences were exposed to both campaigns.

Despite the seasonal trends impacted by the beginning of covid, bookings for the hotel brands featured and promoted within the campaign had a 7% uplift in performance during the January/February period compared to 2019.

This campaign has been fundamental in helping to reshape and focus our approach in a post-pandemic world. We have been able to prove the value of brand media in supporting business goals, and enabled a reprioritisation of media, which sees more personalised and reactive media solutions to deliver relevant messages to the right audience at the right time.