After a nightmare year many travel brands would like to forget, the category is back on an upswing with ad spending. Marriott debuted “The Power of Travel,” its biggest global campaign ever today, as the hotel chain tries to take advantage of surging interest in travel. The brand is also testing new marketing channels to attract new customers to its properties.
Marriott debuts biggest global campaign yet as travel rebounds
A 30-second anthem spot shows a host of different activities and locations around the world. “We are not here on this planet to close our eyes to the world,” a woman’s voice says, as a male voice chimes in, “We are here to go out and experience its many wonders.”
"Travel has the power to shape our world," the spot continues, "make us whole again.”
In addition to the film, Marriott will feature two interactive out-of-home storefronts in Manhattan in collaboration with Pinterest. The company, which has 30 hotel brands, will also promote the campaign on TikTok, a first for Marriott. The hotel chain is also working on shoppable collaborations with Hulu and HBO Max, and will host “How to Travel Better,” an editorial series on its Marriott Bonvoy Traveler platform. Marriott first introduced Bonvoy in 2019 as a rebrand of its rewards program, despite criticism, the term has stuck.
A spokeswoman says the new “Power of Travel” push is Marriott’s largest investment in a single campaign—the last large-scale campaign was Bonvoy’s launch two years ago.
Like all travel brands, Marriott saw demand plummet during the pandemic. Total revenue was halved to $10.6 billion in 2020 from $21 billion in 2019, says Stephanie Linnartz, Marriott group president of consumer operations, technology and emerging businesses, calling 2020 “the most challenging year in our 93-year history.”
Yet as lockdowns lift and more consumers get vaccinated, Marriott says it is seeing signs of improvement.
“We’re encouraged by the increased global pace of recovery, with demand recovering rapidly in some of our largest markets,” says a spokeswoman, noting that changes vary on a regional basis. “We expect to see leisure demand strengthen further through the summer, in addition to business transient likely to accelerate in the fall as more businesses re-open.”
Marriott is not the only hotelier bumping up its ad spend. In May, there were 530 hotels advertising in the U.S., spending $11.3 million in total, a 94% increase in spend over May of last year, according to recent research from MediaRadar, which measures ad spend. MediaRadar is estimating that hotels will spend 21% more in June compared with May.
Marriott worked with 72andSunny, a relationship that began in early 2020, on the new campaign. The work was directed by Hoffman/Metoyer; Publicis’ Marriott One Media handled media duties. “Power of Travel” follows a December push from Marriott that was meant to inspire people who were locked down at home while dreaming of holiday travel.