Marriott turns online for branding campaign

Hotel chain Marriott International is to spend over a third of its marketing budget for 2006 on the internet in a bid to re-educate a younger generation of consumers about its brand.

The programme is also the first time the group has used online advertising and will include two major sponsorships with online publications.

Alongside traditional print and outdoor advertising, Marriott will target business travellers on Guardian Unlimited, and the Economist Online.

Sponsorship packages have been signed and the online edition of Conde Nast Traveller.

Marriott said it tailored each campaign to incorporate the house style of each publication.

Regional vice president brand marketing for UK, Ireland, Middle East and Africa, Osama Hirzalla, said: “We recognised that reaching the younger ‘Gen X’ business traveller needed a different communication approach from that for the older more established ‘Boomers’.

“We also recognised that we need to shift their perceptions of the Marriott Hotel brand which may not match their preferences currently.

“So the objective was to re-confirm Marriott’s powerful position as one of the leading business travel hotel companies, but also to challenge these outdated perceptions of the brand.”

The online marketing spend is 35% of Marriott’s total marketing budget for 2006, which will run in two waves, from March until May and September until November.

Marriott’s sudden and significant switch to online marketing comes the same week as the Advertising Association confirmed the online sector had topped £1 billion in expenditure for the first time during 2005.

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