The Art of Marketing Hotels: Marketing Strategy of Marriott International

Updated on: May 12, 2024
Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study
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My name is Aditya Shastri and I have written this case study with the help of my students from IIDE's online digital marketing courses in India.

Practical assignments, case studies & simulations from Business Review helped the students from this course present this analysis.

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As we all know, Marriott International has successfully been at the forefront of the hospitality industry for an extended time. The Marriott growth strategy has a bigger share in contributing to the success it has achieved over the years.

This case study focuses on the Marriott growth strategy, Marriott hotel case study, and its proven marketing strategy. So, let us start by first understanding Marriott International as a company.

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Marriott Growth Strategy: About Marriott International

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - About Marriott

Founded by 2 visionary founders, J. Willard Marriott and his wife Alice in 1927, as a single root beer stand in Washington, D.C., Marriott International stands tall as a leading luxury hotel chain with over 8,484 properties spread across 139 countries and territories.

It is one of the most reputed organizations in the hospitality industry and has 30 brands diversified as per convenience and comfort.

From luxury hotel chains like The Ritz-Carlton to the shiny Marriott Hotels and family-friendly stays like Courtyard by Marriott, Marriott International has something for all its visitors. 

Apart from this, the brand leaves no chance to embrace technology and contribute to sustainability in the environment. With the introduction of groundbreaking mobile apps, the company has really set the bar super high for its users and its competitors.

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - Brands

Brand Portfolio of Marriott International

 

Now that we have understood the company in brief, let us go through the customer profile of Marriott International by examining its target market.

What’s New with Marriott International

Check out some current news about Marriott International

  • ‘Marriott’ the world’s largest hotel chain plans to add over 100 new hotels in India by 2025.
  • Marriott International surpasses Q2 earnings and revenue estimates.
  • Marriott Hotels debuts in Coorg with a resort and spa that features 108 well-appointed, elegantly furnished villas and cottages, offering views of landscapes and hectares of plantations.

 

Marriott Growth Strategy: Target Market of Marriott International

A Target Market refers to a group of individuals identified as being likely customers of a business. The target market usually includes customers who share similar demographic traits. 

This is how Marriott International segments its target market:

Target Market of Marriott International
Brand Target Group
Marriott Courtyard Over-the-road travellers
Ritz-Carlton Hotels Luxury travellers
Marriott Conference Centers Corporates that conduct meetings
Marriott ExecuStay Targeted at people needing month-long accommodations
Marriott Vacation Clubs Travellers seeking to shop for timeshares

The JW Marriot, created by Marriott International as a luxury brand, is meant to focus on customers who are seeking a quiet and opulent atmosphere during their accommodation.

Marriott International has successfully built up different target markets within its industry by specifically targeting the requirements of its customers. 

Therefore their customers are mostly individualistic, sophisticated, and self-defined travellers who are willing to spend extra money on their accommodations as well as people travelling on a business trip. 

Read the following buyer’s persona to understand the target customers of Marriott International:

Buyer’s Persona

Name:

Anand

Place:

Mumbai

Age:

45 years

Profession:

Businessman

Motivation

  • Luxurious, comfortable travel.
  • Top-notch amenities, and personalized service.
  • Convenient business trips.
  • Quality relaxation and leisure.
  • Loyalty rewards appreciation.

Interest & Hobbies

  • Gourmet dining, fine wines.
  • Golf or wellness interests.
  • Art, culture, events.
  • Networking at conferences.
  • Family leisure travel.

Pain Points

  • Balancing business and personal time.
  • Consistent, reliable accommodations.
  • Service and amenity standards.
  • Privacy, and security concerns.
  • Managing travel expenses.

Social Media Presence

  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Now, let us study more about the company by going through Marriott’s 4Ps of the marketing mix in the next section.

Marriott Growth Strategy: Marketing Mix of Marriott International

The marketing mix is commonly used to describe the set of techniques a company uses to get its message to the target market. Even more, a marketing mix can also be used to understand what a business is doing from a marketing perspective. It includes 4Ps that cover a company on the parameters of Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. 

So this is how Marriott’s marketing mix pans out:

Product Strategy of Marriott International

Marriott is one of the foremost recognized luxury hotel chains. The unique product marketing strategy of Marriott International is centered around luxury travellers. 

For Marriott, the core product in its marketing mix is within the sort of hospitality services. Their product strategy covers everything that goes into running the hotels. They have over 30 brands that include popular hotels like Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton, Renaissance, and many others. 

The company has categorized its brands under the following tags: Luxury, Premium, Select, and Longer Stays. This helps customers to choose hotels based on their travel plans and convenience. 

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - Marketing Mix - Product Strategy

Marriott International strives to deliver exceptional guest experiences that are consistent across all of its branded hotels and resorts in all locations and on all channels. It also works extensively on launching new brands based on different themes that cater to new and existing customers.

Price Strategy of Marriott International

Marriott International is one of the few organizations that has been successful in maintaining pricing power despite significant competitive price discounting, volume shrinkage, and increased room supply.

In terms of pricing, Marriott International’s price varies with different hotels, customers, and locations. The prime motive of the company is to deliver a top-notch experience that exceeds customer satisfaction for the price they pay.

It has largely succeeded because the different hotel brands have been able to maintain differentiated value propositions in terms of their brand promise and brand appeal.

Place Strategy of Marriott International

Marriott International is well-known and is one of the biggest hotel chain companies in the world regarding the number of hotels they manage and operate both in different parts of the world and in the United States.

Choosing the ideal place and distribution strategy has played a vital role for Marriott in its journey over the years. Since its foundation, it has established itself in more than 131 countries and the placements of its hotels are mainly centered in and around major cities and towns of a country.

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - Marketing Mix - Place Strategy

Presence of Marriott International

Promotion Strategy of Mariott International

Marriott International has been in the hospitality industry for almost a decade now and the name “Marriott” speaks for itself. It is one of the positive beneficiaries of “word of mouth” promotion.

Apart from that, Marriott primarily focuses on promoting itself and its brands through digital marketing strategy of Marriot International. 

  • It has a very well-designed website that showcases all of its brands in a detailed manner which entices users to book the room immediately. 
  • It has also worked on Generated Content strategy and also has been collaborating with various influencers.
  • It also has a customer loyalty program called Bonvoy, which provides its customers with a variety of benefits.

Now that we have an understanding of the marketing mix of the hospitality giant, let us go through the marketing strategy of Marriott International in the coming section.

Marriott Growth Strategy: Marketing Strategy of Marriott International

In recent years, the marketing strategy of Marriott International has revolved from offline to online. It has shifted its focus to market itself more digitally than using the traditional marketing approach.

As rightly put by Arne Sorensen, President of Marriott International, on his blog, “What social media is allowing us to do is not draw attention to ourselves, but to see our guests in their own spotlight”. 

So let us understand the marketing strategy of Marriott International and the campaigns it has implemented to provide an overall better customer connection and service.

Points Considered by Marriott International to Build Its Strategy

Marriott growth strategy is churned out based on the following points: 

(a) Brand differentiation and positioning: Marriott markets itself as a brand that provides affordable services to its users with impeccable benefits with a touch of luxury and comfort. The company focuses on quality, service and innovation.

With a wide product portfolio, the brand marks itself out of the clutter by providing budget-friendly stays to luxury hotels to cater to unique needs of the travelers.

(b) Brand’s USP: Unlike other hotel chains, Marriott takes efforts in forming positive customer relations by going beyond providing comfortable stays. The brand runs unique activities for its users like Marriott’s Points Advance program, PointSavers program, loyalty programs, dining out points and so on. 

These unique activities persuades users to engage with the brand and enjoy discounts and offers while booking their stays while traveling.

© Strategic customer segmentation: The brand has made different customer groups based on the customer’s budget, preferences and their requirements. 

With this, Marriott International creates targeted marketing campaigns and messages relevant to each of its segments.

(d) Omni-channel marketing: The brand has an evolving marketing strategy where it uses multiple marketing channels to promote and market its properties. This way, they leave no chance in tapping different segments of the market who would like to include Marriott’s properties to their travel itinerary.

 

Marriott International’s M Live

Marriott International’s M Live has been shaping the future of the hospitality industry with its communities in Marriott Hotels. 

M Live is a platform, wherein the M Live team tracks a variety of topics that are popular worldwide and organizes its content around these topics. Furthermore, It also targets people on an individual level. 

For example, recently a traveler tweeted a question about hotels in Nashville, USA, and received relevant suggestions from M Live. Not only did the M Live team suggest hotels, but it also gave out relevant content regarding how Nashville’s nightlife enhances the traveling experience even better. 

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - M Live Studios

Marriott International’s M Live Studios

Marriott Growth Strategy: Digital Marketing Strategy of Marriott International

The innovative marketing strategy of Marriott International is considered one of its core strengths. Here is how Digital marketing is integrated for the effective marketing strategy of Marriott:

Social Media Marketing Strategy of Marriott International:

Marriott invests a lot of money in social media marketing to engage younger travelers. Marriott recently ran a campaign to promote the new hotels with 27 TikTok influencers. Additionally, Marriott is active on Twitch, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

M Live is an additional cutting-edge social media marketing strategy that Marriott employs to interact with visitors. The Marriott social media team keeps a close eye on the reviews visitors submit while there and surprises them with goodies. It supports the hotel’s positive social media e-WOM generation.

Marriott App marketing:

To learn how to engage guests in a unique way and set its app apart from the competition, Marriott studied other creative sectors. So, as to keep attracting their audience.

Influencer marketing:

Marriott engages influencers on social media to market their brand to Millennial consumers. For example, Marriott collaborated with Snapchat influencers to create Snapisodes showcasing Marriott’s newest high-end properties.

Detailed Online Presence: 

If we look closely, Marriott’ website is an epicenter of its exotic properties with all the necessary details required for users to book their stays. It has a seamless booking facility empowering travelers to book their stays in advance.  

Strategic Content Marketing

The brand understands the power of social media and to harness its potential, Marriott uses a unique storytelling format to captivate its target audience attention and drive engagement. With its unique “Marriott Bonvoy Program”, the brand featured stories of real travelers that inspired its target group to consider new destinations and experiences

 

Marriott Growth Strategy: Marketing & Advertising Campaigns of Marriott International

The marketing campaign of Marriott revolves around showcasing the comfort, care, and richness of Marriott’s luxurious hotel chain. The advertisements focus on the hotel chain’s luxurious room and hospitality services, as well as a relaxed atmosphere.

With memorable marketing campaigns that have drawn people’s attention towards the company, This marketing strategy of Marriot International has so far succeeded in impacting its viewers positively and thus resulting in constant customer engagement growth.

 #GoldenRule

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - Marketing Campaign - Golden Rule

Marriott International has launched a campaign named “Golden Rule”, a category branding campaign that features four of its brands — Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Four Points by Sheraton, and SpringHill Suites — together for the primary time.

The idea behind the Golden Rule campaign is to showcase Marriott’s collective strength that stems from its “classic select” brands, which together comprise a third of its 30-brand portfolio. It showcases a connection between the four brands and how the service is rooted in human connections.

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - Marketing Campaign - Golden Rule

Marriott has made several commercials for this campaign which included  60-second and 30-second commercials. This campaign launched back in 2017 and is one of the most well-appreciated campaigns for Marriott.

Marriott Bonvoy

Bonvoy – It is Marriott International’s worldwide campaign that promotes its travel program with the tagline “Rewards Reimagined”. 

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - Marketing Campaign - Bonvoy

Bonvoy is a new loyalty program that gives its customers a variety of benefits, such as one-time bonuses and discounts. It also allows customers to earn points that can be further redeemed. It also provides members access to a lot of sporting and entertainment events as well.

It has released Bonvoy App on both Android and iOS to enhance the experience of loyal customers.

 The “Here” Anthem 

Marriot recently launched a campaign that builds on Marriott Bonvoy’s global tagline “Where Can We Take You”, They also added “Here” as an expression for revealing the authentic, moments that are loved and missed by travellers. The breathtaking ad film was shot across Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, and New Zealand. The ad film is authentic and fast-paced – celebrates the power of travel.

It has also released various ad campaigns globally highlighting the benefits that Bonvoy membership offers. In India, it partnered with Mumbai Indians as loyalty partners and thus promoted Bonvoy during Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020.

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - Marketing Campaign - Bonvoy - Mumbai Indians

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - Marketing Campaign - Bonvoy - Mumbai Indians

These were the popular campaigns of Marriott International that it has incorporated to promote itself and maintain its presence in the minds of the customers and were an integral part of the marketing strategy of Marriott International.

Top 5 Competitors of Marriott International

These companies compete with Marriott in terms of brand recognition, quality of hotels, and customer service. They also offer a variety of different brands to appeal to different types of travelers. Hence the Marketing strategy of Marriott International needs to be well-strategized to beat this competition.

Here is a brief overview of each of these competitors:

  • Hilton Worldwide Hotel: Hilton Worldwide is the largest hotel chain in the world, with over 6,800 hotels in 118 countries. It is known for its high-quality hotels and its loyal customer base.
  • Hyatt Hotels Corporation hotel: Hyatt Hotels Corporation is a luxury hotel chain with over 700 hotels in 60 countries. It is known for its innovative guest experiences and its commitment to sustainability.
  • Accor Hotel: Accor is a French hotel company with over 5,000 hotels in 110 countries. It is known for its diverse portfolio of brands, which includes luxury hotels, midscale hotels, and economy hotels.
  • InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG): InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is a British hotel company with over 5,700 hotels in 100 countries. It is known for its global reach and its portfolio of award-winning brands, such as InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, and Holiday Inn.
  • Wyndham Hotels & Resorts hotel: Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is an American hotel company with over 9,000 hotels in 80 countries. It is known for its value-oriented brands, such as Days Inn, Ramada, and Super 8.

Before Concluding let us talk about the campaigns that did not work well for Marriott International.

Example of a Marriott’s Failed Campaign

Marriott bonvoy rebranding

What was the issue?

In February 2019, Marriott International announced that it would be rebranding its loyalty program from Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) to Marriott Bonvoy. The new name and logo were intended to simplify the program and make it more appealing to consumers.

The rebranding was met with mixed reviews. Some people found the new name to be too generic, while others simply didn’t like the new logo. The rebranding also caused some confusion among Marriott’s existing customers.

In addition to the name and logo, Marriott also made some changes to the benefits of the loyalty program. These changes were also met with some criticism.

Overall, the Marriott Bonvoy rebranding was not a complete success. However, Marriott has since made some changes to the program in order to address some of the concerns that were raised. 

What backlash did the brand face?

The name “Bonvoy” was not well-received by some people. It was criticized for being too generic and for not being memorable.

The logo was also met with mixed reviews. Some people found it to be too busy and difficult to read.

The rebranding caused some confusion among Marriott’s existing customers. They were not sure what the new name and logo meant, and they were concerned that they would lose their points or status.

What did the brand do in this situation? 

Marriott issued a statement apologizing for any confusion or inconvenience that the rebranding may have caused. The statement said that the company was committed to making the new program the best it could be and that it was listening to the feedback of its members.

Marriott simplified the name and logo of the program in response to criticism. The new name, “Marriott Bonvoy,” was chosen because it was thought to be more memorable and to reflect the company’s commitment to connecting people through travel. The new logo was also simplified and made more modern.

Marriott made it easier for members to earn elite status and free nights in response to criticism that the new requirements were too difficult to achieve. The company increased the number of points that members could earn for stays and activities, and it also made it easier to transfer points between programs.

Marriott launched a marketing campaign to promote the new program and to address the concerns that had been raised. The campaign featured testimonials from satisfied members, and it highlighted the benefits of the new program.

With this, our case study comes to an end, Let us summarize our understanding of the marketing strategy of Marriott International.

About Marriott International

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - About Marriott

Marriott International, Inc. is an American international hospitality company that operates a broad portfolio of hotels and related lodging facilities.

Founded by J. Willard Marriott, the company was established back in 1927 and is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

Talking about its presence, Marriott International has established itself across 131 countries with 7,000+ properties that offer around 1.4 million guest rooms. 

It is one of the most reputed organizations in the hospitality industry and has 30 brands diversified as per convenience and comfort.

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - Brands

Brand Portfolio of Marriott International

Marriott International is a public company, traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange in the United States.

Now that we have understood the company in brief, let us go through the customer profile of Marriott International by examining its target market.

What’s New with Marriott International

Check out some current news about Marriott International

  • ‘Marriott’ the world’s largest hotel chain plans to add over 100 new hotels in India by 2025.
  • Marriott International surpasses Q2 earnings and revenue estimates.
  • Marriott Hotels debuts in Coorg with a resort and spa that features 108 well-appointed, elegantly furnished villas and cottages, offering views of landscapes and hectares of plantations.

Target Market of Marriott International

A Target Market refers to a group of individuals identified as being likely customers of a business. The target market usually includes customers who share similar demographic traits. 

This is how Mariott International segments its target market:

Target Market of Marriott International
Brand Target Group
Marriott Courtyard Over-the-road travellers
Ritz-Carlton Hotels Luxury travellers
Marriott Conference Centers Corporates that conduct meetings
Marriott ExecuStay Targeted at people needing month-long accommodations
Marriott Vacation Clubs Travellers seeking to shop for timeshares

The JW Marriot, created by Marriott International as a luxury brand, is meant to focus on customers who are seeking a quiet and opulent atmosphere during their accommodation.

Marriott International has successfully built up different target markets within its industry by specifically targeting the requirements of its customers. 

Therefore their customers are mostly individualistic, sophisticated, and self-defined travellers who are willing to spend extra money on their accommodations as well as people travelling on a business trip. 

Read the following buyer’s persona to understand the target customers of Marriott International:

Buyer’s Persona

Name:

Anand

Place:

Mumbai

Age:

45 years

Profession:

Businessman

Motivation

  • Luxurious, comfortable travel.
  • Top-notch amenities, and personalized service.
  • Convenient business trips.
  • Quality relaxation and leisure.
  • Loyalty rewards appreciation.

Interest & Hobbies

  • Gourmet dining, fine wines.
  • Golf or wellness interests.
  • Art, culture, events.
  • Networking at conferences.
  • Family leisure travel.

Pain Points

  • Balancing business and personal time.
  • Consistent, reliable accommodations.
  • Service and amenity standards.
  • Privacy, and security concerns.
  • Managing travel expenses.

Social Media Presence

  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Now, let us study more about the company by going through Marriott’s 4Ps of the marketing mix in the next section.

Marketing Mix of Marriott International

The marketing mix is commonly used to describe the set of techniques a company uses to get its message to the target market. Even more, a marketing mix can also be used to understand what a business is doing from a marketing perspective. It includes 4Ps that cover a company on the parameters of Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. 

So this is how Marriott’s marketing mix pans out:

Product Strategy of Marriott International

Marriott is one of the foremost recognized luxury hotel chains. The unique product marketing strategy of Marriott International is centered around luxury travellers. 

For Marriott, the core product in its marketing mix is within the sort of hospitality services. Their product strategy covers everything that goes into running the hotels. They have over 30 brands that include popular hotels like Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton, Renaissance, and many others. 

The company has categorized its brands under the following tags: Luxury, Premium, Select, and Longer Stays. This helps customers to choose hotels based on their travel plans and convenience. 

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - Marketing Mix - Product Strategy

Marriott International strives to deliver exceptional guest experiences that are consistent across all of its branded hotels and resorts in all locations and on all channels. It also works extensively on launching new brands based on different themes that cater to new and existing customers.

Price Strategy of Marriott International

Marriott International is one of the few organizations that has been successful in maintaining pricing power despite significant competitive price discounting, volume shrinkage, and increased room supply.

In terms of pricing, Marriott International’s price varies with different hotels, customers, and locations. The prime motive of the company is to deliver a top-notch experience that exceeds customer satisfaction for the price they pay.

It has largely succeeded because the different hotel brands have been able to maintain differentiated value propositions in terms of their brand promise and brand appeal.

Place Strategy of Marriott International

Marriott International is well-known and is one of the biggest hotel chain companies in the world regarding the number of hotels they manage and operate both in different parts of the world and in the United States.

Choosing the ideal place and distribution strategy has played a vital role for Marriott in its journey over the years. Since its foundation, it has established itself in more than 131 countries and the placements of its hotels are mainly centered in and around major cities and towns of a country.

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - Marketing Mix - Place Strategy

Presence of Marriott International

Promotion Strategy of Mariott International

Marriott International has been in the hospitality industry for almost a decade now and the name “Marriott” speaks for itself. It is one of the positive beneficiaries of “word of mouth” promotion.

Apart from that, Marriott primarily focuses on promoting itself and its brands through digital marketing strategy of Marriot International. 

  • It has a very well-designed website that showcases all of its brands in a detailed manner which entices users to book the room immediately. 
  • It has also worked on Generated Content strategy and also has been collaborating with various influencers.
  • It also has a customer loyalty program called Bonvoy, which provides its customers with a variety of benefits.

Now that we have an understanding of the marketing mix of the hospitality giant, let us go through the marketing strategy of Marriott International in the coming section.

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International

In recent years, the marketing strategy of Marriott International has revolved from offline to online. It has shifted its focus to market itself more digitally than using the traditional marketing approach.

As rightly put by Arne Sorensen, President of Marriott International, on his blog, “What social media is allowing us to do is not draw attention to ourselves, but to see our guests in their own spotlight”. 

So let us understand the marketing strategy of Marriott International and the campaigns it has implemented to provide an overall better customer connection and service.

Marriott International’s M Live

Marriott International’s M Live has been shaping the future of the hospitality industry with its communities in Marriott Hotels. 

M Live is a platform, wherein the M Live team tracks a variety of topics that are popular worldwide and organizes its content around these topics. Furthermore, It also targets people on an individual level. 

For example, recently a traveler tweeted a question about hotels in Nashville, USA, and received relevant suggestions from M Live. Not only did the M Live team suggest hotels, but it also gave out relevant content regarding how Nashville’s nightlife enhances the traveling experience even better. 

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - M Live Studios

Marriott International’s M Live Studios

Digital Marketing Strategy of Marriott International

The innovative marketing strategy of Marriott International is considered one of its core strengths. Here is how Digital marketing is integrated for the effective marketing strategy of Marriott:

Social Media Marketing Strategy of Marriott International:

Marriott invests a lot of money in social media marketing to engage younger travelers. Marriott recently ran a campaign to promote the new hotels with 27 TikTok influencers. Additionally, Marriott is active on Twitch, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

M Live is an additional cutting-edge social media marketing strategy that Marriott employs to interact with visitors. The Marriott social media team keeps a close eye on the reviews visitors submit while there and surprises them with goodies. It supports the hotel’s positive social media e-WOM generation.

Marriott App marketing:

To learn how to engage guests in a unique way and set its app apart from the competition, Marriott studied other creative sectors. So, as to keep attracting their audience.

Influencer marketing:

Marriott engages influencers on social media to market their brand to Millennial consumers. For example, Marriott collaborated with Snapchat influencers to create Snapisodes showcasing Marriott’s newest high-end properties.

Marketing & Advertising Campaigns of Marriott International

The marketing campaign of Marriott revolves around showcasing the comfort, care, and richness of Marriott’s luxurious hotel chain. The advertisements focus on the hotel chain’s luxurious room and hospitality services, as well as a relaxed atmosphere.

With memorable marketing campaigns that have drawn people’s attention towards the company, This marketing strategy of Marriot International has so far succeeded in impacting its viewers positively and thus resulting in constant customer engagement growth.

 #GoldenRule

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - Marketing Campaign - Golden Rule

Marriott International has launched a campaign named “Golden Rule”, a category branding campaign that features four of its brands — Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Four Points by Sheraton, and SpringHill Suites — together for the primary time.

The idea behind the Golden Rule campaign is to showcase Marriott’s collective strength that stems from its “classic select” brands, which together comprise a third of its 30-brand portfolio. It showcases a connection between the four brands and how the service is rooted in human connections.

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - Marketing Campaign - Golden Rule

Marriott has made several commercials for this campaign which included  60-second and 30-second commercials. This campaign launched back in 2017 and is one of the most well-appreciated campaigns for Marriott.

Marriott Bonvoy

Bonvoy – It is Marriott International’s worldwide campaign that promotes its travel program with the tagline “Rewards Reimagined”. 

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - Marketing Campaign - Bonvoy

Bonvoy is a new loyalty program that gives its customers a variety of benefits, such as one-time bonuses and discounts. It also allows customers to earn points that can be further redeemed. It also provides members access to a lot of sporting and entertainment events as well.

It has released Bonvoy App on both Android and iOS to enhance the experience of loyal customers.

 The “Here” Anthem 

Marriot recently launched a campaign that builds on Marriott Bonvoy’s global tagline “Where Can We Take You”, They also added “Here” as an expression for revealing the authentic, moments that are loved and missed by travellers. The breathtaking ad film was shot across Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, and New Zealand. The ad film is authentic and fast-paced – celebrates the power of travel.

It has also released various ad campaigns globally highlighting the benefits that Bonvoy membership offers. In India, it partnered with Mumbai Indians as loyalty partners and thus promoted Bonvoy during Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020.

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - Marketing Campaign - Bonvoy - Mumbai Indians

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - Marketing Campaign - Bonvoy - Mumbai Indians

These were the popular campaigns of Marriott International that it has incorporated to promote itself and maintain its presence in the minds of the customers and were an integral part of the marketing strategy of Marriott International.

Top 5 Competitors of Marriott International

These companies compete with Marriott in terms of brand recognition, quality of hotels, and customer service. They also offer a variety of different brands to appeal to different types of travelers. Hence the Marketing strategy of Marriott International needs to be well-strategized to beat this competition.

Here is a brief overview of each of these competitors:

  • Hilton Worldwide Hotel: Hilton Worldwide is the largest hotel chain in the world, with over 6,800 hotels in 118 countries. It is known for its high-quality hotels and its loyal customer base.
  • Hyatt Hotels Corporation hotel: Hyatt Hotels Corporation is a luxury hotel chain with over 700 hotels in 60 countries. It is known for its innovative guest experiences and its commitment to sustainability.
  • Accor Hotel: Accor is a French hotel company with over 5,000 hotels in 110 countries. It is known for its diverse portfolio of brands, which includes luxury hotels, midscale hotels, and economy hotels.
  • InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG): InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is a British hotel company with over 5,700 hotels in 100 countries. It is known for its global reach and its portfolio of award-winning brands, such as InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, and Holiday Inn.
  • Wyndham Hotels & Resorts hotel: Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is an American hotel company with over 9,000 hotels in 80 countries. It is known for its value-oriented brands, such as Days Inn, Ramada, and Super 8.

Before Concluding let us talk about the campaigns that did not work well for Marriott International.

Example of a Marriott’s Failed Campaign

Marriott bonvoy rebranding

What was the issue?

In February 2019, Marriott International announced that it would be rebranding its loyalty program from Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) to Marriott Bonvoy. The new name and logo were intended to simplify the program and make it more appealing to consumers.

The rebranding was met with mixed reviews. Some people found the new name to be too generic, while others simply didn’t like the new logo. The rebranding also caused some confusion among Marriott’s existing customers.

In addition to the name and logo, Marriott also made some changes to the benefits of the loyalty program. These changes were also met with some criticism.

Overall, the Marriott Bonvoy rebranding was not a complete success. However, Marriott has since made some changes to the program in order to address some of the concerns that were raised. 

What backlash did the brand face?

The name “Bonvoy” was not well-received by some people. It was criticized for being too generic and for not being memorable.

The logo was also met with mixed reviews. Some people found it to be too busy and difficult to read.

The rebranding caused some confusion among Marriott’s existing customers. They were not sure what the new name and logo meant, and they were concerned that they would lose their points or status.

What did the brand do in this situation? 

Marriott issued a statement apologizing for any confusion or inconvenience that the rebranding may have caused. The statement said that the company was committed to making the new program the best it could be and that it was listening to the feedback of its members.

Marriott simplified the name and logo of the program in response to criticism. The new name, “Marriott Bonvoy,” was chosen because it was thought to be more memorable and to reflect the company’s commitment to connecting people through travel. The new logo was also simplified and made more modern.

Marriott made it easier for members to earn elite status and free nights in response to criticism that the new requirements were too difficult to achieve. The company increased the number of points that members could earn for stays and activities, and it also made it easier to transfer points between programs.

Marriott launched a marketing campaign to promote the new program and to address the concerns that had been raised. The campaign featured testimonials from satisfied members, and it highlighted the benefits of the new program.

With this, our case study comes to an end, Let us summarize our understanding of the marketing strategy of Marriott International.

About Marriott International

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - About Marriott

Marriott International, Inc. is an American international hospitality company that operates a broad portfolio of hotels and related lodging facilities.

Founded by J. Willard Marriott, the company was established back in 1927 and is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

Talking about its presence, Marriott International has established itself across 131 countries with 7,000+ properties that offer around 1.4 million guest rooms. 

It is one of the most reputed organizations in the hospitality industry and has 30 brands diversified as per convenience and comfort.

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - Brands

Brand Portfolio of Marriott International

Marriott International is a public company, traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange in the United States.

Now that we have understood the company in brief, let us go through the customer profile of Marriott International by examining its target market.

What’s New with Marriott International

Check out some current news about Marriott International

  • ‘Marriott’ the world’s largest hotel chain plans to add over 100 new hotels in India by 2025.
  • Marriott International surpasses Q2 earnings and revenue estimates.
  • Marriott Hotels debuts in Coorg with a resort and spa that features 108 well-appointed, elegantly furnished villas and cottages, offering views of landscapes and hectares of plantations.

Target Market of Marriott International

A Target Market refers to a group of individuals identified as being likely customers of a business. The target market usually includes customers who share similar demographic traits. 

This is how Mariott International segments its target market:

Target Market of Marriott International
Brand Target Group
Marriott Courtyard Over-the-road travellers
Ritz-Carlton Hotels Luxury travellers
Marriott Conference Centers Corporates that conduct meetings
Marriott ExecuStay Targeted at people needing month-long accommodations
Marriott Vacation Clubs Travellers seeking to shop for timeshares

The JW Marriot, created by Marriott International as a luxury brand, is meant to focus on customers who are seeking a quiet and opulent atmosphere during their accommodation.

Marriott International has successfully built up different target markets within its industry by specifically targeting the requirements of its customers. 

Therefore their customers are mostly individualistic, sophisticated, and self-defined travellers who are willing to spend extra money on their accommodations as well as people travelling on a business trip. 

Read the following buyer’s persona to understand the target customers of Marriott International:

Buyer’s Persona

Name:

Anand

Place:

Mumbai

Age:

45 years

Profession:

Businessman

Motivation

  • Luxurious, comfortable travel.
  • Top-notch amenities, and personalized service.
  • Convenient business trips.
  • Quality relaxation and leisure.
  • Loyalty rewards appreciation.

Interest & Hobbies

  • Gourmet dining, fine wines.
  • Golf or wellness interests.
  • Art, culture, events.
  • Networking at conferences.
  • Family leisure travel.

Pain Points

  • Balancing business and personal time.
  • Consistent, reliable accommodations.
  • Service and amenity standards.
  • Privacy, and security concerns.
  • Managing travel expenses.

Social Media Presence

  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Now, let us study more about the company by going through Marriott’s 4Ps of the marketing mix in the next section.

Marketing Mix of Marriott International

The marketing mix is commonly used to describe the set of techniques a company uses to get its message to the target market. Even more, a marketing mix can also be used to understand what a business is doing from a marketing perspective. It includes 4Ps that cover a company on the parameters of Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. 

So this is how Marriott’s marketing mix pans out:

Product Strategy of Marriott International

Marriott is one of the foremost recognized luxury hotel chains. The unique product marketing strategy of Marriott International is centered around luxury travellers. 

For Marriott, the core product in its marketing mix is within the sort of hospitality services. Their product strategy covers everything that goes into running the hotels. They have over 30 brands that include popular hotels like Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton, Renaissance, and many others. 

The company has categorized its brands under the following tags: Luxury, Premium, Select, and Longer Stays. This helps customers to choose hotels based on their travel plans and convenience. 

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - Marketing Mix - Product Strategy

Marriott International strives to deliver exceptional guest experiences that are consistent across all of its branded hotels and resorts in all locations and on all channels. It also works extensively on launching new brands based on different themes that cater to new and existing customers.

Price Strategy of Marriott International

Marriott International is one of the few organizations that has been successful in maintaining pricing power despite significant competitive price discounting, volume shrinkage, and increased room supply.

In terms of pricing, Marriott International’s price varies with different hotels, customers, and locations. The prime motive of the company is to deliver a top-notch experience that exceeds customer satisfaction for the price they pay.

It has largely succeeded because the different hotel brands have been able to maintain differentiated value propositions in terms of their brand promise and brand appeal.

Place Strategy of Marriott International

Marriott International is well-known and is one of the biggest hotel chain companies in the world regarding the number of hotels they manage and operate both in different parts of the world and in the United States.

Choosing the ideal place and distribution strategy has played a vital role for Marriott in its journey over the years. Since its foundation, it has established itself in more than 131 countries and the placements of its hotels are mainly centered in and around major cities and towns of a country.

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - Marketing Mix - Place Strategy

Presence of Marriott International

Promotion Strategy of Mariott International

Marriott International has been in the hospitality industry for almost a decade now and the name “Marriott” speaks for itself. It is one of the positive beneficiaries of “word of mouth” promotion.

Apart from that, Marriott primarily focuses on promoting itself and its brands through digital marketing strategy of Marriot International. 

  • It has a very well-designed website that showcases all of its brands in a detailed manner which entices users to book the room immediately. 
  • It has also worked on Generated Content strategy and also has been collaborating with various influencers.
  • It also has a customer loyalty program called Bonvoy, which provides its customers with a variety of benefits.

Now that we have an understanding of the marketing mix of the hospitality giant, let us go through the marketing strategy of Marriott International in the coming section.

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International

In recent years, the marketing strategy of Marriott International has revolved from offline to online. It has shifted its focus to market itself more digitally than using the traditional marketing approach.

As rightly put by Arne Sorensen, President of Marriott International, on his blog, “What social media is allowing us to do is not draw attention to ourselves, but to see our guests in their own spotlight”. 

So let us understand the marketing strategy of Marriott International and the campaigns it has implemented to provide an overall better customer connection and service.

Marriott International’s M Live

Marriott International’s M Live has been shaping the future of the hospitality industry with its communities in Marriott Hotels. 

M Live is a platform, wherein the M Live team tracks a variety of topics that are popular worldwide and organizes its content around these topics. Furthermore, It also targets people on an individual level. 

For example, recently a traveler tweeted a question about hotels in Nashville, USA, and received relevant suggestions from M Live. Not only did the M Live team suggest hotels, but it also gave out relevant content regarding how Nashville’s nightlife enhances the traveling experience even better. 

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - M Live Studios

Marriott International’s M Live Studios

Digital Marketing Strategy of Marriott International

The innovative marketing strategy of Marriott International is considered one of its core strengths. Here is how Digital marketing is integrated for the effective marketing strategy of Marriott:

Social Media Marketing Strategy of Marriott International:

Marriott invests a lot of money in social media marketing to engage younger travelers. Marriott recently ran a campaign to promote the new hotels with 27 TikTok influencers. Additionally, Marriott is active on Twitch, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

M Live is an additional cutting-edge social media marketing strategy that Marriott employs to interact with visitors. The Marriott social media team keeps a close eye on the reviews visitors submit while there and surprises them with goodies. It supports the hotel’s positive social media e-WOM generation.

Marriott App marketing:

To learn how to engage guests in a unique way and set its app apart from the competition, Marriott studied other creative sectors. So, as to keep attracting their audience.

Influencer marketing:

Marriott engages influencers on social media to market their brand to Millennial consumers. For example, Marriott collaborated with Snapchat influencers to create Snapisodes showcasing Marriott’s newest high-end properties.

Marketing & Advertising Campaigns of Marriott International

The marketing campaign of Marriott revolves around showcasing the comfort, care, and richness of Marriott’s luxurious hotel chain. The advertisements focus on the hotel chain’s luxurious room and hospitality services, as well as a relaxed atmosphere.

With memorable marketing campaigns that have drawn people’s attention towards the company, This marketing strategy of Marriot International has so far succeeded in impacting its viewers positively and thus resulting in constant customer engagement growth.

 #GoldenRule

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - Marketing Campaign - Golden Rule

Marriott International has launched a campaign named “Golden Rule”, a category branding campaign that features four of its brands — Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Four Points by Sheraton, and SpringHill Suites — together for the primary time.

The idea behind the Golden Rule campaign is to showcase Marriott’s collective strength that stems from its “classic select” brands, which together comprise a third of its 30-brand portfolio. It showcases a connection between the four brands and how the service is rooted in human connections.

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - Marketing Campaign - Golden Rule

Marriott has made several commercials for this campaign which included  60-second and 30-second commercials. This campaign launched back in 2017 and is one of the most well-appreciated campaigns for Marriott.

Marriott Bonvoy

Bonvoy – It is Marriott International’s worldwide campaign that promotes its travel program with the tagline “Rewards Reimagined”. 

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - Marketing Campaign - Bonvoy

Bonvoy is a new loyalty program that gives its customers a variety of benefits, such as one-time bonuses and discounts. It also allows customers to earn points that can be further redeemed. It also provides members access to a lot of sporting and entertainment events as well.

It has released Bonvoy App on both Android and iOS to enhance the experience of loyal customers.

 The “Here” Anthem 

Marriot recently launched a campaign that builds on Marriott Bonvoy’s global tagline “Where Can We Take You”, They also added “Here” as an expression for revealing the authentic, moments that are loved and missed by travellers. The breathtaking ad film was shot across Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, and New Zealand. The ad film is authentic and fast-paced – celebrates the power of travel.

It has also released various ad campaigns globally highlighting the benefits that Bonvoy membership offers. In India, it partnered with Mumbai Indians as loyalty partners and thus promoted Bonvoy during Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020.

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - Marketing Campaign - Bonvoy - Mumbai Indians

Marketing Strategy of Marriott International - A Case Study - Marketing Campaign - Bonvoy - Mumbai Indians

These were the popular campaigns of Marriott International that it has incorporated to promote itself and maintain its presence in the minds of the customers and were an integral part of the marketing strategy of Marriott International.

Top 5 Competitors of Marriott International

These companies compete with Marriott in terms of brand recognition, quality of hotels, and customer service. They also offer a variety of different brands to appeal to different types of travelers. Hence the Marketing strategy of Marriott International needs to be well-strategized to beat this competition.

Here is a brief overview of each of these competitors:

  • Hilton Worldwide Hotel: Hilton Worldwide is the largest hotel chain in the world, with over 6,800 hotels in 118 countries. It is known for its high-quality hotels and its loyal customer base.
  • Hyatt Hotels Corporation hotel: Hyatt Hotels Corporation is a luxury hotel chain with over 700 hotels in 60 countries. It is known for its innovative guest experiences and its commitment to sustainability.
  • Accor Hotel: Accor is a French hotel company with over 5,000 hotels in 110 countries. It is known for its diverse portfolio of brands, which includes luxury hotels, midscale hotels, and economy hotels.
  • InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG): InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is a British hotel company with over 5,700 hotels in 100 countries. It is known for its global reach and its portfolio of award-winning brands, such as InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, and Holiday Inn.
  • Wyndham Hotels & Resorts hotel: Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is an American hotel company with over 9,000 hotels in 80 countries. It is known for its value-oriented brands, such as Days Inn, Ramada, and Super 8.

Before Concluding let us talk about the campaigns that did not work well for Marriott International.

Example of a Marriott’s Failed Campaign

Marriott bonvoy rebranding

What was the issue?

In February 2019, Marriott International announced that it would be rebranding its loyalty program from Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) to Marriott Bonvoy. The new name and logo were intended to simplify the program and make it more appealing to consumers.

The rebranding was met with mixed reviews. Some people found the new name to be too generic, while others simply didn’t like the new logo. The rebranding also caused some confusion among Marriott’s existing customers.

In addition to the name and logo, Marriott also made some changes to the benefits of the loyalty program. These changes were also met with some criticism.

Overall, the Marriott Bonvoy rebranding was not a complete success. However, Marriott has since made some changes to the program in order to address some of the concerns that were raised. 

What backlash did the brand face?

The name “Bonvoy” was not well-received by some people. It was criticized for being too generic and for not being memorable.

The logo was also met with mixed reviews. Some people found it to be too busy and difficult to read.

The rebranding caused some confusion among Marriott’s existing customers. They were not sure what the new name and logo meant, and they were concerned that they would lose their points or status.

What did the brand do in this situation? 

Marriott issued a statement apologizing for any confusion or inconvenience that the rebranding may have caused. The statement said that the company was committed to making the new program the best it could be and that it was listening to the feedback of its members.

Marriott simplified the name and logo of the program in response to criticism. The new name, “Marriott Bonvoy,” was chosen because it was thought to be more memorable and to reflect the company’s commitment to connecting people through travel. The new logo was also simplified and made more modern.

Marriott made it easier for members to earn elite status and free nights in response to criticism that the new requirements were too difficult to achieve. The company increased the number of points that members could earn for stays and activities, and it also made it easier to transfer points between programs.

Marriott launched a marketing campaign to promote the new program and to address the concerns that had been raised. The campaign featured testimonials from satisfied members, and it highlighted the benefits of the new program.

With this, our case study comes to an end, Let us summarize our understanding of the marketing strategy of Marriott International.

Digital Marketing Academic Challenge 2024 - DMAC

Conclusion

Marriott International may be one of the most famous hotels around the world which is constantly in the news because of its new hotel development deals. Needless to say, Marriott International’s network is also top-notch with more than 7,000 properties across more than 100 countries and territories.

However, for the past three years, Marriott International has also been at the forefront of online travel marketing. From its extensive global network to its proprietary technology platform, The marketing strategy of Marriott International has worked well in integrating digital marketing. This brought up a well-curated marketing strategy of Marriott International to turn the brand into a preferred choice for individuals looking for luxury travel. 

If you like this blog on the marketing strategy of Marriott International and are interested in further enhancing your marketing knowledge, be sure to invest in good digital marketing training. There are various Online Digital Marketing Courses in India that can help you get started right from the comfort of your home. 

Let us know your thoughts on the marketing strategy of Marriott International in the comment section below. Thank you for reading, and if you liked our blog then do share this in your circle. 

Until then, See you next time!

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Aditya Shastri

Lead Trainer & Head of Learning & Development at IIDE

Leads the Learning & Development segment at IIDE. He is a Content Marketing Expert and has trained 6000+ students and working professionals on various topics of Digital Marketing. He has been a guest speaker at prominent colleges in India including IIMs......[Read full bio]

2 Comments

  1. Rajesh Sharma

    Marriot’s three years of strong online travel marketing demonstrate effective integration of digital strategies, increasing the brand’s appeal as a luxury travel destination. informative and worth-reading content

    Reply
  2. Khushi Bhanushali

    Marketing strategy Marriott International is quite impressive. This blog provides a very detailed information by providing examples, competitors and many more.

    Reply

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