Marriott: A Data-Led Media Approach

The Challenge

In 2018, we became Marriott International’s Media Agency of Record managing their vast marketing campaigns across 30 hotel brands in EMEA. In 2020 their industry was hit hard by COVID-19. Cancellations were rampant, occupancy was down, and business travellers were poised to be one of the last occasions to return.

As we emerged from the first lockdown we needed to get back to business fast, finding pockets of travel demand and reacting rapidly as infections and restrictions changed across the continent.

The Solution

Having already begun shifting to an audience-led approach to media, this transition was greatly accelerated through COVID recovery work.

This challenge pushed us to accelerate Marriott’s transformation – we had to start from scratch, define the new traveller, and build a strategic playbook for recovery for all EMEA markets to capture every available booking.

  • We built a Trigger Dashboard to identify the moments and markets where travel was opening up to ensure our messaging was focused on the right geographies.
  • We built an AI powered Forecaster tool utilising over 30 data sources to predict return on investment and ensure planning was fully optimised to bookings.
  • We created an Ad Builder tool  to drive audience relevancy through dynamic creative iterations based on consumer needs.
  • We reduced our media partners to 6 core partners that would work harder for us throughout recovery, as true partners vs ‘vendors’.

As travel restrictions relaxed we returned to upper funnel investment focusing on the much missed experiences to capture moments of passion, desire and indulgence. We used outdoor cinema screenings, contextual and geo targeting around restaurants and nightlife and ran activity in The Great British Bake Off. We created a Snapchat lens to view hotel rooms across the Marriott portfolio and achieved presence in coverage of the Tokyo Olympics.


In a competitive battle for every available booking, we reduced cost per booking by 27%, while generating a 16:1 ROI on media spend.

By forensically focusing on data signals and media optimisation, by mid 2021 we had already beaten our 2019 performance metrics while much of the region was still facing travel restrictions.

Dynamic creative increased interaction by +50% and upper funnel activity increased brand awareness.

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