Is monetization of hotel guest and loyalty membership data a good or bad thing?

Recently Marriott launched the hospitality industry’s first global omnichannel media network, the Marriott Media Network, which will enable advertisers to deliver “curated experiences” to millions of Marriott loyalty members.

There are more than 164 million members in Marriott Bonvoy, the company’s travel loyalty program, and Marriott plans to leverage this robust audience to power the media offering.

Marriott’s Media Network will launch initially in the US and Canada, before ultimately expanding worldwide.

For brand advertisers, the Marriott Media Network will offer a combination of scale and personalized media reaching an audience of in-demand, high-intent travelers. The media offering will provide an opportunity to reach specific customer segments with targeted content across fully-owned Marriott channels including display, mobile, video, email and in-room screens and televisions.

The Marriott Media Network utilizes a unified stack advertising tech platform developed especially for Marriott by Yahoo, and will be supported by the global Yahoo ad sales team and Yahoo’s Demand Side Platform to lead demand generation and sales across the globe.

The question is, is such monetization of guest and loyalty membership data a good or bad thing for the industry and will other hotel chains follow suit?

Max Starkov

Max Starkov

Adjunct Professor NYU Tisch Center for Hospitality and Hospitality & Online Travel Tech Consultant

Fabian Bartnick

Binu Mathews

Peter O'Connor

Peter O’Connor

Professor of Strategy at the University of South Australia Business School

Although they may make some revenue in the short term, Marriott’s move towards monetizing their guest data will likely come back and haunt them in time. Today’s consumers have become very protective about where and how their personal data is being used, and the gradual realization that their data is being used to target them with third-party advertising will likely erode trust in the Marriott brand in the longer term. And without trust, what are we left with?

Linchi Kwok

Linchi Kwok

Professor at The Collins College of Hospitality Management

Digital Marketing in Hospitality

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