How massive of a deal is it when Marriott, the world’s largest lodge operator, rebrands its loyalty program? Such an enormous deal that ABC created a particular tv promoting block through the Oscars to assist the corporate unveil its new providing: Bonvoy. By practically any measure—media protection, client buzz, or promoting spend—this system’s launch has thus far been the most important journey and hospitality story of 2019.
Such an enormous deal that ABC created a particular tv promoting block through the Oscars to assist the corporate unveil its new providing: Bonvoy.
By practically any measure—media protection, client buzz, or promoting spend—this system’s launch has thus far been the most important journey and hospitality story of 2019.
The transfer is necessary not solely as a result of it immediately impacts Marriott’s 120 million loyalty members, but in addition as a result of it is the right case research for the broader journey and hospitality business.
What can manufacturers study from the launch of Bonvoy? How ought to different corporations view Marriott’s successes and stumbles with this system? Which broader tendencies does the hassle spotlight?
Listed here are 5 classes each journey and hospitality marketer can study from the rebrand:
1. Rebranding/Making a New Model Is not Straightforward
The primary lesson is {that a} branding/rebranding is not any small enterprise; it entails each tapping into deep wells of creativity and considering by complicated sensible issues, equivalent to authorized and cultural elements.
In line with AdAge, the Bonvoy mission took two years from ideation to launch, and in an interview with Skift, Karin Timpone, Marriott’s world advertising and marketing officer, stated the corporate went by an extremely rigorous vetting course of, together with testing how the title could be obtained in many alternative languages.
In fact, Marriott, with its big world presence, needed to be particularly cautious about issues like copyright infringement and native sensitivities. Nonetheless, the core challenges have been the identical as these going through each agency attempting to develop a brand new model: discovering an identification that may spark constructive feelings, convey the suitable qualities, and wasn’t already taken within the market.
In the end, that mixture of motivations is why Bonvoy—which is each distinctive and a play on the travel-associated bon voyage—received out for Marriott.
What’s additionally necessary to notice is that the title was only a small a part of the mission. The corporate additionally needed to do the onerous work of growing a complete visible identification, restructuring its rewards choices, and growing a brand new tagline: Rewards Reimagined.

Marriott’s New Bonvoy Model: 5 Classes for Journey MarketersMDG Promoting

2. Hospitality Is All About Loyalty and Direct Relationships
Given the large effort and assets that have been required, why did Marriott rebrand its loyalty program?
Partly, it was out of necessity. After the corporate acquired Starwood in 2016, it discovered itself with three rewards applications that wanted to be mixed: Marriott Rewards, Starwood Most well-liked Visitor (SPG), and the Ritz-Carlton Rewards.
Nonetheless, it went additional than merely placing every little thing below the Marriott Rewards umbrella—it needed a brand new, overarching identification that may unite its manufacturers and enchantment to all loyalty members.
For the corporate, this was a prime precedence, not a facet mission. Marriott’s CEO, Arne Sorenson, not too long ago advised analysts that out of the corporate’s 30 manufacturers, “the model that’s most necessary is Marriott Bonvoy.”
Why would Sorenson put Bonvoy forward of the corporate’s many different iconic manufacturers? As a result of loyalty applications are more and more important to hospitality companies equivalent to Marriott.
Chekitan Dev, professor of selling at Cornell’s College of Resort Administration, advised The Factors Man: “Resort model loyalty applications have change into the aggressive weapon to counter the ability of on-line journey brokers and residential sharing platforms like Airbnb.”
Merely put, loyalty is what differentiates hospitality/journey suppliers and is what prevents them from changing into commoditized.
Furthermore, applications equivalent to Bonvoy create direct-booking relationships with shoppers—one thing that is vitally necessary for holding third-party platforms in examine. In the end, that is why Marriott positioned Bonvoy not merely as a refresh of its current loyalty program, however because the launch of a completely new, extra highly effective advantages and recognition platform.

Marriott’s New Bonvoy Model: 5 Classes for Journey MarketersMDG Promoting

3. Manufacturers Are Extra Multifaceted Than Ever
What’s a model? When the primary Marriott opened in 1957, it was little greater than a reputation and emblem.
How instances have modified. The launch of Bonvoy highlighted that at present’s journey and hospitality manufacturers are extra multifaceted than ever, spanning a variety of bodily and digital experiences.
The brand new loyalty platform concerned altering every little thing—from lodge signage, keys, and print advertising and marketing supplies to the host of internet sites and social media accounts that Marriott operates; it additionally meant redesigning your entire backend system that powers this system.
The corporate even needed to rebrand and relaunch its cell apps, uniting the Marriott, Starwood, and Ritz-Carlton choices below a single Bonvoy expertise.
And people are simply what Marriott owns. The Bonvoy rebrand additionally needed to be built-in into third-party choices, such these from airline companions and bank card companions. The latter alone was an enormous enterprise, involving utterly transforming every little thing from the look to the rewards construction of a big roster of Marriott/Starwood/Ritz-Carlton branded playing cards.

Marriott’s New Bonvoy Model: 5 Classes for Journey MarketersMDG Promoting

4. Change Can Be Tough for Everybody
Was the Bonvoy launch met with common acclaim? Not precisely.
From the time it was revealed, the title was mocked: shoppers stated it reminded them of every little thing from a fiber complement, to rocker Jon Bon Jovi, to a model of soy milk.
Extra importantly, the brand new model grew to become related to the frustrations folks have been experiencing following the Marriott-Starwood merger. On social media, Bonvoy morphed into #Bonvoyed, a rallying cry for many who have been coping with customer support points.
As one Twitter person posted: “@MBonvoyAssist I simply spent 21 minutes on the telephone attempting to switch factors as a result of I could not determine your web site, then the agent hung up earlier than finalizing. What extra might I do? #Bonvoyed”
The motion even grew to the purpose that an sad buyer created a portal—Bonvoyed.com—to allow disgruntled loyalty members to unite.
A few of this was clearly as a result of missteps by Marriott—the corporate has admitted that it did not do an ideal job of merging its numerous loyalty applications.
Nevertheless it was additionally a part of the rising pains that accompany the launch of something new. Largely, the frustrations are a reminder that change is troublesome for each shoppers and corporations, and the extra liked or established a model is, the stronger the response will likely be to any modifications.

Marriott’s New Bonvoy Model: 5 Classes for Journey MarketersMDG Promoting

5. Branding/Rebranding Takes Persistence and Persistence
So, did Marriott retreat after shoppers struggled with the brand new Bonvoy model?
Completely not.
As Marriott’s Timpone stated to Skift: “It takes time to construct a model, whether or not in hospitality or any sector. There are numerous model names we use in common vernacular at present the place folks have been considering, ‘What does that really imply?'”
In different phrases, Marriott understood that launching Bonvoy would require persistence.
The corporate additionally understood that it could require persistence. That is why it created an aggressive advertising and marketing plan for Bonvoy, which included conventional and digital campaigns, in addition to activations at main occasions equivalent to Coachella, the NCAA basketball match, and the Dubai Jazz Pageant.
And that is why it bought a complete advert block throughout this 12 months’s Oscars—30 seconds for a conventional spot and 60 seconds for a mini-film—to announce the launch of Bonvoy.
In the end, Marriott well knew from the start that if it needed to launch an enormous new model and actually remodel its loyalty program, it could have to make an enormous splash after which hold plugging away for a protracted, very long time.

Uncover the most recent tendencies in journey and hospitality advertising and marketing. Contact MDG Promoting at present at 561-338-7797 or go to mdgadvertising.com.
MDG Promoting, a full-service promoting company with places of work in Boca Raton and Brooklyn, NY, is considered one of Florida’s prime hospitality branding corporations. MDG’s capabilities embody branding, emblem design, inventive, print promoting, unsolicited mail advertising and marketing, media shopping for and planning, radio and TV promoting, outside, newspaper, digital advertising and marketing, web site design and improvement, on-line video promoting, infographic improvement, e-mail advertising and marketing, video advertising and marketing, cell advertising and marketing, content material advertising and marketing, social media advertising and marketing, paid search advertising and marketing, and search engine optimisation. To study in regards to the newest tendencies in journey promoting and branding, contact MDG Promoting at present at 561-338-7797 or go to mdgadvertising.com.

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