Starwood

Case Study

OVERALL SUMMARY

In the travel and accommodation space, consumers rule the roost. Netizens have changed the way they look at holidays completely thanks to disruptive, demand-based entrants with the vision and grit to shake up the world around us. Competition is not the next big hotel with competitive room prices, but travel magazines that offer experiences that bring out their wanderlust.

For global hotel network Starwood Hotels (now Marriott), whilst they were good at appealing to prospects that were further down the consideration phase, they lacked a strategy for reaching aspirational travelers at the top of the funnel.

Let’s take a look at the solution iProspect developed that drove a staggering ROI of 5:1 for Starwood Hotels by marrying consumer data with top-shelf content.

Watch it here for the short version!

 

CHALLENGE/OBJECTIVE

As a global hotel brand, Starwood’s customers are moving towards a place where travel experiences are more important than having planned, run of the mill vacations. Their brand is all about connecting travellers with accommodation experiences that enhance their stay and facilitating a more memorable holiday.

Whilst Starwood’s individual brand property websites each had a range of content geared towards attracting prospects, the fact that the content was tied to the brands themselves meant that Starwood couldn’t possibly compete for engagement from pure user-first travel sites and online magazines. With content hosted on individual brand sites, it also meant that the interactions between customers and brands could only ever be transactional in nature.

STRATEGY/TACTICS

In order to differentiate Starwood from the see of homogeneous offerings out there, we established that the best play would be to break tradition and build a new core proposition from the ground up.

Looking at how netizens were searching for – and engaging with – content, we developed a framework made up of 5 crucial components:

  1. DATA: First-party data was paired with social listening, search volume, trends analysis, and qualitative information from iProspect’s proprietary audience profiling tools to zero-in on segments of the market that revealed the biggest commercial opportunities.
  2. STRATEGY: Finding meaning in the data to define key consumer moments, mapping these to relevant content themes that steered the content production.
  3. CREATIVE: Content that was (a) superior quality, and (b) consistent across all touch points, be it on the website or as part of the promotional mix. Importantly, all content took its cues from the data, enabling a certain layer of predictability in terms of knowing what prospects would engage with.
  4. AMPLIFICATION: Multi-layered amplification strategy focused on targeting high value segments across APAC in differing ways depending on location, with the ultimate aim of driving the cookie pool for retargeting prospects, pushing them further down the funnel.
  5. MEASUREMENT: benchmarking the effort and measuring both the content and amplification activity to continually tweak the strategy and optimise for performance.

With Dentsu Aegis’ sister agencies John Brown and Isobar, we designed and built an online travel and lifestyle magazine that pitched itself as a high-class but easily-accessible destination for aspirational travelers and culture vultures to rest for a while.

On June 11th 2016, MOMENTUM was born.