Is it time for a Hotel Industry Ad Platform?


Ad Platforms work. At least they do for the people who run them.

How well they work for the businesses who advertise on them, depends on a number of factors. The same is true when it comes to the ‘advertisee’ – ie: the person being advertised to. How much they benefit from the platform depends on a myriad of factors. Some of which are within the control of the Ad Platform itself, others which are not.

Google made over $110 billion in revenue in 2017, the vast majority of which came from its Ad Platform. Facebook generated over $40 billion in revenue last year, again, almost exclusively from its Ad Platform. This is serious money.

A few day ago, in Episode 358 of Trent365!, my daily podcast show, I shared a comment from Accor’s Chief Digital Officer, Maud Bailly. At the Phocuswright Conference in Los Angeles recently, Bailly said “Eighty per cent of guests are willing to share their information to get a more personalised stay.” This number, I believe, came from a study done by the Global Business Travel Association.

My initial reaction was that this sounds like something Facebook would say. ‘People are ok if we use their data to give them a better experience.’ Of course, as we’ve seen play out with Facebook, that personal data can also unlock the vault of a much bigger opportunity – advertising.

He Who Controls the Platform, Wins.

So, I gets to wonderin’… if Ad Platforms make good money for the people who have the data on the consumers and control that platform, why couldn’t other businesses create their own Ad Platform?

Does your business have meaningful data and information on your customers? How attractive would that information be to other non-competing businesses? Could these non-competing businesses offer something of value to your customers?

If the answers to these questions are Yes, Very and Yes then maybe it’s time to consider creating a mini-Ad Platform of your own.

One industry that springs to mind as having great potential to build its own Ad Platforms, is the hotel industry.

Hotel Industry Ad Platform

Hotels certainly have access to some meaningful data on their guests. They often know your gender, your nationality, where you live, who you work for and what position you hold within your organization. That information alone is enough to start building an interesting profile on you. For example, your home address can be a great indicator of wealth, or otherwise. Combine this with the additional insights they gain from your activity and spending habits within the hotel itself and your personal profile gets pretty meaningful.

Now imagine this scenario. I have a watch shop close to where your office is located. Most of my stock is in the mid-price point, but I do have a few luxury pieces. Whilst your office location isn’t in a wealthy neighbourhood, your home address is. Knowing that you are the CFO of that company and live in a nice neighbourhood, stay in a suite when you travel for business and tend eat in the fine dining outlets, makes you an ideal target for ads about my luxury watch collection.

If Marriott had an Ad Platform on which I could target ads of my luxury watch to people just like you, I’d be in!

A Multitude of Impressions

As for where and how you would get to see my ads, there are numerous options. And they don’t have to be intrusive. The TV screen in my room is one possibility. Many hotels have this on when a guest arrives to show general hotel information. No reason it couldn’t feature an ad for my luxury watch. When you log in to the Marriott website to make your booking, you could be served information about my watch. They could also get creative with the PMS (Property Management System) and place an ad for my watch on your registration card. Better still, print my ad on the receipt you get when you check out. Now my ad will be front of mind as you head back home. Back to where my watch is waiting for you.

Broader Horizons

That’s just one simple example of the possibilities. There are many more.

Sticking to the travel and hospitality sectors for a moment, what about AirBnB? Like a hotel, they can have lots of information about their guests, especially if that guest uses the Facebook login to connect. Car Rental companies. They too potentially have lots of useful user data. Airlines? Sure, why not? Imagine if all these travel related companies got together to create one Travel Industry Ad Platform? As long as that platform allowed advertisers the ability to be highly targeted in their ads, I have to believe they would flock to it.

Again, these are just a few examples from within one basic industry. Step outside that little box for a moment and consider the possibilities. Banks. Credit Card Companies. Insurance Companies. Leasing Companies.

The list goes on.