Summer has given way to autumn and football is in the air. Associates at Courtyard by Marriott are fully aware that football season is in full swing because many of its target customers are football fanatics. According to Janis Milham, vice president and global brand manager for Courtyard by Marriott, a lifestyle study conducted by the brand found that football, particularly NFL football, is the most watched sport by its target customers. In fact, 83 percent of Courtyard by Marriott guests say they watch the NFL.
“That really speaks volumes,” Milham says. “We try to find partners that fit with us strategically with our customers, and the NFL is one.”
That’s why the brand recently expanded its relationship with the league this fall, becoming the exclusive lodging category sponsor of the NFL. The multiyear deal, announced last week, makes Courtyard by Marriott the “Official Hotel Sponsor of the NFL.”
Milham says that the study also shows that 63 percent of Courtyard by Marriott guests described themselves as “passionate” fans of the NFL. “They watch the regular season, playoffs and the Super Bowl,” she says.
Courtyard by Marriott has had a long-standing relationship with the NFL Network, the league-owned television network, as well as NFL.com and NFL Mobile from Verizon. “This is taking the partnership to a new level,” Milham says. “It really works well with what we want to achieve, because we’re talking about ‘greatness on the road.’ This really fits perfect with our customers, because we know our customers really want to perform well while on the road.”
Milham says the sponsorship has been a long time coming, approximately two years. “We’ve been working on this. It’s quite a process,” she says. “The NFL checks out its partners as rigorously as we check out ours.”
With the popularity of the NFL these days, Courtyard by Marriott expects big returns from its partnership. “The NFL is a power brand and Courtyard is a power brand,” Milham says. “We really think this will be an amazing launching pad for us to reach our customers in a new way.”
The sponsorship details are still in the works. The agreement, however, allows for the creation of memorable experiences for loyal Marriott Rewards members tied to coveted events, which could include, among others, the Super Bowl.
Additional NFL activation opportunities are included in Canada and the United Kingdom and Marriott brands will be the preferred choice for the NFL’s business travel and meetings.