This week we’re looking at advertising on hotels’ in-room entertainment networks.

Travel industry brands across the hotel, ground transportation and airline industries are increasingly looking to take advantage of the captive attention of travelers, using passengers’ “in-between” time while in transit and moments of boredom to offer up branded content or advertising.

Wyndham Hotels Group is the latest brand to try and capitalize on the trend, launching a new 19-minute branded TV spot intended to entertain guests powering on its in-room hotel television network. Will this ambitious effort gain traction?

Wyndham Debuts Branded TV Show on In-Room Welcome Screens
Even though hotels’ in-room entertainment options continue to improve, the advertising accompanying that entertainment hasn’t changed much. Turn on any hotel television and you’re likely to see a bland array of promotions for the on-site spa or concierge services. Wyndham Hotels Group, which operates over 7,500 properties, is seeking to change this with the launch of a new 19-minute branded TV episode using its in-room entertainment system. The move follows a trend by hotels and airlines alike to try and capitalize on travelers’ captive attention while en route or during in-between moments. Read more

Airlines Test Immersive Cinema Headsets
The airline arms race to provide access to better, higher-end in-flight entertainment (particularly for business- and first-class passengers) continues to heat up. This week four commercial airlines, including France’s XL Airways, announced that they were testing a new immersive movie experience headset for passengers. The headsets, which allow passengers to enjoy a “movie-theatre like” viewing experience, as if a fixed screen was projected in front of them, could be offered as an amenity to high-paying front-of-the-plane guests or sold as an ancillary purchase throughout the cabin.  Read more

Uncovering the Pricing “Tricks” Travel Firms Use to Encourage Purchases
Given the billions of dollars of travel spending that now occurs online, it’s no surprise that travel marketers are eager to come up with ever-more-innovative ways to encourage travelers to purchase. But as a growing number of consumers are finding out, some of the more creative pricing practices have gotten downright deceptive. While consumers are the ones that ultimately lose out, marketers also need to consider how these types of practices might impact their long-term dealings with travelers. Read more

Alaska Airlines Chooses Mekanism as New Creative Agency of Record
Alaska Airlines ended a nearly two-decade long partnership with ad agency Wongdoody this week, announcing it would join forces with independent agency Mekanism. The airline, which is also in the midst of its first rebranding effort in 25 years, appears to be working to overhaul its marketing strategy to refocus on digital ad spending and emerging media. Alaska Airlines spent close to $8 million on media in the first nine months of 2015. Read more

Marriott Uses Snapchat Ads to Reach Fans During Super Bowl
Unlike 2015, travel advertisers were notably absent from this year’s Super Bowl TV advertising blitz. But that didn’t mean the industry was silent during the big game. A number of brands turned to social media to advertise during Super Bowl 50, as platforms like Facebook and Snapchat prove to be an increasingly popular backchannel for event conversation and analysis. One of the more popular platforms this year for advertisers was Snapchat, with Marriott launching a sponsored ad within Snapchat’s popular “Live Story” feature. Read more

AT&T Launches Travel-Themed “Dare to Travel” Influencer Series
AT&T is partnering with Fullscreen, an agency linking digital creators with brands, on a year-long project to harness digital video personalities for a series of branded ad campaigns on topics like travel, music and sports. The program’s travel “influencers,” Damnon and Jo, will visit a series of different locales based on the feedback of show viewers, including them in a series of interactive challenges. The goal of the project, according to Fullscreen CEO George Strompolos, was to work with the creators in a more ongoing fashion rather than running one-off, “transactional,” influencer campaigns. Read more

Photo Credit: A scene from Wyndham Hotel Group's new 19-minute branded TV spot, airing on the chain's in-room hotel network. Wall Street Journal