Skift Take

Today’s edition of Skift’s daily podcast looks at the travel brands sponsoring European football, Marriott’s TED partnership, and Southwest’s business traveler push.

Series: Skift Daily Briefing

Skift Daily Briefing Podcast

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Good morning from Skift. It’s Tuesday, August 16 in New York City. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

Companies worldwide have long viewed sponsorship deals with football clubs as a powerful marketing tool, but that list now includes a growing number of travel brands. Contributor Sonia Menken reports that more travel companies are sponsoring Europe’s football powerhouses with an eye on the sport’s massive fanbase.

Although Menken writes that many successful marketing strategies exist, Trivago CEO Axel Hefer said an emotional connection makes a sponsorship deal special. Hefer, whose company sponsors English giant Chelsea, believes football and travel share similar emotions, including building new memories with friends. Although Trivago has received more exposure through Chelsea’s recent on-field triumphs, Hefer said the company viewed success with Chelsea as developing an emotional bond with the club’s fans.

Fourteen clubs in this season’s Champions League, Europe’s most prestigious club tournament, are sponsored by travel companies.

We turn next to Marriott’s efforts to tap in the booming experiential and family travel markets. The hotel giant believes its latest collaboration with TED — famous for its online conferences — will help build brand loyalty with younger guests, reports Contributor Carley Thornell.

Marriott recently launched its Curiosity Room by TED at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis. The Curiosity Room prominently features local landmarks and cultural trivia related to the city, such as information about the Golden Gate Bridge. The hotel giant is also expanding the concept to hotels in Bangkok and London, both of which — like the San Francisco property — will display customized riddles.

Jason Nuell, Marriott’s senior vice president of premium brands, said the Curiosity Rooms include content appealing to guests of all ages. Although the hotel company has previously made TED Talks available on-demand in guest rooms, those programs largely appealed only to adults, Thornell notes.

Finally, Southwest Airlines has joined the list of airlines overhauling its technology in a bid to capture more direct business, reports Corporate Travel Editor Matthew Parsons.

Southwest launched its new travel portal Southwest Business Assist on Monday. Parsons describes the platform as a self-service tool that enables corporate travel buyers and travel management companies to better manage their business trips. The Dallas-based carrier became the third major U.S. airline to revamp its travel platform in the past week, following in the footsteps of United Airlines and Delta Air Lines.

The three airlines aim to attract more direct business from small and medium-sized companies, widely considered the fastest-growing market to emerge from the pandemic. The trio hopes to convince smaller companies attending this week’s Global Business Travel Association Convention in San Diego to use their platforms to perform necessary tasks.

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