Courtyard by Marriott Super Bowl Media Showcase with Garrett Wilson

Q&A: How Marriott is Driving Brand Awareness Among NFL, Formula 1 and Soccer Fans

“Hosting Rush After Dark at a nightclub like Jewel, later in the evening to try to draw in that younger audience, and thinking about celebrities, influencers and also the type of talent that we leaned into for it, that’s an opportunity in a big market like Vegas to create cultural relevance for our brand.”

–Tonia Constable, VP-Global Marketing Partnerships: Sports, Entertainment and Brands, Marriott International

Marriott Bonvoy Ultimate VIP Weekend golf

The Ultimate VIP Weekend Marriott Bonvoy Moments package included a private tee time with NFL players Tommy DeVito (left) and Saquon Barkley (center).

Fresh off its 13th year partnering with the NFL as its Official Hotel Partner, Marriott continues to evolve its fan experiences around its brands Courtyard by Marriott and Marriott Bonvoy. The brand activated in Las Vegas for Super Bowl LVIII, bringing its legacy Courtyard Super Bowl Sleepover Suite to Allegiant Stadium, along with special events around the city to engage Bonvoy members and new consumers.

The Ultimate Upgrade campaign gave one winner and a guest the chance to stay in a stadium suite that was transformed into a Courtyard hotel room. Marriott Bonvoy also teamed up with NFL players Saquon Barkley and Tommy DeVito to curate an Ultimate VIP Weekend in Vegas for two. Winners participated in a private tee time with the players and received dinner reservations, tickets to the Big Game, as well as access to the Marriott Bonvoy x Visa Rush After Dark event, which took place at the Aria’s Jewel Nightclub. Attendees enjoyed an opening set by dj Chantel Jeffries, a headlining performance by Haitian-Canadian music producer and rapper Kaytranada, and a spin of the Marriott Bonvoy wheel for a chance to win gift cards and hotel-themed prizes. (Agency: 160over90)

We spoke with Tonia Constable, vp-global marketing partnerships: sports, entertainment and brands at Marriott International, who offered insight into the brand’s activations across the NFL season, recent Super Bowl experiences and its growing year-round portfolio of partnerships with Formula 1, college sports and soccer leagues.

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Event Marketer: Having activated at several previous Super Bowl games, what keeps Marriott coming back, and what was particularly special about the Las Vegas edition?

Tonia Constable: When we think about tentpole moments around the NFL—the draft, international games, kickoff—Super Bowl is that marquee moment. For us, knowing that the NFL was bringing Super Bowl to Las Vegas for the first time, we wanted to make sure that we stayed true to what our brand represents, but we also wanted to make sure that we would stand out in a market that we knew was going to be pretty busy. We recently partnered with MGM, so Las Vegas itself is an important market for us.

Marriott Bonvoy x Visa Rush After Dark Party

The Marriott Bonvoy x Visa Rush After Dark party treated attendees to a lively evening at the Aria’s Jewel nightclub.

Our Marriott Bonvoy x Visa Rush After Dark event was a great example of showcasing how we are not only trying to do things that engage our existing members, because they’re so important to us from a loyalty perspective, but also creating experiences that drive awareness of our brand for new members. Hosting Rush After Dark at a nightclub like Jewel, later in the evening to try to draw in that younger audience, and thinking about celebrities, influencers and also the type of talent that we leaned into for it, that’s an opportunity in a big market like Vegas to create cultural relevance for our brand.


How did the partnership with Visa come about for this Rush After Dark party?

Visa is one of Marriott’s long-standing partners across the organization. The concept of Rush After Dark initially came from an execution around the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix to bring to life our Mercedes PETRONAS partnership. We had pulled in La Mar Taylor, who is the creative director and a good friend of The Weeknd, for an event in Miami. We wanted to take that partnership and bring it to Super Bowl. Working closely and knowing that we have like-minded partners in Visa who want to continue to push the envelope enables us to create events like Rush After Dark.


What kinds of learnings from past NFL activations did you bring to Marriott’s experiences this season?

We took a look at the NFL season this year and created The Ultimate Upgrade. Everything that we did, from kickoff all the way through to Super Bowl, was about elevating the experience and creating the ultimate upgrade, culminating in the Courtyard Super Bowl Sleepover Suite experience. Throughout the year, we partnered with three teams—the Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets and Seattle Seahawks—and created these amazing fan experience rooms.

Fans had the opportunity to enter to win, throughout the season, The Ultimate Upgrade experience. We really wanted to make sure that we were creating a program that didn’t just come across as one moment in time, but that laddered up to something much larger. We had 18,000 entries for the Super Bowl Sleepover this year, which is the most that we’ve ever had.

Courtyard by Marriott Showcase with Bijan Robinson and winners

Atlanta Falcons running back Bijan Robinson (center) joined Chance Mack and Jametta Barden, winners of the stay in the Courtyard Super Bowl Sleepover Suite.

Beyond the NFL, are there other sporting events you are venturing into?

For our sports portfolio, we’ve identified the passions that both our existing and future audience bases are tapped into and asking, “Hey, if we’re looking at, say, a next-gen experience seeker, what does that look like?” We packaged together an amazing portfolio of assets, and we’ll continue to ensure that we are building upon that. So we’ve got the NFL, which just came off of the Super Bowl experience. We have a partnership with the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 team, which this year, we will be creating an experience and hosting a lot of programming around the Monaco Grand Prix, as well as other races. Our model is to identify key markets similar to Las Vegas and home in on those that we need to focus on and bring that energy to.

Then, we also have a partnership with Manchester United Football Club that we’re doing a lot of different things with this season. We recently signed with the United States Soccer Federation. We’re super excited about that and will be doing some programming around different events that are happening around friendlies (international exhibition soccer games), as well as the SheBelieves Cup (a U.S. women’s soccer association tournament). And then we’ve got NCAA March Madness coming up, and we’re creating some new programming around college football, as well. There is no shortage of amazing things that will be happening as we move throughout 2024.

Photos: Courtesy of Marriott

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