What began for Courtyard by Marriott in 2016 as a one-off, mega-fan sleepover event at the Super Bowl has evolved into a “tentpole moment” that caps off a months-long, loyalty-driving brand campaign. As the Official Hotel of the NFL, Courtyard planted the seeds for its sixth annual Super Bowl Sleepover activation early this time around, with an eye toward delivering more one-of-a-kind experiences to more football-loving Marriott Bonvoy members and fans throughout the 2022-23 season. It all culminated, of course, with the grand prize: an exclusive stay in a replica Courtyard suite at Arizona’s State Farm Stadium on the eve of Super Bowl 57.
The campaign was powered by Courtyard’s new call to action, This is Where We Fan, a season-long program aimed at linking consumers’ passion for football with travel. So to encourage fans to follow their passion for the sport while exploring new places, the brand launched a social media contest that tasked them with describing the lengths—and travel destinations—to which they would go to see their favorite team play via TikTok, Instagram or Twitter. Entrants had multiple chances to win experiential prizes during the NFL season, from VIP tickets to the 2023 draft, to a “Fansgiving” dinner on the 50 yard line at MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants.
The pièce de resistance, naturally, was the Super Bowl Sleepover experience. Two Buffalo Bills superfans ultimately snagged the prize, scoring a chance to live out some of their wildest football dreams across a multi-day agenda offering money-can’t-buy moments. The experience began for the husband and wife duo with access to the NFL Honors event in Phoenix on the Thursday before the big game. The couple walked the red carpet (and got the red-carpet treatment) among NFL legends, talent and broadcasters before attending the annual primetime awards special recognizing the league’s best players and performances.
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The following evening, the contest winners gained access to the Courtyard House Presented by Visa, an event typically reserved for VIP guests and Marriott Bonvoy Visa cardholders. There, they interacted with the Detroit Lions’ Aidan Hutchinson and the Minnesota Vikings’ Justin Jefferson. Then the fans were escorted over to a private performance by singer Bebe Rexha at a historic train station in downtown Phoenix, where elevated F&B was also provided.
On the Saturday before Super Bowl 57, Courtyard revealed the sleepover suite to its special guests, along with surprise-and-delight moments. Think: meeting former quarterback and Bills icon Jim Kelly, and chatting with current Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Finally, on Sunday, the fans were the first to see the stadium before the action got started, then headed to a brunch for Bonvoy members and NFL stars, where they did talent meet-and-greets. Then, it was over to State Farm Stadium’s 40 yard line to catch the matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles alongside Marriott executives.
“We want to make sure we’re creating platforms to engage members. We want to make sure that we’re creating opportunities to communicate our brand messages in a new way,” says Tonia Constable, vp of global marketing partnerships-sports, entertainment and brands at Marriott International. “The value of sport sponsorships, when you think about the scale and the efficacy of resources and spend that you can get with them when you’re doing it the right way, is unmatched, in my opinion.”
Throughout the NFL season, and during Super Bowl weekend, customers could also tap into the hospitality giant’s experiential platform for loyalty members, Marriott Bonvoy Moments, for access to football-themed experiential packages that they could redeem with rewards points or bid on at auction. Among offerings during Super Bowl: a VIP styling session by an NFL star, pre-game field access and tickets to Marriott’s gameday brunch.
“It comes down to how are we ensuring that we’re thinking differently, year-over-year, but also making sure that we’re not shying away from what the core message is and what we’re trying to accomplish—which is how are we getting people closer to the things that they love and what is the role that we can play in doing that?” says Constable. “Creating amazing experiences is all part of our DNA being in the service and retail industry. So that is what we want to make sure we’re always going back to.” Agency: 160over90.
Photo credit: Mark Peterman/AP Images for Courtyard by Marriott