Leveraging hotel media via brand partnerships: A guide to unlocking value

Hotels all around the world are finding innovative ways to boost revenue and enhance guest experiences. A key asset is often-overlooked, yet highly lucrative: owned media assets. SONDER explain.
Content produced in partnership with Sonder.

From key cards to digital signage, hotels have largely unrealised potential in existing owned media channels that can be transformed into lucrative revenue sources.

Hotels globally are still working to mitigate the lingering effects of prolonged pandemic lockdowns. As travel resumes and guests return, there remains an acute need for hotels to maximise every revenue opportunity.

Given it requires comparatively little investment, owned media should be at the forefront of those efforts.

The potential of hotel media assets

Owned media assets within hotels comprise different channels, each offering unique opportunities for monetisation:

• In-room TVs: Offer tailored content and advertisements directly to guests who are already engaged in the luxury and comfort of their room.

• Digital signage: Located in lobbies, elevators, and other common areas, these can display interactive ads from partner brands that appeal to guests.

• Hotel websites and mobile apps: Serve as platforms for promoting partner brands through banner ads, sponsored content, or exclusive offers.

• Events and loyalty programs: Provide platforms for live product placements and promotions, enhancing the experiential aspect of the partnership.

These assets provide a captive audience that brands are eager to tap into, making them highly valuable for external partnerships.

Building brand partnerships

As hotels seek to enhance their marketing reach and guest services, forming strategic brand partnerships is a key opportunity.

For hotels looking to capitalise on their owned media, strategies for attracting and maintaining brand partnerships include:

• Identifying compatible brands: Hotels should seek out partnerships with brands that align with their values and appeal to their customer base. This alignment enhances the guest experience rather than disrupting it.

• Creating customisable packages: Offering customisable marketing packages allows brands to tailor their messages and campaigns to align with the brand partner’s target audience.

• Cross-promotional opportunities: Integrating the partner’s offerings into the hotel experience—for example, a cosmetic brand offering products in the spa—creates a seamless integration that can enhance the guest experience and deepen the partnership’s value.

• Measuring and reporting success: Using metrics to demonstrate the ROI of media placements ensures transparency and helps attract more long-term partnerships.

Media-mastery success

Understanding and leveraging owned media assets can dramatically alter a hotel’s financial landscape.

Crown Resorts, a major player in hotels and casinos, faced challenges in managing and valuing their diverse media assets due to disparities in pricing across their operations.

Recognising the need for a standardised approach, Crown Resorts conducted a comprehensive audit of over 150,000 media formats. By creating a universal rate card, they were able to provide a single point of truth for different teams across hotels, casinos, and marketing departments. This streamlined approach eliminated pricing disparities and inaccuracies, and also significantly enhanced the efficiency of media usage across Crown Resorts.

The future is owned

As the hospitality industry evolves, so does the nature of marketing and revenue generation. Traditional advertising methods are being supplemented — and often surpassed — by strategies that harness the power of owned media assets.

The evolution of marketing in the hospitality sector is indicative of a broader shift towards more integrated, personalised, and technologically driven approaches. For hotels, staying ahead in this changing landscape means continuously innovating and leveraging every asset at their disposal to create meaningful connections and drive brand success.

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