“We do put media dollars behind batches of content through Facebook and Instagram or digital buys on networks of different sites,” Ingham said. “But we begin with the quality of the content first.”
W Hotels is owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide with 49 hotels in more than 20 countries. W expects to open its 50th property in Goa, India, in September.
AdExchanger caught up with Ingham.
AdExchanger: How would you describe W’s brand ethos and your overall approach to advertising?
We’re an experience-driven brand and we’ve been making a conscious move over the last several years to create experiential content. Our properties are highly photogenic and they lend themselves to the creation of interesting and visually attractive content. Unlike a lot of other modern consumer brands, we find ourselves with a surplus of good content.
What about paid distribution?
Our media agency [Razorfish] manages all of our media buys. They’re very strategic in figuring out our network buys across sites that align with the lifestyles and passions of our guests. There could be 200 or 300 sites in one network, and it’s being tweaked at least weekly depending on engagement.
In the so-called old world, we used to measure by click-through rate and click-to-book sites, but now we have a broader set of measures. Clearly anything that generates revenue is good, but we also look at things that indicate engagement, like how much time someone spends with a video – metrics that guide the way to help us channel funds to particular segments.
How does W approach data collection?
A lot of the data collection we do is around guest behavior on property to help us define the experience in our hotels, and we have a big global database that tracks guests to improve their experience for each stay.
Digital behavior tracking is separate from that. We of course track online behavior based on how consumers interact with our ads to build profiles and develop target audiences for W. We have about 20 million members of SPG [the Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program] and we know quite a lot about them, both on property based on their buying behavior and how they behave online.
How do you use that information?
In a traditional ad-serving model, you might serve the most ads to your highest-value guests, but we’re consciously serving far fewer ads to our loyalty card members, for example. We’ve started to strategically adjust how we serve to all of our various segments based on their behavior.
Who is your core target?
Our core target audience is between about 28 and 40 and generally highly educated. They’re professional business people often working for big consulting firms and financial services companies like Deloitte, Accenture and Citibank. But our fastest growing segment of corporate travelers come from Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple.
They have high travel pattern jobs and although they might be on a corporate career path and spend more than 100 nights in hotels a year, they’re true millennials in the way that they think. When they travel they want a local experience and they don’t want to feel like they’re sacrificing life for work. That’s who we appeal to.
What is W up to on the mobile front?
We recently launched [a mobile-first lifestyle magazine called] The Angle, which is a platform for centralizing our content. It sits alongside our booking agent and information site.
We also invested quite a lot this year to update the W mobile app, which is essentially a music app. Rather than creating an app that helps people book rooms like other hotels do, ours is mixture of a news feed that links to stories on The Angle and streaming playlists curated by the music directors and DJs we work with at our hotels. It’s a free app and, unlike Spotify, it’s truly global. You can use it anywhere in the world.