Houston and Dallas were recently in the spotlight as hosts for the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Final Fours. Each of the destinations hosted tens of thousands of visitors from out of town, providing a spotlight for Marriott, which has sponsored the NCAA for seven years through its Marriott Bonvoy program. The sports-related travel market was the first segment of the travel industry to come back in big numbers as the world started to reopen from the pandemic and the pace has only continued in the months since, a trend that Marriott executives have watched with interest.
In this conversation between SportsTravel Managing Editor Matt Traub and Mandy Gill, Marriott vice president of global marketing for the United States and Canada (recorded on location at the Men’s Final Four in Houston), we discuss the current state of the sports-related travel industry, Marriott’s NCAA partnership and much more from the hotelier’s point of view on the strength of the industry.
Among the topics discussed in this episode:
- Marriott’s relationship with the NCAA and host hotel preparation in Houston and Dallas (2:00)
- What Marriott can leverage from its NCAA partnership and use for its own branding (3:58)
- How the hotelier analyzes current and future partnerships to determine how to invest sponsorship money (6:08)
- NIL and how it has changed potential sponsorship opportunities with athletes for a business such as Marriott (8:19)
- The sports-related travel industry and how it has continued to evolve and surge for hoteliers as a revenue driver (10:38)
- The underappreciated youth sports market and how Marriott markets for that industry compared to college or pro travel markets (12:32)
- What makes the sports-related travel market stand out from other segments of the travel industry (14:57)
- How Marriott works to partner with local sports commissions and CVBs by promoting events in local markets (16:25)
- Her bucket list sports event to attend as a fan and why (18:05)
This episode is sponsored by: