Last updated: 04:03 PM ET, Tue August 11 2015

Marriott Offering Perks to Guests Who Book Direct

Hotel & Resort | Ryan Rudnansky | August 11, 2015

Marriott Offering Perks to Guests Who Book Direct

Photo via YouTube

While it may ruffle more than a few feathers in the travel agency community (or maybe because it may), Marriott International is being rather direct about booking direct.

Marriott, which announced last year it would offer free Wi-Fi to Marriott Rewards members who booked direct rather than through an agent, has now launched an entire marketing campaign—complete with celebrity Grace Helbig — to encourage booking direct through

The campaign, #itpaystobookdirect, features a series of videos communicating the benefits of booking direct.

Marriott is now offering a “best rate guarantee” to all travelers if they book on, whether they are Marriott Rewards members or not. If travelers find a better rate elsewhere, Marriott is promising it will match it and give travelers an additional 25 percent discount.

As for Marriott Rewards members, they will be treated to extra benefits for booking direct, from free Wi-Fi to mobile check-in to exclusive deals.

"With this campaign, we want to make sure every consumer knows why it pays to book their stays with us directly, either on, through our Global Reservation Centers, or by contacting the hotel directly," said Drew Pinto, vice president of distribution strategy for Marriott, via a release. "Our guests who book direct get access to our best rates, every room we have available and the most accurate and trustworthy information about our hotels. Booking direct is also best way for customers to personalize their stay with us."

While Marriott’s recent move to direct customers to its official website likely won’t be that big of a deal for travelers, it’s a different story when it comes to travel agents. The decision to offer free Wi-Fi to Marriott Rewards members has the potential to take business away from agents, who book through the GDS channel. The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) publicly denounced the decision in November.

And the decision to build a whole campaign around encouraging travelers to book directly on — complete with a celebrity with some pull — hasn’t made ASTA any happier. The organization publicly denounced the decision today.

The creative spots will continue to appear as digital video and via digital display ads, according to Marriott. Shorter outtakes will appear on Facebook through November. All the videos are also being featured on Marriott's YouTube channel,


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