- Hilton and Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated launched Tourney Stay, a youth sports travel service that taps into SI Play’s Tourney Machine’s 5 million user base of parents and youth athletes, per a press release.
SI Play is the publisher's digital platform that includes scheduling via Tourney Machine, merchandise as well as scoring and stats.
- Tourney Machine is a mobile platform and Tourney Stay is designed to make the hotel booking process easier for tournament directors and parents within the dashboard they are already using to manage event logistics.
- The platform provides tournament directors with a list of Hilton properties near the tournament location once it’s registered in SI Play’s Tourney Machine. From there Hilton handles responses and the dashboard lets users view and book hotel rooms as well as track scores and schedules.
The brand partnership puts a Time Inc. publication brand and mobile platform in front of a valuable audience. Marketers are looking for ways to develop more efficient digital marketing programs to ensure they get in front of a relevant audience. Publishers are hoping to meet this need by segmenting their audiences but this strategy can limit the scale of a campaign. This is one reason the Hilton and Sports Illustrated partnership is noteworthy, as it brings a large and highly qualified audience to Hilton that is likely looking to book a room and brings users added convenience by taking a logistics issue off the list of responsibilities for tournament directors and parents booking rooms for an event.
The program is also an example of how competition is heating up in the online travel space, which has been dominated by Expedia and Priceline. Airbnb is increasingly a threat as it rolls out new services while Google continues to add booking options for flights and hotels and, like in this Hilton example, hotels, as well as airlines, are finding news ways to reach travelers directly. Mobile is an important part of the picture, with 85% of mobile users leveraging their devices to book travel activities.
The partnership also the latest example of how the hospitality industry is turning to technology to provide an extra level of service for potential guests. Another recent example of hospitality brands using technology to offer guests’ convenience is Hyatt and Marriott International are both testing adding personal digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa-powered devices to hotel rooms to serve as virtual concierges for visitors.