In such a crowded market every organisation in the hospitality industry is looking for a strategy to get an edge on the competition. Marketing alliance and strategic collaborations are a powerful way to gain exposure, utilise new distribution channels and amplify your message. There are plenty of global brands collaborating, from Virgin and Google to Spotify and Uber. Businesses bringing two or more brands together and creating strong, relevant and effective partnerships are seeing real dividends on the bottom line. You may not be Apple working with Nike, but what you can do is team your meeting space with a high-end stationer or align your hotels short break package with a hand-crafted plush toy to capture the family segment. During challenging economic periods, the power of brand marketing partnerships can strengthen credibility, secure more exposure and convert new customers. Innovative, integrated marketing maximizes revenue and capitalises on opportunities in both the consumer and corporate space. Let’s look at the key considerations for successful partnership strategies: Establish a goal With the ever-increasing pressure to deliver return on investment, establishing a partnership’s goals – then breaking them down into activities and deliverables is an important first step. What we often observe is a lot of effort going into campaign development, but very little thought going into goal setting for the campaign. You need to invest in understanding the objectives for a partnership to establish what will make it successful. According to CoSchedule, the team behind a live calendar for marketers who surveyed 1,597 marketers, those who set goals are 429% more likely to report success than those who don’t. The value of the partnership needs to be lucrative enough to drive a continuous stream of marketing activity, this will allow the alliance to rise to its full potential and translate into revenue. Think outside the box Who you choose to join forces with directly impacts your sphere of influence, marketing potential and reputation. Think outside of the box: alliances can be formed with anyone! Think influencers, suppliers, associations, destinations or products. Look for complementary brands sharing a common interest with your audience but not directly competing for business. You’re looking to expose your brand to new potential customers, so consider influential brands with an established loyal following. If these brands are already perceived as influencers and authorities, partnerships can act as a stamp of authority for your brand, as well as giving you an introduction into that league. Consider the risks Half of affluent shoppers say that the biggest risk for a luxury partnership is the potential damage to the brand’s image or reputation, according to the latest survey from the Luxury Institute. While there are many benefits to strategic partnerships, it is important to consider the potential risks. Collaborating clearly expresses a synergy in values and ethics which could lead to potential damage to the brand image, equity and reputation if something were to go wrong. Think beyond promotions It’s not enough to create an offer; the key ingredient to a successful partnership is integration. When carried out at a strategic level, partnership marketing can and should involve all elements of the marketing mix, impacting on your overall marketing message, advertising, social media, onsite operations, PR and communications. Run an activation, event, competition, giveaway or re-target an advert between you. To really optimise revenue opportunities, leverage the opportunity to create joint sales and distribution channels between you. Enrich your guest’s life before, during and after their stay Find creative ways to enhance your consumers’ way of life. By strategically partnering up your brand, you can position yourself as a solution to make people’s lives easier and more enjoyable. Whether you’re offering the chance to borrow trainers to stomp around the city in, or loaning wellington boots in the countryside; you can introduce lifestyle brands to your customers to further benefit them long after their stay. These products offer customers a brand loyalty which will bring them back time and time again. Become a ‘power couple’ Think Beyoncé and Jay-Z! Partnering your brands gives you an opportunity to combine your best elements and empower a market statement – proving that the whole is greater than a sum of its parts.