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Autograph Collection Hotels launched a new content campaign called The Individualists this week, in partnership with Variety magazine’s Actors on Actors video series, to celebrate its five years in existence.
Operated by Marriott, the Autograph group of over 80 independent, luxury lifestyle hotels represented a turning point in the evolution of soft hospitality brands when it launched in 2010. At the time, the collection was a somewhat new and innovative hospitality marketing and distribution model, but the lifestyle luxury segment has since ballooned exponentially.
The Individualist campaign is designed to differentiate, or individualize, the Autograph brand among the rising sea of competition. Building on its tagline/hashtag “#exactlylikenothingelse,” Autograph is aligning its brand messaging with film and TV celebrities it believes are also one of a kind to attract the attention of its baseline of upscale, culturally attuned consumers.
The first video to launch (below) is a brief one-on-one with Jimmy Kimmel interviewing actress Kerry Washington of Scandal fame. She talks about visiting southern India after college to continue her studies in theater.
“I wanted to go somewhere where the performing arts were rooted in culture, because I had an idea I was going to pursue this as a career by that point in college, and I knew that I was going to be trying to sell my soul to get a Burger King commercial,” says Washington. “I knew that was going to be the dynamic of trying to be a young actor who could pay the rent.”
That sense of humility, self-realization and aspiration contextualized within the glamor of Hollywood and international travel is a savvy bit of brand storytelling that’s completely on point for Autograph Collection Hotels.
“The Individualists campaign, which features a collection of exactly like nothing else stories told by independent leaders in film, aims to support and champion independence and the unique spirit of our chosen Individualists,” Julius Robinson, VP of Autograph Collection Hotels, told Skift. “We believe our consumers are also individualists, who are smart consumers and highly engaged in the arts.”
Variety.com is scheduled to release 16 more conversations from “The Variety Studio: Actors on Actors Presented by Autograph Collection Hotels” starting June 1. A sample of the upcoming video interviews includes: Julianna Margulies and Clive Owen, Julia Louis Dreyfus and Jeffrey Tambor, Queen Latifah and Taraji P. Henson, and Liev Schreiber with Maggie Gyllenhaal.
The Individualists campaign is presently featured at the top of the Autograph Collection website, which is now hosted on the Tumblr platform. While other hospitality brands have developed content initiatives exclusively for the microblogging site, this is the first time Tumblr has been used as the primary online portal for a major hotel group.
Each of the categories on the main nav bar list photos and short Tumblr blog posts profiling artists, art, architecture, culinary and insider destination experiences. So, in effect, we’re seeing a hotel chain website that emphasizes travel and travel destinations much more than the hotels themselves.
To access the hotels, consumers can click on the one single page where the hotels are all listed, or they can search the booking engine by destination and travel dates that directs online users to the Marriott corporate booking site. The search results there list all of the hotels within the selected destination, along with the room rates specific to those dates.
Having such a content rich platform like Tumblr creates an interesting, mobile-friendly framework for The Individualists series and related content. It also helps attract more eyeballs from the Tumblr crowd, and it provides an endless flow of content opportunities that Autograph can “reblog”—the term used by Tumblr for curating and reposting other Tumblr blog posts.
Greg Oates covers hospitality and tourism development. Email him at email@example.com.