The two valets in Marriott's new Bellmen buddy film really gel this time around, and Marriott is going beyond the walls of its properties to tell its stories.
The new Two Bellmen Two short film by Marriott Content Studio launched last Friday, produced on-location at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai.
In less than a week, it’s racked up almost 1.5 million views on YouTube.
Christian and Gage, played by professional actors Caine Sinclair and William Spencer, are back again as the two central characters playing JW Marriott hotel valets. As they did in the first Two Bellmen film last February (5.1 million views), the Marriott employees go to incredible lengths to perform their duties as bellhops, this time for a business guest played by actress Frieda Pinto of Slumdog Millionaire fame.
The fact that there is even a second Bellmen film illustrates Marriott’s commitment to the franchise and its ability to engage new audiences in new ways with innovative content.
Laconic and lighthearted, Sinclair and Spencer are millennial actors perfectly casted to attract similar age guests to the JW Marriott brand. That’s the overarching goal. The upscale JW experience has never been considered a “lifestyle hotel” experience, but the movie’s intent is clearly an attempt to reposition the brand as more spirited and human-centric than perhaps the marketplace previously considered.
The two main actors have a great chemistry that seems to mature in this film, which evolves during all of their signature parkour moves and easy banter. The plot is mostly a chase sequence through Dubai’s vast desert to recapture an errant data key lost by Pinto’s character.
That’s in stark contrast to the first Bellmen film shot entirely inside the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live property. In Dubai, Marriott is now emphasizing the destination to sell the hotel by highlighting the wide panoramic vistas across the desert and sea, along with scenes of various tourist activities ranging from sand dune surfing to water jetpacking.
The greater focus on the destination is also designed to develop travel packages around the featured activities in the film. That strategy is based on the success of other Marriott Content Studio vehicles such as the 15-minute short film French Kiss, produced in Paris last May (6.1 million views). Following that film’s release, some of the Marriott-operated hotels in France offered a French Kiss Package incorporating various places in the film.
The overall level of production in Two Bellmen Two is impressive, and certain scenes like the parkour leap over a moving green Lamborghini and the skateboard trickery are very slick. But other editing choices, including a pair of robots dressed like a cross between Lawrence of Arabia and Kylo Ren, don’t move the plot forward as much as they make you scratch your head. And we apparently have to wait until episode two to understand the “The Path of the Bellman,” the Taoist ideal of service philosophy the bellmen allude to.
According to Marriott, the film is targeting the luxury traveler more than the last Bellmen, because it feels there’s a lack of quality content marketing in the luxury travel sector. Sponsors Tumi, Emirates, and Mercedes Benz are all portrayed in the film without deterring from it.
Perhaps, but for that to work there should be more scenes involving more upscale experiences.
All in all, Marriott has developed something with this movie franchise that transcends all of that. They have created two winning brand identities that establish JW Marriott in an entirely different consumer market landscape.
Photo credit: Actor Caine Sinclair plays Christian, one of the two bellmen. Marriott