Last week’s Skift Podcast with David Beebe, VP of global creative & content marketing for Marriott, dived deeply into the delivery of content marketing today in hospitality.
Beebe discussed content’s impact on direct booking conversions, customer engagement, brand identity, travel packaging, and other aspects of hotel marketing and business development.
Above all, he pointed out that content is a long term strategy that pays off over time, illustrated by JW Marriott Hotels’ Two Bellmen film series. The first “Two Bellmen” short film, shot in Los Angeles, has 5.1 million views in 11 months. The new “Two Bellmen Two” sequel in Dubai is nearing 7.9 million views in three weeks.
The first film was an unknown. The second achieved the success it did because the first established an engaged audience. Content marketing is a lot like dating, Beebe told us. You don’t get a second date unless you provide value during the first.
As a follow up to the Skift Podcast, we asked Beebe to share some of his favorite Marriott content packages developed for different brands across different channels and platforms.
The Marriott Traveler portal launched in March 2015 with destination content focusing on New Orleans, Orlando and Chicago, most of which was produced by professional content developers living in those cities.
This year, Marriott added United Arab Emirates to the lineup, in part, to begin building on the audience established with the second Bellmen film.
So far, the bulk of UAE content at Marriott Traveler links to the JW Marriott Marquis Marriott Dubai, but the content itself focuses on themes around food, shopping, and local celebrities like Ali Al Sayed, who appeared in the film.
Adding the UAE into Marriott Traveler also provide potential content synergies with the new sponsors in “Two Bellmen Two”: Emirates, Mercedes-Benz and Tumi.
Moving forward, Marriott Content Studio is expanding its editorial direction at Marriott Traveler beyond destination content into more talent profiles.
“We’re now looking at interviews with notable names in the culinary, entertainment and fashion industries posted through franchises that include: Checking In, Chefs You Should Know, The Unpacked Project, and The Individualists,” said Beebe.
Chefs You Should Know: Chef Sebastian Nohse on Dates, Za’atar and Emirati Food Favorites, for example, profiles JW Marriott Marquis Dubai’s culinary director. The depth of editorial and imagery provides a lens into UAE cuisine which is relatively underserved in online travel content today.
Meanwhile, Checking In: Tia Carrere on Why You Should Go to Honolulu and Always Pack a Hair Bonnet, profiles the actress who appeared in Renaissance Hotel’s “Business Unusual” film.
The long-form Renaissance video marks Marriott’s foray into film content targeting the business travel segment. At the same time, it positions the Renaissance flag as a creative muse for both young and older business travelers.
Beebe is also using Marriott Traveler to promote The Individualists campaign at Marriott’s Autograph Collection, showcasing entertainment personalities who’ve forged their careers based on their unique personalities.
One of those, Chelsea Handler on Netflix: ‘I’m Asking Questions, Making an Idiot of Myself’ is a piece of standalone content on Marriott Traveler that has nothing to do with Marriott or travel.
Lastly, Marriott Traveler posted an exclusive story highlighting Justin Bieber’s recent trip to Iceland and the music video he produced there.
Beebe told us that Why Justin Bieber’s Trip to Iceland Became a Music Video (Exclusive) achieved 14.5 million social media impressions, driving 37,000 unique visits to marriott.com in seven days.
Marriott doesn’t operate any hotels in Iceland, yet. The hotel company and hospitality leader Ian Schrager are scheduled to open The Reykjavik EDITION in 2018.