On August 21, 2017, the Great American Eclipse presented a unique opportunity for Marriott hotels sitting along the path of totality, where day would nearly turn to night, to create a truly awe-inspiring guest experience. M Live, spotted the trending story early in 2017, identifying more than 160 hotels, as part of Marriott's portfolio of 30 Brands, sitting directly within "the zone of totality."
The impending eclipse seized America's attention. On Twitter alone, #SolarEclipse2017 conversation volume hit 160MM impressions in just 3 weeks. News outlets and denizens of the social space were enraptured.
In response to this wave of inspiration, M Live would, for the first time ever, unify Marriott's loyalty programs, Marriott Rewards and SPG for maximum reach and engagement.
They worked with the primary objective of creating a deeply memorable on-property experience four guests, partners, and associates. At the same time, they would work to amplify social media visibility as part of the eclipse conversation in real-time. This would be achieved by mobilizing dozens of hotels across the country to host pop-up viewing events, offering guests an unforgettable experience and providing the creative inspiration and opportunity for guests to share their memories in real-time.
M Live, Marriott International's Real-Time Global Marketing Command Center, was built to establish new and unique ways to grow awareness for the company's portfolio of brands. They do this through original creative content and relevant guest experiences deployed during trending moments in popular culture. The Great American Eclipse would be just such a moment.
The strategy of M Live's Solar Eclipse activation would be led by the first-ever unified real-time engagement involving both of Marriott's loyalty programs, Marriott Rewards and SPG. With their joint partnership, the team would work to evoke a sense of revelry among guests by exposing them to a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
To ensure that this sense of revelry made its way to the social space, properties would create inherently-shareable moments and settings. They prepared food and beverage offerings aligned with the eclipse theme and invited local artisans whose crafts would be inspired by the eclipse. Each of the hotels hosting pop-up viewing events would encourage guests to share their experience using #SolarEclipse2017 to ensure measureable visibility when they posted to social media.
M Live partnered with loyalty programs, Marriott Rewards and SPG, as well as the America's Field Marketing, Marriott Digital Services, Marriott Traveler, and Consumer PR teams to engage with Brands to amplify their visibility throughout the social space and to create special guest experiences in truly-memorable ways.
To activate, M Live invited local artists, photographers, and creative community members to cover the eclipse from Marriott hotels where guests would experience a once-in-a-lifetime moment, capturing it to share in social media.
The team targeted everyone in the path of totality during the Solar Eclipse, focusing on locals near hotels where the eclipse would reach totality. Due to the depth and breadth of Marriot's portfolio of hotels in and around the line of totality, anyone within the United States was seen as potential guests and would be approached organically through owned social media channels.
The strategy was dedicated to generating measurable objectives including:
Leveraging internal data, booking sources, and analyzing social media conversations, M Live explored the plans of thousands of travelers preparing to catch a glimpse of the eclipse in key cities across the country.
Following this research, M Live engaged 48 hotels from 19 Marriott brands in 21 states to participate. The team identified NASA's own hashtag, #SolarEclipse2017, as the only one used during this activation; ensuring maximum reach. The kicker: M Live would create and distribute 7,000 branded eclipse glasses for safe viewing.
Working with each property, the team prepared brand-aligned experiences to safely view the moment of the eclipse and offered guests a chance to enjoy complimentary eclipse themed F&B. Hotels invited the outside in; contacting local artists to create eclipse-inspired crafts in courtyards, on rooftops, and filling outdoor spaces. Room packages were created at select hotels for guests to book and receive exclusive access to events and special amenities.
M Live, in concert with participating hotels, would set the stage. Mother Nature would put on the show.
In Marriott's first-ever real-time activation that involved both Marriott Rewards and SPG loyalty programs, M Live drove marked increases related to of each stated objective.
PR efforts generated 920.2MM impressions through digital and broadcast media coverage. On Twitter alone, there were more than 3.3K mentions from on-property resulting in 6.3MM impressions with a reach of 5.6MM without any paid media support.
Using geo-fencing technology, M Live tracked content shared to Instagram and Twitter. The results from host hotels exceeded expectations, delivering: