The objective of JW Marriott's participation in the Venice Food & Wine Festival was to strengthen the perception of the brand in the luxury category, and drive awareness in the global culinary space as luxury leader. We targeted a culinary audience of international travelers, influencers, critics, chefs and mixologists. To invite and immerse our targeted guests in the inaugural festival, JW Marriott teamed up with JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa, Food & Wine Magazine, Marriott Rewards, Travel & Leisure, American Express, MI Buzz Marketing and additional social sponsors.
To elevate ourselves in the eyes of luxury consumers throughout the event, JW Marriott immersed influencers and guests into #TheJWTreatment, our owned hashtag which ties back to one of our brand pillars: to create spaces where people come together and celebrate their most meaningful moments.
Challenged with remaining unique in the oversaturated culinary space on social media, JW Marriott sought to capture and retain the attention of our targeted audience by sharing local, Venetian experiences. JW Marriott pulled from Italy's authentic roots and shared a video series, highlighting local cooking demonstrations, interactive classes, and wine tastings — all in the company of internationally celebrated chefs, wine experts and mixologists.
By working with international sponsors and talent, the festival experience and our branded messaging reached diverse audiences around the globe. Each partner shared their unique experience to their social following, helping us strengthen perception of the brand and cultivate new consumers that would be interested in attending the event in 2019.
Our vision was to create and implement a video series that would share an unrivaled, local experience to our targeted audience. JW Marriott worked with Food & Wine magazine to take advantage of one of the most talked about private island experiences. Together, we created a visually appealing video series, highlighting a weekend culinary getaway in the Venetian world.
In 2017, well before the event, JW Marriott crafted thirty-eight social posts for our owned channels, to establish the event with our targeted consumers, build interest, and support the pre-sale of tickets to AMEX Cardholders, driving traffic to the landing page of the event. We teamed up with JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa and culinary talent to further promote awareness. As we posted our content, we asked that our Venice property and talent did the same. By working with one of our most talked about properties and internationally acclaimed talent, we were able to reach not just our targeted audience, but users that shared like-minded interests.
JW Marriott continued to build excitement about the event across social media through the end of 2017 and well into 2018. We purposely teased the Venice Food & Wine Festival at the end of 2017, to leave users with the festival in mind for 2018.
During the first week of May, JW Marriott announced the festival was live with our first video in the series. Following the announcement, thirteen social influencers and international talent began to share their Venice experience through a unique social lens—catered to their brand. With thirteen different social stories about the festival, we cultivated a new audience that identified these culinary experiences with JW Marriott.
Collaborating with Cortex, a content analysis platform that uses AI and machine learning, allowed us to select content that best resonated with our targeted audience from the perspective of a luxury hospitality brand.
Each post was carefully crafted, aligned with our overall brand voice, while informing and inviting our targeted consumers to attend the event. We chose architecturally strong imagery, complemented by warm tones, knowing those specific characteristics would resonate with our audience. A total of thirty-eight social assets were published when we knew our targeted consumers would be most likely to engage, with the objective of driving not only ticket sales but recall of the festival long after it was over.
We educated our influencers in understanding our brand voice, to help them integrate it into their overall story, but without straying from their own social aesthetic.
Throughout the three-day event, JW Marriott continued to post social videos, along with an enticing 95-frame Instagram story. Our videos infused aerial and on-the-ground moments that left the viewer wanting more. Each video clip provided the viewer with enough to want to taste, feel and see Venice for themselves. All highlighting spectacular moments during the Venetian culinary experience.
Overall, we were not only successful in strengthening the JW Marriott brand perception in the luxury category and driving awareness in the global culinary space as a luxury leader, but in building excitement for the event next year.
Our Instagram content (including videos and stories) far exceeded expectations with 553K Impressions. The 95-frame Instagram Story alone generated over 200K impressions driving excitement of the overall festival experience. Our 3-video series organically generated over 10K 3-sec video views. Use of our branded hashtag - #TheJWTreatment - increased 130% from the time we announced the festival to when it ended. Across all brand, property, talent, and influencer Instagram content, our average engagement was a staggering 19.6%.
Along with the social stats we were also successful in other ways including increasing ticket sales to the event, with five hundred and forty-eight tickets sold prior to the event from social copy. We also obtained one hundred and sixty-four secured media placements to date, which include: Forbes Magazine, Food & Wine, Vogue, Dujour and Italia a Tavola.
JW Marriott is proud to have given back to the Venice community, while sharing the most treasured experiences across the island. Along with driving awareness of Venice as a culinary destination the event sold 744 bottles of wine and 250 fresh fish from local markets. The Venice Food & Wine Festival exceeded our expectations, as we look forward to the 2019 Venice Food & Wine Festival, in the company of international guests and sponsors.