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Marriott Bonvoy’s Community Management Evolution

Finalist in Community Management


Marriott Bonvoy’s goal on social media in 2023 was to grow awareness and understanding of both the brand and its unparalleled portfolio of hotel brands. This was especially true among the brand’s Millennial and Gen Z target audience segments. In addition to awareness and understanding, Marriott sought to establish cultural relevancy within this large segment – informing both current and non-members about relevant aspects of the travel program. Building and maintaining positive sentiment while mitigating negative sentiment was of utmost importance. This also included keeping up with new platforms, new in-platform norms, and new ways to engage with users as platforms evolved. 

One way that Marriott Bonvoy set out to accomplish their goals was to undertake a complete overhaul of their community management execution on social media. While customer care related issues were managed and escalated with the highest urgency and importance, several other aspects of community management needed updating. 

The first goal was to respond to every comment or interaction, within reason. When replying, Marriott wanted to connect with users in a cohesive brand voice while also ensuring that the user felt heard. 

The second goal was to find where their desired audiences “live” online and proactively engage in relevant conversations in those spaces. 

The third goal was to demonstrate that Marriott Bonvoy sees and cares for their online communities, regardless of status, to establish or deepen loyalty to the brand. 


In 2023, Marriott implemented a completely new community management strategy. Community managers were empowered to reply to all comments and interactions in Marriott Bonvoy’s brand voice to create genuine connections with users. From 2022 to 2023, Marriott Bonvoy saw a 2900% increase in engagement rate. This was due largely to community managers engaging with exponentially more content to further conversations. 

Marriott sought to be active on platforms their target younger audiences would be active on, but with the task of maintaining brand voice and conforming to typical language and engagement norms on platforms. The key was to avoid coming across as “ad-y" or inauthentic. Marriott Bonvoy celebrated the milestones of members, performed outreach on talent and partner-posted content (Tate McRae, Billboard, Bebe Rexha, Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 Team, Manchester United F.C., NFL, Baltimore Ravens, Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets, and more), and sparked conversations organically among Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of hotel brands on social media to further cement affiliation to the travel program. 

Marriott made a concerted effort with their revised community management strategy to not send a reply to end a conversation. By interacting in a humanistic way and engaging with members about topics they were genuinely interested in, Marriott grew overall conversation, increased positive sentiment, and cemented connections built between the brand and fans. Community managers expressed sincere curiosity about users’ travel plans, program questions, and personal milestones, and then provided clever and knowledgeable responses. By building community in this way, Marriott stumbled upon chances to celebrate members – whether it be an anniversary or promoting their interests in one of Marriott Bonvoy’s partners. This organically led to Surprise and Delight opportunities to show that the brand was truly listening and showing care. 

Marriott regularly proactively interacted with other users on talent and partner posts, which resulted in high positive sentiment (91%) and extended brand reach beyond owned channels organically. An example of this was when Marriott Bonvoy partnered with Bebe Rexha during Super Bowl LVII. Bebe posted Marriott’s Behind the Scenes video on her channels, which allowed Marriott Bonvoy to jump into this conversation and interact with a new audience more authentically. 

In 2023, Marriott Bonvoy community managers proactively replied to more than 250K messages across social media platforms. That’s about 20K messages a month, or an average of 668 replies a day. This excluded all ongoing customer service efforts, which were handled in addition to these messages by a dedicated social customer care team. To further show care, Marriott Bonvoy launched their Surprise and Delight initiative in August 2023. Marriott’s goal was to send members and non-members gifts and recognition based on their interactions with the brand online to deepen their loyalty to the travel program. 


Marriott planned to achieve the following with their evolved community management strategy in 2023: 

New platforms offered Marriott Bonvoy new opportunities to engage with members. Marriott Bonvoy became active on Threads within hours of its launch in 2023 thanks to a strong overall community management strategy that was already in place. Marriott ended 2023 with 160K followers on this new platform, including 50K followers in just the first week, with zero paid media amplification. Compare this to their closer competitor on the platform, with 34k followers over the same period. Sentiment on Threads for Marriott Bonvoy was overwhelmingly positive (88%). 

Existing presences on other platforms also thrived in 2023. Marriott Bonvoy saw a tremendous followership increase of 207K in 2023 (excluding Threads), primarily driven by a keen focus on TikTok. 

Marriott’s Surprise and Delight initiative resulted in 79 fans receiving gifts from the brand on social in 2023. From this, Marriott saw 31 earned pieces of content garnering 1.3M earned and organic views and 21K engagements with very positive sentiment (approximately 85%) across multiple audience segments including health and beauty, family, travel, and Formula 1 fandom. This equates to approximately $65K of earned media value – all generated organically. 


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Marriott Bonvoy


Entry Credits