Marriott Hotels is a trusted iconic brand with a 60+ year history of hosting travelers. While we are a well-known brand among all audiences, we recognized the importance of making a deeper connection with the next generation traveler. We wanted to show them that Marriott can meet their evolving needs.
Tasked to shift perception of the brand amongst this target segment, Marriott wanted to showcase its commitment to a transformational journey of innovation.
We invited travelers to join our journey and engaged them in a conversation about reinventing the travel and hotel experience.
We developed TravelBrilliantly.com to serve as our platform to host the conversation about the future of travel. Through the website, travelers submitted their ideas to help shape our next big innovation.
Travelers responded in incredible numbers. With over 2 million visits to the website, we surpassed our idea submission goal of 700 by 254% in 8 months and have collected over 20,000 idea votes to date this year. Our site survey and user data prove that the website captures our new audience and shifts perceptions of the brand.
In September of 2014, we delivered on our promise by piloting our first co-created innovation, the Healthy Vending Machine, inspired by an idea submitted on the site. We garnered over 160 million PR impressions and 10,000+ organic posts/engagements across social media including Facebook comments such as, "I have to hand it to you Marriott. This is a great idea. Bravo!"
NEW APPROACH TO TRANSFORMATION
Transforming 500+ hotels takes time – making it even more important to prove our commitment to innovation. TravelBrilliantly.com not only showcased Marriott Hotels' innovation roadmap, but it invited travelers to participate in our process and help shape the future of travel. Since launch, we have invited users to submit their ideas around how they would make their travel and hotel experience more brilliant.
CONSUMER IDEAS COME TO LIFE
We knew that to truly shift perceptions, Marriott Hotels needed to prove the promise. Asking for ideas isn't enough. We needed to bring their ideas to life to maintain credibility.
To date, a judging panel comprised of influencers and industry experts selected winners for the first two phases of the program. The winner of phase one, Anjana K., was flown to London to meet with experts to help further develop her idea. The result is a partnership with a Chicago start up, Farmers Fridge, that brought her Healthy Vending Machine idea on property as a pilot in September 2014. Some of the more turnkey submitted ideas, such as charging stations and local pop-up shops in our lobbies, have been executed as proof of concepts on-property as well.
INTEGRATED MEDIA MIX
Marriott Hotels' co-creation program was supported with a mix of paid media, PR, social and owned channels.
We leveraged influencers and events to generate awareness and buzz for the program. The judging panel for our first two phases included Shira Lazar, host of What's Trending, Marc Kushner, cofounder of Architizer, and Faris Yakob, founder of Genius Steals. For the most recent phase, we used Kathryn Budig and Louis Cole, both strong influencers in the travel sector. These judges not only selected the program winners but also used their social channels to promote the program, allowing us to reach more of our target audience with an added layer of credibility.
Throughout the program, we worked with artists & social influencers to develop visual representations of our favorite and most innovative ideas. We surprised & delighted the users who submitted those ideas by sharing the visuals on our social channels and adding them to the site. The artist influencers also shared the illustrations, providing additional amplification and awareness for our campaign.
We also looked to innovative partners, such as Wired, Fast Company and Mashable, to create relevant content to facilitate conversations with forward-thinking audiences.
Finally, social and email outreach allowed us to continue to connect with consumers who have engaged in the program.