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Marriott flies out travel publication content to social media users

Marriott International is ramping up efforts to connect with users on mobile by making content from its Marriott Traveler destination and lifestyle publication available on its social media pages as well as its blog and mobile-optimized site, proving that consumers are searching for snackable news on social.

The hotel brand is launching Marriott Traveler on a designated Web site and social media platforms to provide customers with easy ways of consuming the destination, lifestyle and travel content that seeks to differentiate itself from other tour guide publications. This points to the growing trend of brands publishing bite-sized pieces of content on social media for on-the-go consumers to view via their mobile devices or tablets.

?Today, many travelers begin their planning process by researching destinations and the best ways to experience them before seeking out hotel accommodations,? said John Wolf, vice president, global brand public relations at Marriott International, Bethesda, MD. ?With Marriott Traveler, the company will produce valuable destination and travel content that is unexpected, informative, and definitely not found in tourist guides.

?The concept behind Marriott Traveler fits neatly into our worldwide content strategy of developing engaging content that builds communities of people and drives commerce to our hotels,? he said. ?It is our belief consumers appreciate well-crafted content that provides value to them, and they in turn will provide value back to us.?

Themed content
Marriott Traveler will have designated sections for consumers to peruse, from fashion, wellness, family, art, music, food and drink. The brand will also be tapping digital influencers, including YouTube travel guru Sonia Gil, to produce original content.

This also speaks to the growing trend of social media platforms displaying bite-sized pieces of news content for consumers.

?Content and news sites have spent significant effort building followings in social communities,? said James McNally, director of business development at Fuzz Productions, Brooklyn, NY. ?Some of these efforts are poorly or inelegantly executed, but there is a validity to these efforts overall. 

?We all spend cumulatively more and more time on ?social? platforms, and we're becoming more and more used to ingesting news content through these channels. What this bodes for the news market, or whether it's big picture a ?good? trend is another question, but social is where lots of eyeballs are, so it makes sense for Marriott to look to capitalize.?

Marriott is not the only brand to leverage YouTube personalities to drive consumption of mobile video. Recently, Schick engaged in clever mobile advertising by asking two well-known influencers to create videos to promote its Intuition razor for women (see story).

The hotel company will also be recruiting executives from its Creative and Content Studio, hotel associates, writing partners and community members of Marriott Rewards Insiders to develop copy.

The concept was created by Marriott to continue its theme of building communities of people and therefore driving commerce to its worldwide properties. The publication is planning to showcase nearly 300 pieces of destination-related material over the coming months.

Content about New Orleans is currently posted on the Marriott Traveler site, including the best aggregated Tweets and Instagram accounts dedicated to the Southern city. Upcoming featured cities are Chicago and Orlando.

Users can take a quiz to find out which New Orleans microbrewery they should visit, discover where the best places for live music are and read interviews with local boutique owners for shopping tips.

A small tab in the upper right corner of the site also enables users to book a Marriott hotel in the featured destination in a streamlined manner.

The site is mobile-optimized.

Guests will also be able to interact with the content on the brand?s Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, Twitter and YouTube channels.

Increased mobile focus
Marriott International also introduced a branded Snapchat programming campaign in December, in conjunction with popular content creators to augment awareness, making it the first hospitality brand to use the social media application as the center of an advertising campaign (see story).

The campaign launched on the @MarriottHotels handle on Snapchat and featured content from popular influencers such as Shaun McBride. Each of the four chosen influencers traveled to Marriott hotels worldwide and accepted trip itinerary suggestions from fans and while documenting their journeys on the photo-sharing app.

Marriott Traveler may have even more potential if the brand geographically targets users.

?What will be critical for success is ensuring this content is optimized for consumption on mobile devices as smartphones and tablets (and soon wearables) have become integral to all aspects of the traveler journey,? said Puneet Mehta, CEO of MobileROI, New York. ?Marriott should consider pushing this destination discovery content to its guests while they are on their trip when it?s contextually-relevant, via smartphones or wearables like the Apple Watch.

?Reminding people about an art studio they had read about and shared with friends or alerting someone to a museum that is right around the corner from where they are will help the brand engage with travelers not only before, but during the trip as well.?

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York