- W Hotels boosted the portion of its social media referrals from YouTube to 39% — more than twice the industry average of 19% — by posting videos of live recording sessions by art rocker St. Vincent, according to a case study by Gartner L2 shared with Mobile Marketer.
- W Hotels partnered with St. Vincent to showcase its W Hotel Sound Suites, private music studios and lounges at select properties open to artists and guests. The two videos received about 1.7 million views on W Hotel's YouTube channel, boosting the brand's average views on the video-sharing platform from 766 to 63,000 during the study period.
- The videos ranked high in the search results for "St. Vincent" on YouTube, extending the visibility of the W Hotels brand and driving traffic to its website. The Marriott-owned luxury chain in October created its own music label, W Records, and will release work from four artists in the next year, Billboard reported.
W Hotels' focus on YouTube as a social channel helped the luxury hotel brand stand out among competitors on the Google-owned video-sharing platform. Facebook is the biggest source of website referrals for more than half (55%) of luxury hotel chains, which tend to focus on posting still images of their properties, not videos. Five percent of luxury brands don't have a YouTube account, and 16% of brands didn't post any videos to the platform during the study period, according to Gartner L2.
By partnering with St. Vincent, W Hotels emphasized its authenticity as a brand that appeals to well respected artists. The W Hotels videos intersperse subtle brand imagery with her testimonials about creating music and finding inspiration while staying in the W Sound Suites, which are equipped with recording and mixing gear. The videos are clearly aimed at millennials who are more likely than older generations to seek authentic experiences, such as traveling to music festivals, that they can share on social media.
YouTube showcases musical performances more than any other social media platform, making it well suited for Marriott. The hotel chain has made music a key part of its marketing strategy in the past two years, Adweek reported. Marriott in 2016 hosted the "Wake Up Call" music festival at its W Scottsdale property that was a huge success. The concert had many conveniences for hotel guests, such as letting them retreat to their hotel rooms to take a break or go the bathroom instead of waiting in a long line, which is a typical festival experience.
Marriott this year organized more music festivals in Hollywood, Barcelona and Bali, where three of W Hotels' four Sound Suites hotels are located (the fourth is in Seattle). But W Hotels isn't the only Marriott brand to connect with the music industry. Its Aloft Hotels brand is in the ninth year of running its popular talent competition, Project: Aloft Star, in conjunction with Universal Music Group. The companies in June started a live show called Project: Aloft Star Tour that traveled to five cities this year, according to an announcement.