September 30, 2014

Marriott wants to become the Red Bull of travel entertainment


Following the trend of marketers becoming publishers, Marriott is launching a globel create and content marketing studio. The company wants to own the travel entertainment space - and, in turn, gain the recognition as a trusted source for all travel needs - similar to the approach that Red Bull and GoPro take with action sports.

The in-house division will have three parts: content development, which will be the personal creative agency; production, or the entertainment division responsible for video content ranging from Web clips to TV shows; and distribution, a real-time marketing group that will monitor social media to ensure immediate interaction with trending topics. Marriott will continue to work with external agencies and other production companies as needed.

Marriott has signed a stable of exclusive talent from the online space, including Sonya Travel's Sonya Gil, stunt team Substance Over Hype, social media news purveyors What's Trending and comedian Taryn Southern. Shows in development include Renaissance Hotels' indie music performance series The Navigator Live; action-comedy stunt show Two Bellmen; and Web series Marriott Rewards' Year of Surprises, which will honor people in the community for their contributions to society. Online series will be broadcast on Marriot.com and Marriot Mobile and through Marriott Rewards and other media channels like YouTube.

Gartner's Andrew Frank said Marriott's in-house approach reflects a general trend in the industry that meets the increasing demand for content marketing, particularly ongoing interactions for long-term campaigns. It can be a risky move, however, because brands can be less experienced in creative and media strategy compared to agencies, but widening media access has made it easier. "Since most agencies are not organized to support content marketing engagements, at a certain scale it can be more cost-effective to bring it in house," he said.

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