How Marriott’s Inspired Content Helped Frustrated Travelers See a Better Normal

Sometimes the hardest enterprise challenges encourage your most impactful content material.

That proved true for the content material workforce at Marriott International. Annie Granatstein, vp of content material advertising, shared her model’s story across the pandemic-related decimation of journey – and the next reinvention – at Content Marketing World.

The world’s habits had modified. Marriott’s audience had modified. That prompted step one of their content material reinvention – understanding their audience.

When your audience’s behavior changes, it’s time for a content reinvention, says @anniegranat via @GregLevinsky @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Exploring the viewers’s journey needs

Less than a 12 months into the pandemic, pent-up demand for journey reached its apex. According to U.S. contributors in a February 2021 Trivago survey:

  • 48% would quit their job to journey
  • 38% would quit intercourse to journey
  • 25% would quit their financial savings to journey
  • 20% would quit their associate to journey

Those outcomes point out a fundamental must journey – seemingly on the size of Maslow’s hierarchy of wants, Annie notes. Now, think about a December 2020 Finder Survey by which 74% stated they wished to raised themselves – a 15% enhance over the earlier (pre-pandemic) 12 months. Finally, think about a February 2021 American Express survey the place 59% of respondents stated they have been enthusiastic about “philantourism,” the mix of philanthropy and tourism.

The journey viewers world seems totally different.

“People didn’t want to just go back to 2019 and to the same world,” Annie says. “They didn’t want things to go back to normal. They want a better normal.”

@Marriott found travelers wanted a “better normal.” A quote from Mark Twain inspired their new campaign, says @anniegranat via @GregLevinsky @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

But how might Marriott assist individuals visualize a higher regular? This Mark Twain quote impressed them:

Travel is deadly to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and lots of of our individuals want it sorely on these accounts. Broad, healthful, charitable views of males and issues can’t be acquired by vegetating in a single little nook of the earth all one’s lifetime.

They opted to place journey as an antidote to the tough occasions of 2020 and deliberate the Travel Makes Us marketing campaign.

Planning the journey content material technique

Not lengthy after the marketing campaign concept was fashioned – in January 2021 – Annie joined Marriott. The advert marketing campaign was scheduled to launch in the summertime.

As the brand new content material advertising lead, it fell to her and the content material workforce to translate the Travel Makes Us idea into content material.

They created the content material round three moments: viewers (must journey), cultural (need to raised the world), and model (champion of a greater and higher world for all). They dubbed it the “regenerative travel” content material technique constructed on the “essential desire to return to travel to improve ourselves, our relationships, and our world.”

The technique encompassed 4 journey storytelling pillars: self, relationships, neighborhood, and world. The tales appeared on Marriott’s owned editorial and social media channels and third-party publishing companions’ websites.

@Marriott’s regeneration #ContentStrategy was built around three storytelling pillars – self, relationships, community, and world, says @anniegranat via @GregLevinsky @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Owned editorial

In implementing the regenerative journey content material technique, they revealed content material to assist individuals learn to journey higher on their digital journal Marriott Bonvoy Traveler.

Among the tip-driven articles: How To Be a Responsible – and More Mindful – Traveler and Make Travel Meaningful with 6 Regenerative Experiences Around the Globe. The interactive storytelling featured widescreen, cinematic, and interactive containers to captivate readers. They additionally touched on matters like supporting New York City’s LGBTQ+ spaces and the tiny island the place vacationers might go for conservation and humanities.

“They showed the really cool things you could do to have a more meaningful vacation,” Annie says.

Bonvoy Traveler’s e-newsletter (the journal’s main distribution technique) that includes the extra significant journey tales skilled a 28% open price, a lot increased than the norm.

Publisher partnerships

Marriott collaborated with The Washington Post Creative Group to create an outlet for storytellers from underrepresented backgrounds to share how they journey higher.

They invited individuals to use to be the next great travel storytellers on The Washington Post’s web site and social media channels. The software course of proved fruitful. The storytellers have been then assigned “beats” based mostly on current reader traits – less-traveled cities, nature locations with fewer individuals, and connecting with locals.

“If you’re working with publishing partners, get them to tell you what’s trending on their channels with their audience,” Annie says.

Marriott selected these storytellers and angles to cowl:

  • Charlotte Simpson, “The Traveling Black Widow,” who took up solo journey after her husband’s dying, wrote about visiting Buffalo, New York, for the so-called “second cities” beat.
  • Jaylyn Gough, a member of the Navajo Nation and founding father of Native Women’s Wilderness, wrote about returning to the reservation the place she was born however not the place she grew up. Her nature-off-the-beaten-path content material tied in with readers’ need to search out much less crowded locations to discover nature.
  • Jeff Jenkins, founding father of the web neighborhood Chubby Diaries and a passionate advocate for plus-size vacationers, went to the Florida Keys to learn from the locals methods to scuba dive and replant coral within the reefs off Key Largo.

Each story included a mix of textual content, images, videography, and audio. But the content material didn’t finish there. To attain Gen Z, they revealed TikToks aplenty.

@washingtonpost #ad What is regenerative journey? @MarriottBonvoy member @chubbydiaries breaks it down. #TravelMakesUs #TikTokTravel ♬ original sound – We are a newspaper.

The metrics show the sponsored content material partnership’s success. As Annie studies:

  • 90% of readers meant to take motion with Marriott
  • 80% agree Marriott supplies an inclusive atmosphere
  • 28% of TikTookay customers recall seeing Marriott Bonvoy content material

Marriott labored with Vox Media to create content material targeted on training, inspiration, and motion. It resulted in an explainer video in regards to the science of journey and the way it improves individuals’s minds and feelings, private tales about travel sparking creativity, and an interactive quiz to assist individuals plan a journey based mostly on science with Marriott.

Don’t go for protected when occasions get powerful

Adversity might have a destructive impact in your content material advertising technique, however it may be became a constructive whenever you rethink what you’re creating and who you’re creating it for.

“When shit hits the fan, companies sometimes can be scared to say anything and go really safe,” Annie says. “We did the exact opposite, and it worked.”

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Cover picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute