Following a growing trend of marketers becoming publishers, Marriott, the international hotel chain, recently announced the formation of a new global content studio dedicated to publishing, distributing and sharing digital and filmed story-driven content for their portfolio of 18 travel-related brands. The goal is to further the company's focus on next-generation travellers and driving new business through a unique, engaging content community. The idea is quite unique in the travel industry, but there is precedence in the shape of Red Bull and GoPro, both of which took a similar approach in the field of action sports and brand like Nike and Pepsi have had similar internal resources for years.
The goal is to further the company's focus on next-generation travellers and driving new business through a unique, engaging content community
Karin Timpone, the global marketing officer for Marriott, said the studio “Represents a bold step forward for Marriott, both in the industry and among leading brands." She adds that the purpose of the studio, which has yet to be given an official name, is to “Create and establish original content as a key component of the company's global marketing strategy.“ She also outlines that it will consist of three groups; Creative, Entertainment and Live. These groups will cover (respectively) content development, the production of video content ranging from web clips to TV shows, and real-time marketing using social media. Though it would appear this covers pretty much all bases, it's thought that Marriott will be continuing to work with external agencies as and when needed.
The Navigator Live featuring Walk The Moon
The studio will be led by Dan Beebe, Marriott's vice president of creative & content marketing, and global marketing, who has experience in original scripted content, having joined the company from the Disney/ABC Television Group. He says that rather than “Talking at” consumers, they will be “Speaking with them using attention-grabbing content,” which will add value by “Providing them with information and entertainment at the right time and in the right context.” he adds that "While content is just part of the overall travel experience,” they feels that “Marriott can become the world's leading publisher of travel lifestyle content for the next generation.”
The studio will be led by Dan Beebe, who has experience in original scripted content, having joined the company from the Disney/ABC Television Group
The studio arrives at market with significant talent and project development deals already in place. Sonia Gil (of “Sonia's Travels” travel vlogging series) is already signed up to the studio, as is 'Substance Over Hype', a group known for “Fusing the world's best in movement and music.” SOH has already signed up to produce a short film for the studio called “Two Bellmen,” an action-comedy about “A happy-go-lucky bellman and his hapless counterpart, who proves their company loyalty when the JW Marriott LA LIVE comes under siege by 'The Purple Panthers,' the most notorious smash and grab art thieves of our time.” other notable talents signed up include YouTube personality Shira Lazar and musical comedian and actress Taryn Southern, who has a staggering 250 million views across the web. One project is already in distribution on AXS TV. The series (which is called “The Navigator Live,”) sees indie music artists performing live and highlighting their experiences on the road.
Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer and musician from Kidderminster in the UK who once dropped a phone in the pool at a Marriott hotel.