September 21, 2023

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

That proved true for the content material crew at Marriott Worldwide. Annie Granatstein, vp of content material advertising and marketing, shared her model’s story across the pandemic-related decimation of journey – and the following 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

Lower than a 12 months into the pandemic, pent-up demand for journey reached its apex. In response to U.S. individuals in a February 2021 Trivago survey:

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

These outcomes point out a primary have to journey – seemingly on the size of Maslow’s hierarchy of wants, Annie notes. Now, think about a December 2020 Finder Survey during which 74% stated they wished to raised themselves – a 15% improve over the earlier (pre-pandemic) 12 months. Lastly, think about a February 2021 American Specific survey the place 59% of respondents stated they had been all for “philantourism,” the mixture of philanthropy and tourism.

The journey viewers world seems completely different.

“Folks didn’t wish to simply return to 2019 and to the identical world,” Annie says. “They didn’t need issues to return to regular. They need a greater regular.”

@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

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

Journey is deadly to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and plenty 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 instances of 2020 and deliberate the Journey Makes Us marketing campaign.

Planning the journey content material technique

Not lengthy after the marketing campaign thought 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 and marketing lead, it fell to her and the content material crew to translate the Journey Makes Us idea into content material.

They created the content material round three moments: viewers (have to journey), cultural (want to raised the world), and model (champion of a much bigger and higher world for all). They dubbed it the “regenerative journey” content material technique constructed on the “important want to return to journey to enhance ourselves, {our relationships}, and our world.”

The technique encompassed 4 journey storytelling pillars: self, relationships, group, 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 printed content material to assist individuals discover ways to journey higher on their digital journal Marriott Bonvoy Traveler.

Among the many 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 bins to captivate readers. Additionally they touched on subjects like supporting New York City’s LGBTQ+ spaces and the tiny island the place vacationers might go for conservation and humanities.

“They confirmed the actually cool issues you would do to have a extra significant trip,” Annie says.

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

Writer partnerships

Marriott collaborated with The Washington Publish Inventive 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 Publish’s web site and social media channels. The applying course of proved fruitful. The storytellers had been then assigned “beats” based mostly on current reader traits – less-traveled cities, nature locations with fewer individuals, and connecting with locals.

“In case you’re working with publishing companions, get them to let you know what’s trending on their channels with their viewers,” Annie says.

Marriott selected these storytellers and angles to cowl:

  • Charlotte Simpson, “The Touring 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 Ladies’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’ want to seek out much less crowded locations to discover nature.
  • Jeff Jenkins, founding father of the net group Chubby Diaries and a passionate advocate for plus-size vacationers, went to the Florida Keys to learn from the locals learn how to scuba dive and replant coral within the reefs off Key Largo.

Every story included a mix of textual content, images, videography, and audio. However the content material didn’t finish there. To achieve Gen Z, they printed TikToks aplenty.

@washingtonpost #ad What’s 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 gives an inclusive atmosphere
  • 28% of TikTok customers recall seeing Marriott Bonvoy content material

Marriott labored with Vox Media to create content material centered 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 visit based mostly on science with Marriott.

Don’t go for secure when instances get robust

Adversity could have a unfavorable impact in your content material advertising and marketing technique, however it may be was a constructive if you rethink what you’re creating and who you’re creating it for.

“When shit hits the fan, firms typically might be scared to say something and go actually secure,” Annie says. “We did the precise reverse, and it labored.”

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Cowl picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content material Advertising and marketing Institute