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Marriott engages millennials with events

News, 07 September 2016

CHICAGO: Marriott International, the hotels group, is leveraging a distinct slate of events and partnerships to help it engage more deeply with millennial consumers.

Jennifer Utz, Marriott International's Vice President/Buzz Marketing and Partnerships, discussed this subject at IEG's 2016 Sponsorship Conference.

More specifically, she revealed how moving into the field of events and entertainment promises to assist the firm – which "needed a different approach" – build bonds with the millennial audience.

"We're trying to create our events from scratch," she continued. (For more, including further details of the company's strategy, read Warc's exclusive report: Marriott's loyalty program links entertainment and technology.)

The ten criteria considered by the company when pursuing this activity span the ability to "surprise and delight" consumers, creating powerful experiences, enabling personalisation, tapping new technology and attracting attention.

One example involved working with Netflix to incorporate the video-streaming platform into the in-room entertainment systems offered at many locations run by the Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance and Courtyard brands.

"We consider Netflix our technology partner," Utz added, "but also our entertainment partner. On the technology-side, it was a huge operational undertaking to put Netflix in all of our hotel rooms."

In building on this tie-up, the two firms also worked together on a live event in New York City celebrating the launch of season three of "Orange is the New Black".

More specifically, they targeted super-fans of the show on Twitter, and invited them to a unique event linked to the prison-based series in the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square.

Similarly, a partnership with Universal Music Group has enabled Marriott to utilise some of its locations as venues for live music performances, an approach it successfully leveraged during South by Southwest (SXSW) 2016.

"We get hundreds of emails, tweets, and comments following these events, thanking us over and over again for the unbelievable experience that people are able to have as a result of our partnerships," Utz said.

Data sourced from Warc