#LoveTravels Launched (We Say Thank You, Marriott!)

Teen (16-17) girl lying on bed using smartphone

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It almost feels like I am in on a dirty secret, seeing the #LoveTravels video today after it was delivered by an online publication Skift that I exist to read. If you follow my check ins and Tweets, it is no secret that I travel — a lot,  and Mighty Media Group have worked with many highly recognised global travel related brands, and yes, we’re passionate about the travel industry.

Seeing that this video had only 63 views and knowing how big this is going to be almost feels like a guilty indulgence and better than dark chocolate at midnight. Watch for yourself and you will appreciate my inspiration for this post.  (This would have been great to show to top tier guests of their loyalty program with exclusive access if Marriott had thought to deploy some gamification in their strategy. #justsaying)

I was intrigued about this campaign and how Marriott is taking a bold position in dedicating its marketing resources to what has been “counter culture” in mainstream America. The airline and hospitality industries as employers have long supported their LGBT employees without discrimination, however Marriott are first to make this bold move rolling out the welcome mat to families of two or many, and frankly, I love it.

What I also loved about this campaign is that it extends beyond niche marketing and makes a broader statement and one that encourages everyone to participate. I know from the two months I have slept in hotels this year that hotels are lonely places where service means different things to different cultures. Japanese hotels are pristine, Malaysian hotels are less formal, and Club Med resorts shouldn’t be classified in the same category.

 

#LoveTravels with me” is something I have often felt, sharing elevator greetings and bows with strangers, breakfast buffets with people who don’t speak my language, eating things I neither say nor spell and finding patience with anyone who is different as a means to not lose it when communication is a barrier and I am socially inconvenienced. It has taught me a simple truth which is that smiles are universal and translate everywhere.

 

The presence of  Talisha – a real Marriott Digital employee – who appears with her “wife” proud of her company is powerful, money can’t buy kind of love. This is an authentic story that comes from inside its walls,  and compelling storytelling. That is the kind of passion that I encourage my clients to nurture with their employees. (They after all are your brand ambassadors!)

The #LoveTravels campaign will no doubt reach it’s target audience – the LGBT community and likely to force its competitors to open their conservative doors to compete with this American hospitality institution. In this game, I think equality wins, the community win, and we can all find a place where “No Bias” is the invisible Braille that translates on marketing campaigns briefs and on every fibre of their hotels literally and figuratively.

What do you think of Marriott’s bold move? Will this be the best viral marketing campaign for 2014?  Leave me your thoughts!

About the Author

Stephenie RodriguezStephenie Rodriguez founded Mighty Media Group, a leading data-driven digital, mobile and social marketing strategy and solutions firm, in 2004 and is currently the company’s Chief Executive Officer. She is also the former publisher of Ocean Drive Magazine (Australia), a sought after speaker and futurist on all aspects of social technology, an evangelist of engagement and big data application. She’s advised companies including SSP – The Food Travel Experts, Austereo, JR/DutyFree, ClubMed Asia Pacific, Transfield, Allied Mills, Income Solutions, Bayer (Berocca), Mercedes Benz, and the UN FAO. You’re likely to find her Tweeting here @digitalgodess or present at events such as #SXSWi, #TFWA, #Tedx and #SocialBiz.

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