Hotel company Marriott International has launched it’s fourth ‘global command centre’, M Live London, dedicated to analysing social media trends and determining which of Marriott’s 19 brands certain content is best suited to. Data is presented on screens across the walls of the lab and allows team members to keep a track of relevant content to push out in real-time.
M Live gives Marriott International the ability to see if there is an uptick in traffic after it publishes a post, and whether a particular call to action is leading to bookings in a specific area, region or property.
It comes as part of the company’s bid to create “true two-way conversations” and to focus on “return on engagement” as opposed to return on investment.
Marriott International aims to tap into what the company refers to as its “next generation travellers”, a demographic consisting mainly of millennials who are best reached through social media.
The company aims to push content in an “organic” way and to reach current customers or convert potential customers.
Matthew Glick, senior director of global creative and content marketing, highlighted one example of organic content where M Live allowed the company to follow a man on his travels backpacking across Europe with a Lego figurine. He pictured the figurine in the foreground of photos and soon received a large social media following.
In reaction to identifying the man’s popularity, Marriott International got in touch with the traveller and said he could stay at one of its hotels in Seville. In return the traveller posted images of the figurine at the hotel and in his hotel room to his followers. “It needs to be the right opportunity and not forced in any way,” Glick said.
The fact that the company has now geo-fenced all of its properties in Europe also allows it to capture content that is emanating from property in real-time. “We can see if this [content] is hitting the goals we have set up and if not we are able to take it back down in a matter of minutes and tweak it with our graphic designers and put it straight back out there.”
Glick said he preferred to perceive the strategy as a return on engagement rather than a return on investment, as the company is driving customers to engage with content that is not always directly brand-related.
“We don’t want to always be talking about ourselves, we want to be organically participating in and engaging with conversations that aren’t always branded.”
Matthew Glick, senior director of global creative and content marketing, Marriott International
Other brands that are also getting involved with their own real-time marketing labs include Adidas and Mastercard, both of which have teams of people keeping an eye on the latest trending stories and working out if there is a chance to launch a promotion around them.
However, Glick says that in the hospitality sector competitors have “absolutely nothing as robust” as its own lab. He claims Marriott International’s differentiator is the fact that M Live is run in-house by the team that knows the brand’s voice the best.
“We have quickly established ourselves as a thought leader in a space I like to describe as the wild wild west. It is constantly changing, it is constantly evolving and we need to be nimble and evolve too,” he said.