But what might be even more impressive—and instructive for other brands—are the eight swivel chairs. Each seat in the glass room represents a different department such as PR/Comms, Social Media, Buzz Marketing, Creative + Content, and even one for MEC, a media-buying agency that amplifies well-performing content at a moment's notice.
On the informative side of the spectrum, there is Marriott Traveler, the brand version of Travel and Leisure. It's a digital magazine with informative-based content, such as tips on what to do and where to go in a city.
None of it is branded, meaning it sits on the Marriott.com platform and is presented by Marriott, but the content isn't about the brand. Marriott hire local journalists and influencers to create content that has a distinct point of view. Around that content, the brand promotes its relevant hotel rooms.
On the entertainment side of the spectrum, the brand produced two scripted short films: "French Kiss" by Marriott Hotels, shot in Paris, with over six million views on YouTube, and "Two Bellmen" by JW Marriott, shot in Los Angeles, with over five million views on YouTube.
Both are meant to entertain viewers with original storylines. There's no disruptive or cheesy brand integration. Renaissance Hotels also produces "Navigator Live," a half-hour television show about music artists in different cities that airs on AXS TV. The brand even developed exciting forays into virtual reality with Oculus Rift. The projects generated immediate success, from high engagement metrics to millions in direct revenue and even content licensing deals.
The brands also partner with influencers to help engage with next generation travelers. This includes takeovers of the Marriott Hotel's Snapchat channel. Marriott Rewards also partnered with YouTube star Grace Helbig, who also hosts a show on E!, to produce entertaining and comedy-driven spots that help sell the benefits of booking direct.
Although Marriott is very much building a media business—with plans to license short films and webisodes to places like Yahoo, AOL, Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon—M Live and the Marriott Content Studio are still very much a marketing initiative.