Marriott International Uses Social Media and Influencer Marketing to Broaden Its Audience in India
Marriott International began its journey in India in 1999. Over the past 20 years, the country has become one of Marriott's most important markets and main sources of income, coming second only to China.
In November 2018, Marriot International announced a collaboration with English entertainment channel AXN to create an engaging culinary challenge. The contest was dubbed the "AXN Marriot Challenge" and was promoted on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #AXNMarriottChallenge. The aim of the promotion was to showcase Marriott International's talented chefs across its wide range of hotels in India and to create some organic content for social media sharing and consumption.
Social Media Marketing
Marriott International has a global reputation for the culinary expertise of its staff. The AXN Marriott Challenge aims to bring together all its chefs in India and encourage them to demonstrate their best cooking skills within a tight timeframe. This has helped Marriott to create a buzz on social media, gain a large amount of organic publicity, and reach out to a more diverse and younger generation of customers.
The AXN Marriott Challenge involves each chef uploading a short video, boomerang, or slow-motion clip to Instagram. These eye-catching visuals allow the chefs to show off their skills and build excitement for the great food being served at Marriott locations. The intercompany challenge spread rapidly throughout the organization and quickly became one of the most sought-after social tags for Marriott chefs.
"At Marriott, we aim to forge a culinary path while meeting emerging customer trends, and catering to the different cultures and traditions of the market," said Area Vice President of South Asia for Marriott International, Neeraj Govil. "We believe great food brings people together and this association gives us yet another platform to showcase our food and beverage offerings which are as diverse and different as the brands in our portfolio, each backed by the impeccable service our customers have come to expect from us."
Social media has provided Marriott with a contemporary method of advertising the products and services it offers to its customers. The #AXNMarriottChallenge hashtag gained more than 95 million impressions on Twitter over a three-month period, organically trending from the day of its release and creating a natural buzz around the hotel and its branding.
Food is an essential part of any holiday. By combining social media marketing with the natural excitement which exists around dining, Marriott has been able to encourage more bookings at its hotels. Choosing Instagram - a platform which already has a very strong culinary community and following - as the backbone of the campaign enabled Marriott to reach out to an audience which is passionate about food.
The launch event for the #ANXMarriottChallenge was also noteworthy. It was designed to be an interactive activity which encourages food influencers to participate in the cook-off and share their experiences on social media. Through these influencers, the reach of the challenge grew even further and spread to a much larger audience.
Not only were food influencers encouraged to take part in sharing their experiences on social media, but there were also several digital aggregators which covered the launch in real-time on their widely-followed social media pages. This added new audiences to the contest, as people engaged with the aggregators and their followers.
Finally, Marriott released a behind-the-scenes video which revealed sneak peeks into the cook-off which could be shared on social media platforms. Famous Indian actress Chitrangda Singh, who was acting as a judge for the contest, further boosted the audience Marriott was able to reach.
"I am honored to associate with Marriott International and AXN - two highly-respected names in the country, and world over," said Singh. "This association gives me a chance to truly explore my passion for food, as the chefs whip up their magic and produce sensorial delights. I also look forward to making my very first tie-up with AXN a memorable one."
Using such a prominent celebrity figure and engaging her followers, Marriott was able to reach yet more people and generate further buzz and excitement.
In combining the large number of people involved in creating the spectacular dishes served in Marriott's hotel restaurants with the hot trend of sharing images of food on social media, the company has created a marketing opportunity which has resulted in a large amount of coverage and reached a wide and diverse audience.
You can hear Marriott's VP of Custoer Engagement Centers Technology, Thomas McDaniel, speak at Digital Travel Connect US 2019, taking place this October at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego, CA.
Download the agenda today for more information and insights.