When Marriott International acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide in 2016, the number of brands under the hospitality giant’s umbrella grew to 30. It has since proven to be an advantageous move, but the expansion also meant that it would be more difficult for consumers and employees alike to identify the unique personality and value proposition of each brand. So to give its sales and marketing associates an opportunity to truly experience and understand each individual brand’s value, Marriott transformed its biannual Americas Leadership Summit into a dynamic multisensory experience for over 1,400 employees.
Reminiscent of Refinery29’s 29Rooms experience, this year’s conference, dubbed MI30, was held April 29 to May 2 at the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta where the brand turned the hotel’s atrium, conference rooms and restaurants into a series of immersive experiences. Attendees could explore individual vignettes meticulously curated to reflect the character of 25 different Marriott brands. (Smaller-scale MI30 events featuring six to eight Marriott brands will also be popping up at sales conferences across the country this summer.) Employees were also encouraged to download the QR code-enabled MI30 app and to scan any hotel logo. The user was then directed to that brand’s landing page and offered more information on its selling points.
More From Marriott’s Event Portfolio:
- Marriott Turns a Trade Show Exhibit Into a Mobile Innovation Lab
- Irvine Marriott Unveils a Redesign With a Multisensory Event Series
“The traditional route would be to go and give [employees] toolkits and assets and load them up with information, but when you have such an overload of information at a three-day conference, it’s hard to really walk away and connect with what you’ve been told,” says Diana Pavlov, senior director-global entertainment marketing at Marriott International. “We wanted people to touch, feel, see and learn about the brands in a completely unexpected way.”
Read on for a taste of the experiential action from the 2018 Americas Leadership Summit—and enjoy your stay. Agency: BMF Media, New York City.
To reflect the “boldly coloring outside the lines of luxury” tagline of W Hotels, Marriott designed a stark white room decorated with oversized framed objects that served as a blank canvas where attendees could literally color outside the lines. A table at the center of the room featured paintbrushes and pools of vibrant colors to choose from, each aligning with one of six key W experiences, like cocktail culture or provocative design.
The Luxury Collection
To bring this collection to life, Marriott created a concierge desk where a brand representative greeted attendees and directed them to three portals designed to immerse them in three diverse environments. By peering through the peephole of each portal, attendees were digitally transported to destinations within Peru, Thailand and the western U.S.
In addition to a DIY beer bar, bold pink accents and comic book-themed décor, the Aloft vignette included a handful of “sound boxes” that attendees could literally stick their heads into to learn about the brand’s eight-year-old Project Aloft Star Competition, an initiative that supports emerging musicians.
Moxy’s target consumer is an independent “fun hunter,” it says, so what better to reflect that than an adult-sized hanging ball pit and “play on” messaging? The non-traditional hospitality experience encouraged attendees to jump into the pit and search for hidden prizes and hotel perks referred to as “hook-ups.” There was also a front desk featuring welcome cocktails, a feature available upon check-in at Moxy properties.
For its business traveler-focused SpringHill Suites property, Marriott created an immersive indoor planetarium that played on the brand’s promise of more space at its properties. The experience included a 360-degree fiber optic installation, as well as constellations papering the exterior of the structure with more messaging about SpringHill Suites’ amenities.