Marriott seeks TikTok creators to drive content around loyalty program

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • Marriott International is using TikTok to find three people to create content for the brand while they travel to its global properties over 300 days, per details emailed to Marketing Dive.
  • As official Marriott Bonvoy TikTok Correspondents, winners will be expected to creatively document everything they encounter on TikTok and other platforms of their choice, producing content that reinforces how essential travel can be. Interested parties must create a TikTok video between Jan. 18 and March 18 that makes the case for why they would be the best Marriott travel correspondents to embark on such a journey and tells how travel has shaped them, with bonus points for creativity.
  • As it seeks to boost engagement with its Bonvoy loyalty program, the effort puts Marriott in the company of brands that are recognizing the growing relevance of TikTok, which appeals to young people, as well as the importance of user-created content.

Dive Insight:

With its “30 Stays, 300 Days” contest, Marriott is embracing user-created content (UCC) on a social media platform whose importance to marketers continues to grow exponentially. UGC accounts for 39% of media hours versus 61% for traditional studio media, according to research from the Consumer Technology Association and YouGov, making it a key tactic for marketers looking to engage with consumers — especially the younger ones that have flocked to TikTok.

The content-driven contest seeks to promote Bonvoy, Marriott’s loyalty program, which has evolved from a rewards program to a travel platform that includes everything from hotel and home rental stays to experiences and retail opportunities. It follows Marriott’s largest global campaign that rolled out last summer as hotel brands looked to make emotional appeals to capture pent-up pandemic demand for travel and experiences.

“Our goal with this initiative is to reignite passion for travel in leveraging Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio in a creative way with a digital-first mindset. Travel is without a doubt one of the strongest tools we have to bring people together, broaden horizons, and foster growth all with an unwavering spirit of curiosity,” Brian Povinelli, Marriott’s senior vice president of brand, loyalty and portfolio marketing, said in a press release.

TikTok contest winners will stay at properties across Marriott’s portfolio, including the Ritz-Carlton, Westin Hotels and one of the 50,000-plus home rentals listed on Homes & Villas by Marriott International, which launched in 2019. The three winners will also get round-trip airfare; exclusive experiential activations; a $10,000 Marriott Bonvoy gift card to cover items such as on-property meals, spa services and activities; a $15,000 check to use as desired; and a “Take Me Away” kit featuring items from the branded online retail stores on Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques.

Among loyalty rewards that Marriott’s winners will get are progression toward Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status, allowing them to unlock exclusive benefits like late checkout, room upgrades and more after their travel experience is over, plus vouchers for Uber, whereby members can link their accounts to earn Marriott Bonvoy points on select rides and food delivery. The content that winners create about their experiences could help Marriott market these features of the Bonvoy program.

Marriott Bonvoy made its debut on TikTok last June with a global “Power of Travel” campaign led by creative agency 72andSunny that invited users to share travel memories to an original sound used in campaign commercial spots.

As it continues to grow in importance as a platform for brands eyeing younger consumers, TikTok overtook Google as the most-visited website for the first time last year. It has more than 1 billion users worldwide with a bottomless feed of viral videos and easy-to-use tools for content creation. The platform is so successful at getting people to part with their money that the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has racked up 8 billion views. Products from leggings to carpet cleaners went viral on TikTok last year, thanks to the hashtag, and the platform has been working to make itself more lucrative for marketers and the creators they work with.

Brands are increasingly seeing the value of TikTok. For example, SmileDirectClub has ramped up its advertising on the platform after seeing strong results. The teeth-straightening retainer retailer found that TikTok delivers the best results with a combination of programmatic ads and organic engagement. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts announced just days ago that it plans to hire a social media content coordinator to expand its social media presence, especially on TikTok.

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