BETHESDA, MD: Marriott Hotels and Resorts recently launched a PR initiative and survey on business travel trends as part of its ongoing efforts to differentiate the brand from its other hotels, said Paula Butler, senior director of PR at Marriott International.
The “Global Business Trends in the 3rd Millennium" survey, in part triggered by an uptick in business travel, was the company's first public poll designed to drive headlines rather than generate marketing research, she said. Data for the survey, commissioned by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, covered cultural and generational trends in business travelers.
“We needed a platform to bring this [brand campaign] to life to position it as a global leader in business travel,” she said. “We wanted to extend the marketing platform beyond advertising and one of the ways to do it was to commission this poll.”
She added, “We thought it'd be a good time to check in with business travelers,” who account for the majority of its travelers. “Our success is tied to theirs.”
To generate media coverage, the team, working with the The Dilenschneider Group, released the data in a total of seven cities throughout the US, China, UK, and Germany via virtual rolling press briefings hosted by various Marriott properties. The briefings also gave the team an opportunity to promote Marriott's new GoThere Virtual Meetings studios and telepresence technology.
She added that this initiative could be the first in a series of PR efforts targeting business travelers, potentially including an annual poll, a spokesperson, and multimedia content "that speaks to the needs of these business travelers."
The team will also continue to leverage the research during the rollout of various leisure promotions related to fitness and environmental efforts, as well as the launch of new lobbies.
"Much of the research indicates we're on right on track in terms of relaxing and escape," she said. "It gives us a context to talk about a lot of those initiatives."