Shortlisted 2016




Lead Agency



The Challenge

Marriott’s ‘Courtyard’ hotels are situated in fantastic locations across Europe, however the brand operates at the ‘no frills’ end of the market, seen as a very functional stay. The task: inject some energy in to the brand, target business travellers in key regions and give them more reasons to shortlist. Marriott’s ‘Courtyard’ wanted to inject some energy into all those business trips and encourage frequent business travellers to ‘make room for a little fun’ whilst away.

Elevate Courtyard from simply a modestly-priced business hotel to a launchpad for truly enjoying what a city has to offer.

The Strategy

In 2014 we developed a ‘SoLoMo’ platform called UrbanTips based on the premise that ‘a picture paints a thousand words’. We were drawn to the simple but powerful insight that photos reveal the wonder of foreign travel, in a microsecond.

It remains true that business travellers wear their travel experiences like a badge of honour – genuine social currency, it’s more than just going to work. But for 2015 we didn’t want to rest on our laurels, we had to evolve our already hugely successful platform and take things to the next level, UrbanTips 2.0!

The average business traveller has an incredibly busy schedule and a maximum of 4 hours to be themselves and explore the city they’re visiting.
They need information on the move, on their mobile and on their tablet; short chunks of digestible content. They don’t have the time to read long tourist reviews.

We wanted to super-charge our influencer strategy and give travellers more of what they want in a medium they are increasingly turning to for info – video.
We were targeting business travellers from Germany, France, Russia and the UK, so we needed to create a campaign that instinctively engaged people from a range of different cultures and languages.

The Implementation

We ignored the usual route.

Using the insight that 80% of travellers seek out online reviews, rather than doing a travelogue social media programme, sponsoring travel sections in Airline Magazines, using BBCWW, CNN or posters in airport lounges,
we decided our most powerful weapon was a simple one: the mobile phone. Social is mobile and mobile is social. Frequent business travellers aren’t an alien species, they use social channels in their everyday lives like everyone else. Instagram, the platform of paradise for casual ‘content-ographers’ the world over, was the perfect partner for multi-market execution especially as travel is the largest category on Instagram it was content-ripe territory.

We evaluated the most credible influencers in our 4 key cities Berlin, St Petersburg, London & Paris and commissioned a series of video vignettes espousing the virtues and hidden gems of their home cities and
encouraging travellers to create memories of their own to be shared on UrbanTips. To drive traffic to the hub we sought out vendors with unique, mobile opportunities allowing us to geo-locate activity, hotspotting specific
Courtyard properties within a 3m radius to provide users with #urbantips in their current location and subsequently encourage engagement, creation and sharing of their own experiences.

We worked hard to hand-select partners to help deliver our vision and collectively we created first-of-their-kind, bespoke ad formats with creative straightforwardly educating users, from within the ad, on the 3 simple steps to
submit photos and then allowed them to launch the Instagram app directly from the ad unit – how easy is that!

You can’t just “be” on Instagram; you need to offer a valuable resource that tangibly links the product to what consumers need and want from experiencing a city.

The Result

Results are still pouring in at the time of writing with content submissions outpacing 2014 by 12%, influencer content reach of over 2.5m and paid impressions of over 37m.

“UrbanTips has surpassed all expectations. For something we initially viewed as a trial it has proved so successful our Global US HQ is looking to replicate it stateside. We couldn’t be happier!” Reenah Blank, Field Marketing Director, Marriott Europe.