ATLANTA Marriott International is no stranger to spicing up the traditional conference format. For the last edition of its biannual sales and marketing conference in 2016, the hotel company highlighted aesthetics of its signature brands with a fashion show.

For this year’s conference, which took place April 29 to May 2, Marriott felt the challenge to present sales and marketing employees innovative programming; the conference was the first to host both Marriott and Starwood Hotel & Resorts employees, following Marriott’s acquisition of the company in fall 2016.

Diana Pavlov, senior director of global entertainment marketing for Marriott International, said the goal for this year’s Marriott International Americas Leadership Summit—also coined MI30—was to educate sales and marketing employees about its portfolio of 30 hotel brands and how they differ from one another by appealing to their senses. As Marriott had to showcase its portfolio to roughly 1,400 employees (naturally, the event’s highest attendance ever), the brand partnered with experiential marketing company BMF Media Group to create 25 interactive vignettes that each were designed to reflect a different hotel brand’s positioning, aesthetic, and values.

Taking inspiration from Instagrammable pop-up museums such as Refinery29’s 29Rooms, the vignettes were staged throughout the atrium, meeting rooms, and restaurants at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.

“Consumers who get the opportunity to frequent pop-up experiences walk away with an everlasting impression of that experience, whether it’s something that lives on social media or touches their senses,” said Pavlov. “You can have a traditional trade show floor and presentation, but we wanted to have guests touch, see, feel, and hear [to learn about] a brand in a digestible format.”

Marriott also created an MI30 mobile app that complemented each installation. Attendees could capture the brand logo with a QR scanner on the app, which would direct them to the landing page for that brand. “The landing page was where you could get more factual information,” said Pavlov. “The intent was to make the information snack-able, without pouring a ton of data on attendees. They could read one paragraph and walk away knowing more about that brand.”

Vignettes included participatory art stations for W Hotels and Tribute Portfolio, which invited attendees to paint and color life-size canvases; a mini planetarium for SpringHill Suites; a branded game of Twister for Courtyard; a chic, travel-theme swing set for Le Meridien; and Sheraton’s massive black scratch-off wall that revealed brand messaging when attendees scratched the wall with hotel key cards.

Pavlov said planning for the experience, which had to be strategically staged while attendees were attending general conference sessions, began seven months prior to the event. Marriott worked with each hotel brand leader to identify each brand’s values and proposition. Pavlov then worked with BMF to design the immersive vignettes, each of which went through five rounds of review with brand leaders and key stakeholders.

“The vignettes were small footprints, but we wanted to lean in on what is in that brand’s DNA,” said Pavlov. “By putting the brands at the forefront as our strategy, we hoped employees would become emotionally connected with the brands, and in turn sell them to their full potential going forward.”

Here’s a look at some of the most engaging brand vignettes at the conference.

<p> BMF Media Group designed 25 activations that each were reflective of a specific Marriott hotel brand. For the Aloft...

BMF Media Group designed 25 activations that each were reflective of a specific Marriott hotel brand. For the Aloft Hotels “Listen Up” section, the design reflected the brand’s passion for music and technology innovation. A structure with four cube-shape directional speakers was built to allow guests to place their heads inside and listen to artists from brand’s “Live at Aloft Hotels” concert series.

Photo: Courtesy of Marriott

<p> Moxy, which is known for having a fun, millennial-focused aesthetic, showcased a “Play On” area that featured a ball...

Moxy, which is known for having a fun, millennial-focused aesthetic, showcased a “Play On” area that featured a ball pit hanging from a truss cube. Guests were invited to jump in and search for prizes in the hot pink plastic balls. The station also had a bar that served cocktails in Capri Sun-inspired pouches.

Photo: Courtesy of Marriott

<p> Courtyard’s “Classics with a Twist” was inspired by the game Twister, featuring a structure that resembled an oversize game...

Courtyard’s “Classics with a Twist” was inspired by the game Twister, featuring a structure that resembled an oversize game board on the floor that extended to the walls. The dots on the game board represented Courtyard’s brand positioning, food and beverage concepts, partnerships, and the breadth of the brand’s portfolio. Attendees were encouraged by brand representatives to participate in a game of Twister as a photo op.

Photo: Courtesy of Marriott

<p> Element’s “Balancing Act” featured a living wall of moss and greenery with letters spelling out the eco-conscious brand’s tagline....

Element’s “Balancing Act” featured a living wall of moss and greenery with letters spelling out the eco-conscious brand’s tagline. The floor mimicked a natural bike path with wood chips and grass. Three green bicycles were mounted in front of the greenery as a photo op for attendees.

Photo: Courtesy of Marriott

<p> As the brand positioning of Autograph Collection is that every property has “its own unique story,” BMF created a...

As the brand positioning of Autograph Collection is that every property has “its own unique story,” BMF created a library-inspired installation with a massive book staged in the center of the space. The book highlighted Autograph properties and brand pillars.

Photo: Courtesy of Marriott

<p> While many stations incorporated color, Delta Hotels “Clean/Chaos” featured a white bedroom set staged in front of a string...

While many stations incorporated color, Delta Hotels “Clean/Chaos” featured a white bedroom set staged in front of a string art installation. The string material spelled out the brand’s name and tagline: “Delta Hotels. Simple Made Perfect.”

Photo: Courtesy of Marriott

<p> Le Meridien’s “Swings of Glamour” featured a chic travel-theme swing set photo op, designed to remind guests about the...

Le Meridien’s “Swings of Glamour” featured a chic travel-theme swing set photo op, designed to remind guests about the meaning of savoring a travel experience. The activation was inspired by the “France is in the Air” campaign from Air France—the founder of the hotel brand.

Photo: Courtesy of Marriott

<p> The Renaissance Hotels “Navigators Hot(e)line” was designed to highlight the local and personalized service offered by the brand’s Navigators—hotel...

The Renaissance Hotels “Navigators Hot(e)line” was designed to highlight the local and personalized service offered by the brand’s Navigators—hotel employees that give guests tips on finding local experiences. Five rotary phones were placed on plinths in front of a black wall showcasing quotes related to destinations including Dubai, New York, and Beijing. Guests who picked up the phones heard pre-recorded audio from Navigators offering tips for that particular destination.

Photo: Courtesy of Marriott

<p> For W Hotels “Color Boldly,” BMF built an all-white room that served as a blank canvas. The room’s centerpiece...

For W Hotels “Color Boldly,” BMF built an all-white room that served as a blank canvas. The room’s centerpiece presented six paint colors that corresponded to six W experiences, which were described on labels.

Photo: Courtesy of Marriott

<p> SpringHill Suites’s “Space to Infinity” provided guests with an indoor planetarium experience. The exterior of the cube featured constellation-style...

SpringHill Suites’s “Space to Infinity” provided guests with an indoor planetarium experience. The exterior of the cube featured constellation-style brand messaging.

Photo: Courtesy of Marriott

<p> Inside the SpringHill Suites cube, guests could walk around and “stargaze.” A 360-degree fiber optic installation provided the starry...

Inside the SpringHill Suites cube, guests could walk around and “stargaze.” A 360-degree fiber optic installation provided the starry night effect.

Photo: Courtesy of Marriott

<p> The Luxury Collection offered guests three “portals” designed to virtually transport them around the world. Guests were greeted by...

The Luxury Collection offered guests three “portals” designed to virtually transport them around the world. Guests were greeted by a “concierge” who directed them to the closed doors. When guests looked through the door peep holes, they saw digital vignettes of locations in Peru, Thailand, and off the coast of the western U.S.

Photo: Courtesy of Marriott

<p> Tribute Portfolio’s “Add Your Own Color” featured a life-size coloring book, inspired by the brand’s colorful aesthetic. The content...

Tribute Portfolio’s “Add Your Own Color” featured a life-size coloring book, inspired by the brand’s colorful aesthetic. The content of the coloring book design offered illustrations and names of Tribute destinations.

Photo: Courtesy of Marriott

Source: BizBash