This Surprising Marketing Tactic Increased Marriott’s Customer Demand By 51%

James Christopher
Apr 13, 2018 · 3 min read
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See how you can use the technique that doubled demand for Marriott’s services.

When it comes to marketing, it’s easy for your voice to get lost in the crowd. Although they do have their place, your Facebook Ads, blog posts — or any other traditional advertising — has to be heard amongst the immense noise and racket.

That’s why uncommon and unique marketing tactics can be incredibly effective. And Marriott Hotels did just that.

They started to place virtual reality headsets in their hotel rooms, which allowed users to experience traveling to different locations. From their hotel room in NYC, for instance, they could “travel” to Hawaii, or explore Peru.

And this was a lot more than a PR gimmick — 51% of their customers who used the VR experience said they wanted to stay at Marriott hotels more often.

So, why was this so effective (and how can you apply it to your business/brand)? Here are three takeaways:

1) Tie your brand to an experience

We’re living in what’s known as an “experience economy”, according to the experts at Harvard Business Review. Simply put, people are starting to value experiences and sharing them with others more than actual items themselves. In Marriott’s instance, they created a memorable event that went beyond a simple hotel room, and demand skyrocketed.

This doesn’t even have to involve VR, but you should consider tying your brand/product/anything to a memorable experience if you want to stand out. For instance, you can send personalized emails to valued customers, or create a meetup event to market your own brand.

2. VR doesn’t have to be expensive

According to marketing guru Neil Patel, VR will make a huge impact on the future of business. The good news is that virtual reality isn’t reserved for high-tech labs. With a simple cardboard headset, almost anyone can view VR from their smartphone. And with Google Tilt Brush, you can easily create VR content and art (and you don’t have to be a computer genius, either).

So give VR a try the next time you want to create a blog or video — it could be an excellent way to supercharge your content marketing in a unique way.

3. Start stirring up emotions

We’re all attracted to stories and their emotional impact, and since the beginning of capitalism, businesses have used this to drive profits. For example, beer or car ads on TV often say next to nothing about the products themselves — instead, they’ll invoke emotions through a narrative. (Like how Budweiser features ads of Clydesdale horses.)

I’m not saying you need to manipulate people’s emotions, but you should create a strategic brand narrative — that is, a story as to why people should care about you/your product.

As branding expert and Thinktopia CEO Patrick Hanlon put it, “ It is axiomatic that attaching yourself to a larger narrative is the key to success. (Quick easy examples — We don’t make computers, we put a ding in the universe, we think different. And: We don’t sell shoes, we’re trying to create positive change in our world.) It’s not about building a better widget, it’s about building a bigger dream.

The bottom line is that Marriott’s tactic can be applied to any brand or product. It’s all about making the effort to connect with customers in a unique a meaningful way.

Call to action: Learn more about virtual reality at, and please reach out to me there with any comments!

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James Christopher

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Marketing and PR fanatic — I love to write about everything business with a fresh take.

The Startup

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