January 24, 2022
The global hotelier is launching a contest to recruit three individuals who will essentially serve as TikTok correspondents—chronicling their experiences at Marriott properties around the world over the course of nearly a year on the popular video social media app, reports Fortune.
“As the world inches back to a place of normalcy, travel is one of those primal needs that we feel needs to be met,” Brian Povinelli, SVP of Brand, Loyalty, and Portfolio marketing at Marriott International, tells Fortune. “This initiative will amplify wanderlust and spark the motivation to travel by facilitating a true trip around the world that allows viewers and potential adventurers to experience each destination to the fullest.”
Marriott has a strong social media presence already—across Instagram especially, with frequently updated and numerous accounts for the parent company and subsidiaries, as well as individual locations. Marriott Bonvoy joined TikTok last year. But why TikTok (over say, Instagram or Snapchat) for this particular program?
Povinelli answers simply: TikTok is where people are at. “It’s what they’re paying attention to, and it reaches the audience that we are keen on engaging. TikTok, by necessity—due to the parameters of the platform—encourages would-be travelers to be creative, succinct, and brief in their appeal to be a Marriott Bonvoy TikTok Correspondent,” Povinelli continues. “It forces people to use a finite amount of time to make a big impact. And because TikTok is so pervasive, we feel it creates an inviting environment for anyone who feels moved by this initiative to be able to participate.”
Winners will get to stay at properties across the entire Marriott Bonvoy portfolio, including The Ritz-Carlton and Westin Hotels and Resorts, Courtyard by Marriott, and Autograph Collection Hotels. It also includes at least one stay in one of the over 50,000 luxury home rentals listed on Homes & Villas by Marriott International.
The stays are only the beginning of what the correspondents will be receiving. Other perks include airfare between destinations; Uber vouchers; a $10,000 Marriott Bonvoy Gift Card to cover items such as on-property meals, spa services, and activities; a “Take Me Away” kit featuring items from branded online retail stores on Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques; progression toward Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status, giving participants the opportunity to unlock exclusive benefits like late check-out, room upgrades, and more, even once their 300-day travel experiences are over; and a $15,000 check to use as desired.
Prospective applicants must be at least 21 years of age and be permanent residents of the United States. And for anyone who wants to (and can) continue their existing day jobs while working remotely, Marriott says the trips are flexible, and will allow for both work and travel for those with a position that allows.
“This opportunity is not for the faint of heart, but it is also open to all travelers, whether seasoned or just starting out on their journey,” Povinelli says. “We recommend that applicants think realistically about their ability and desire to travel around the world for up to 300 days (divided amongst several trips) ….While arguably an experience of a lifetime, the right person should be well equipped for the adventure.”
While Povinelli notes that Marriott doesn’t want to see the correspondents glued to their phones for the entire experience, the goal is to see each person post at least once per day while on a trip—whether that be about the current hotel stay, the food, locals, cultural experiences, or whatever else may be important or interesting to that correspondent that day. There is no prescribed length for the videos—some may be a minute or longer if a winner has an interesting story to tell our members, while others may be a few seconds of a funny or inspiring moment from the road, or just chiming in on a TikTok trend, Povinelli explains.
“We want to see energy, paired with genuine excitement and an attitude that embraces change and new experiences with optimism and wonder,” Povinelli says.
‘They should also have a vigor for life and a desire to challenge the status quo,’ Povinelli says. ‘They should be curious, empathetic, inquisitive and able to adjust and be nimble when things don’t go as planned. People that are interested in growth and pursue it with tenacity and enthusiasm.’
After the deadline passes, three individuals will be selected and begin their journeys in spring 2022; dates subject to change in accordance with CDC and international travel guidelines. While the winners are not guaranteed any full-time or permanent positions once the 300 days are up, Povinelli says the possibility is there for a continued partnership.
“Ultimately, we’re looking for that intangible star quality,” Povinelli says. “Travel has the unique ability to change perspectives, open people’s eyes to new ways of doing things while bringing people together. The ideal person would recognize the power of travel and embrace it throughout the trip by truly embodying what it means to be a travel correspondent with an attitude that is both curious and eager to welcome every experience.”
Research contact: @FortuneMagazine