Marriott, Moxy Hotels, BSUR and Deep, Deep, Deep Customer Understanding

A new hotel brand announced earlier this year, Moxy Hotels has selected BSUR Amsterdam as their branding agency. The joint venture with Swedish furniture giant IKEA Group promises some 150 + 3-star boutique hotels to target Millennial Generation travelers across Europe in the coming years. But is Marriott really up for engaging Generation Y?

Moxy Hotels, the latest brand extension from Marriott International, shows a dogged interest in the European market by the world chain. With the boutique hotel market one of the most competitive in the world right now, branding a new budget chain amid competition from the likes of Tune and the independents, this will be no easy win for Marriott. And this competitiveness is further accentuated when traditional silo-ed corporations “put on” as engaged and tech savvy for a generation that can smell cobwebs ten miles off. Enter the PR fluffy Moxy dogma:

“Have you heard? There’s a game-changer in town. Marriott International’s newest player in the affordable 3-star-tier segment for Millennial global nomads.”

Even despite Moxy’s flagrant identity crisis so far, incorporating the IKEA name and brand acceptance into the mix can only be seen as a kind of strategic brilliance. And as for BSUR, Ramesh Jackson, global brand manager, Marriott International was quoted on The Drum:

“We have chosen BSUR Amsterdam, because they presented strong unconventional ideas that showed they deeply understand our target group of young international Millennials. They are as ‘visual and connected’ as our future guests will be.”


The BSUR “Likes” story – this profile does not speak to any generation, not yet.

Deeply, really? I’m just going to have to get tough on all three of these entities here. A report on our Argophilia Travel News was shared with me earlier this morning on this IKEA deal. To put it bluntly, our new policy where social media and connected customers is to call it like we see it. Nobody is going to benefit from “fuzzy” PR jokes any more, let’s just face it. Selecting BSUR made sense for a lot of reasons here, but not one of them  seems to point to that Denmark contingent deeply understanding Generation Y. Let me run down how come.

@BSURamsterdam – The firm’s Twitter contingent follows 95 people and has 991 followers. The channel’s 178 tweets, the level of engagement with Mellinials or anyone else, is simply a place holder in my view.

Moxy tagged BSUR not because of some deep, deep, deep understanding the firm has for trendy young people, but for the connections with entities like Cosmopolitan and others, along with BSUR’s other brands such as; MINI Global, Specsavers, Britvic Int’l, Davidoff Global, Camel, Wrangler Europe, Glamour Int’l, Funda, Parship, Radio 538, ONVZ, NUsport, WestlandUtrecht Bank, O’Neill Europe, WE Europe, and so on.

Or maybe I am hallucinating and all GEN Y peeps are out there awaiting the next Tasty Torso campaign on Facebook? BSUR uses this profile so sparingly the profile is literally useless for the purposes of branding or anything else really. The average private user engages more. Of course all those magazines and products listed in the previous paragraph do cater to the trend setting El cheapo glamour set, so maybe Gen Y can just read about Moxy at the dentist’s office while they wait?

Look, I’ve jumped on my high social media horse and tromped on the APCO Worldwide’s and Edelman’s of the world, all the big PR brands, for a lot less fluff than is going on here. It’s understandable to need to “ramp up” to technology, and understandable to lag behind where some facets are under-prioritized, but this kicking off with cliche statements of “coolness” and not a lot more? I’m sick of this from businesses with the resources to do better. This is so unnecessary.

Using a powerful tool I’m testing called “Mention” it’s pretty simple to compare relative “DEEPNESS” where engaging any generation goes. The graphic below is a comparison in between someone who really has a deep understanding of the connected user, and BSUR’ mentions across the digital space the last period. As you can see, DEEP understanding is really deep, while lip service understanding is just that. Below I have compared the Godfather of connectedness, Brian Solis, to the communications firm Marriott and IKEA have chosen to “connect” the bread crumbs to young consumers. As you can see, deep understanding of a generation in no way involves communicating with them via their mediums.


Brian Solis has DEEP understanding of social – BSUR has some deep BS going on.

Look here. The fact Marriott, IKEA, and their brand evangelists are all set to evangelize to Generation Y, this in itself is behind the times thinking. Sure targeting young people is a desirable marketing strategy, but the next generation of traveler cannot really be segmented and compartmentalized in this way. Guest “experience”, as my friend Chris Brogan so aptly put it in speaking of The New Cities of the Web:

“Companies will have a really difficult time customizing the universe to our needs and interests. Any site dedicated to “your best view of Boston” can’t work. Why? Because it’s that site’s curator’s best view. It’s a vote-up’s best view. It’s the wisdom of the masses washed against data that fits the masses but not everyone, the same way we don’t all wear the same shirt size or shoe size.”

For Marriott and other corporations out there, it’s important to note just how connected and how individualized customers are becoming. What was a cookie cutter, mass production oriented business landscape, is now trending the other way. With these half hearted announcements and efforts into the Moxy venture, it’s  clear to me there are a lot more mistakes in the wind before 150 super cool Europe hotels spring up. You started by saying “we hear you”, but without any ears to hear the guests. You started by engaging an audience you “think” you know, when in reality you are so far detached from what they seek, how they operate, as is humanly possible.

Fusion Prague

Don’t like my assessment here? Your endeavor would be far better off in the long run “listening” to what I just said. Moxy is a nice concept, it’s not my fault you started off on the wrong foot marketing to connected consumers. Meanwhile, get the GQ Davidoff dude off the landing, your audience looks more like the people from the Fusion Hotel in Prague website (above).

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