By Sahil Patel
Led by digital media veteran David Beebe, the entertainment unit has moved swiftly since launch to build an expansive content slate, which includes development deals with influential YouTube and Vine talent.
The latest to join this talent pool include Louis Cole, a British filmmaker and YouTube star best known for his daily life and travel vlogs. He has more than 1 million subscribers on YouTube, more than 750,000 followers on Instagram, and more than 500,000 followers on Twitter. Currently a judge for Marriott’s TravelBrilliantly.com, Cole now can claim that he also has an exclusive development deal with the hotel giant.
The same goes for Marko and Alex Ayling, better known on YouTube as the Vagabrothers (close to 20,000 subscribers). Backpackers and bloggers, the duo are winners of the international travel-video contest Biggest, Baddest, Bucket List.
In addition to the new talent partnerships, Marriott Content Studio also announced that it’s moving forward with its first short film, “Two Bellmen,” which will start production on January 5.
The film, developed and produced in partnership with a “dance, parkour, extreme sports, martial arts, and music collective” known as Substance Over Hype, will be shot at the JW Marriott Los Angeles, and will be directed by Daniel “Malakai” Cabrera.
The cast will include William Spencer (“Spider-Man”), Caine Sinclair (“Grimm”) as the titular bell men. They will be joined by Henry Simmons (“Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), Miles Brown (“Black-ish”), Sophina Brown (“The Good Wife”), Josue Figueroa (“Southland”), Josue Antonio (“Step Up”), Taryn Southern (“The Single Life”), and Stephen “tWitch’ Boss (“So You Think You Can Dance”).
Marriott plans to distribute the film, which does not yet have a release date, in theaters as well as on digital platforms and in its hotel rooms.
Finally, Marriott is also working on a Snapchat series with Naritiv, a marketing and analytics agency focused on that particular social platform. Through the @MarriottHotels channel, which is set to launch on December 18, the hotel giant will kick-off a three-month campaign to feature various “Snapchat stories” of Marriott hotel visits from digital stars like Shaun McBride, Brittany Furlan, and Louis Cole.