Openly gay NBA player Jason Collins was in Washington, D.C., yesterday to help celebrate the launch #LoveTravels, Marriott International's new marketing campaign aimed at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender travelers. As part of the campaign, five Marriott-affiliated hotels in D.C. are temporarily displaying multi-story high portraits of advocates and members of the LGBT community.
Collins, who previously played for Washington Wizards and most recently was signed to the Brooklyn Nets, is among the individuals featured in the campaign and whose image appears on the side of the JW Marriott just steps from the White House and adjacent to the site of the Capital Pride street festival that will take place this weekend on Sun., June 8. Marriott is the lead sponsor of this year's Capital Pride.
In addition to the hotel displays, the campaign includes a series of print ads in LGBT media, an online portrait gallery and display ads in cities throughout the U.S. To bring #LoveTravels to life, Marriott partnered with photographer Braden Summers to share exclusive and powerful images celebrating inclusion as part of this new marketing effort. Summers’ unique ability to capture warmth and emotion perfectly communicates the company’s welcoming approach to hospitality.
“Braden’s work so beautifully illustrates the inclusiveness and equality that we embrace,” said Kristine Friend, senior director, segment marketing. “We are committed to ensuring that all of our guests feel comfortable at all of our hotels and are proud to stay with Marriott. #LoveTravels is a universal theme we believe is shared by all cultures and communities and truly represents our company’s philosophy and values."
Along with Collins, the campaign features Geena Rocero, fashion model and social advocate; Talisha Padgett-Matthews, a Marriott associate, and various LGBT couples from across the U.S. Information about the participants and the campaign can be found at LoveTravels.Marriott.com.
Marriott has a track record of supporting the LGBT community. In 2012 the Bethesda, Md.-based company, launched Be You, With Us, to coincide with the 2012 Pride Season; last year it agreed to be a lead sponsor of the 2014 Gay Games to be held in Cleveland, Ohio; and it received a perfect 100 rating on the Human Rights Campaign's 2014 Corporate Equality Index.
Not alone in its efforts to market to LGBT travelers, Marriott's rival Hilton Hotels and Resorts recently announced it would be refreshing its LGBT-targed website Hilton.com/GoOut to feature LGBT tastemakers sharing travel experiences, tips and unique content. Hilton also received a perfect rating by HRC and is a sponsor of Capital Pride.