Starwood – Momentum

The Challenge

If you’re a travel brand, you’re paddling in stormy waters. If you’re a travel brand wanting to engage your target audience in meaningful and memorable ways via a traditionalist brand approach, forget it. Unless you’re providing something unique, you’re already a sinking ship.

With disruption flipping the traditional brand messaging model on its head and creating a democratized landscape that has turned consumers into tribes, never before have netizens been so empowered to command more from brands. So when Starwood challenged us to create a stand-alone Content Hub that would both engage travellers with world-class content and drive bookings to its multiple brands, we knew we had to flip the lid on thinking.

John Brown joined forces with iProspect and Isobar to deliver an integrated response built around five key pillars:

  • A data-driven content strategy that challenged the client’s predetermined top 20 destinations.
  • A unique editorial proposition that cut-through the array of branded travel waffle in the market.
  • A mobile-first responsive hub with simple navigation and a distinct premium look and feel.
  • A fully integrated socially-led amplification plan.
  • Measured and refined to deliver a consistent, frequent volume of high-performing content throughout the year.


Following our proposal to create a brand-agnostic content hub that would serve as a gateway for netizens to experience aspirational content – while delivering a large enough cookie pool to drive booking revenue from retargeting campaigns – it was clear that our Intelligent Content offering was the weapon of choice for such an ambitious challenge.

If ever there was a golden opportunity to roll out an end-to-end content solution for a client in one of the most competitive spaces possible; it was this. And so we set about establishing a rigorous framework comprised of each step of the intelligent content model: from data &

insights to strategy, content creation, amplification, and finally measurement – the latter providing a feedback loop to fine-tune the overarching campaign strategy and increase paid amplification efficiencies as it went along.

Initial research focused on extensive exploration into key priority destinations to establish a ‘playbook’ of information to guide content creation. This phase utilised search trends, keyword research, social listening and competitor analysis to unearth deep insights to inform both content creation and audience targeting across multiple markets.


Momentum launched in 2016 with features on Formula 1 technology, trip-hop vocalist Fifi Rong, the post-crash rebirth of Tokyo’s art scene and a philosophical paean to the joys of jet lag.

Linking each piece to locations that Starwood were keen to promote, daily hero features breathed new life into the chain’s messaging. We commissioned YouTube artists to cook miniature masterpieces, had TED talkers predict the future, and we’ve taken our readers jogging around Bangkok, climbing mountains in Langkawi, sipping tea in Goa and raving on Honshu. Our creative vision has been brought alive by Isobar who built a mobile-first responsive hub.

Momentum uses bold headlines, arresting imagery, bespoke videos, podcasts and long and short-form content to provide an engaging mix for all needs. With teams working collaboratively between London, Hong Kong and Melbourne, the content is supported by a highly-targeted paid amplification campaign – fine tuned by a bespoke reporting system that tracks and reports a variety of performance metrics. Already living proof that the Intelligent Content model can come alive outside of the pitch – Momentum is still evolving, still innovating and still continuing to fire imaginations around the world.

Result / Business Effect

Within its first 6 months, Momentum delivered:

  • 1.8 million visits
  • Over 9 million social post engagements
  • 4+ million video plays
  • Generating USD$5m revenue – that’s x5 return on investment!

80% of visits are coming from mobile – a key objective for content to belong in the audience’s lives on-the-go and outside the traditional desktop hotel-booking cycle. We’ve also seen engagement and a build of trust towards Starwood brands.


Chrizette Larin