As the nation’s appetite for travel accelerates, travelers are embarking on more purposeful adventures, discovering destinations that connect them to new people, places and experiences. Today, The Washington Post Creative Group and Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott International’s award-winning travel program and marketplace, announce a second year of their award-winning collaboration highlighting “regenerative travel,” the practice of planning trips that benefit local communities, economies, and the environment, enriching both the destination and the traveler. Content from the extended collaboration includes visually driven immersive articles and videos that follow the surprising personal journeys of a new generation of travel storytellers in unsung destinations and communities.
“We are excited to bring to life what it means to travel with purpose, leveraging The Post’s tools and insights to create immersive experiences for readers both on and off The Post’s site,” said Mary Gail Pezzimenti, head of The Washington Post Creative Group. “This collaboration continues to showcase how strong brand alignment can provide deeply engaging, memorable and impactful experiences for consumers, bringing together best-in-class storytelling and world-renowned travel expertise.”
“These stories powerfully demonstrate how travel is the antidote to the complexities we all face in our day-to-day lives to regenerate the mind and body through personal self-discovery,” said Brian Povinelli, Senior Vice President, Global Head of Marketing and Brand, Marriott International. “Our collaboration with The Washington Post enables us to bring these personal journeys to life that will hopefully impact and inspire others to take a step back to plan their own regenerative travel adventures that create uplifting, lifelong memories.”
In the first installment, LGBTQ+ travel influencer Alysse Dalessandro, a plus-size femme from the Midwest, discovers an unexpected queer haven in the heart of Arkansas: Eureka Springs. Alysse shares the story of this proudly LGBTQ+-friendly small town in the Ozark Mountains and introduces readers to the queer community she seeks out and befriends, finding out what makes it an unforgettably welcoming — and regenerative — travel destination.
Alysse uses her platform to make intersectionality more visible: she dresses loud and proud because she doesn’t want to hide; she wants to be seen. Of course, visibility can be difficult for LGBTQ+ travelers. As Alysse says, “We don’t take our identities off when we leave our homes.” For that reason, she seeks out LGBTQ+ communities where she can “feel at home” wherever she goes — sometimes in surprising places. “We all know that big cities are havens for LGBTQ+ people,” Alysse says. But she’s been most inspired by queer communities she’s found in small towns and the more rural regions of the U.S.
In the second installment, TikTok content creators and self-described interabled couple Cole Sydnor and Charisma Jamison explore regenerative travel through the ‘Cultural Adventures’ trend. In this intimate documentary-style video, Cole and Charisma head to St. Helena Island in South Carolina to explore the Gullah Geechee culture that is deeply connected to Charisma’s heritage, helping her to learn more about her roots, and Cole to discover more about Charisma and the family he has joined. The trip also shows how thoughtful tourism can help protect and preserve Gullah Geechee traditions.
After Cole Sydnor broke his neck in a diving accident, he feared life would be limited. “The world felt smaller after my injury,” he says. But today, his wife, Charisma Jamison—a rehab technician he met during rehabilitation—is encouraging him to push beyond what he thought possible. The couple chose St. Helena Island, just off the coast of Beaufort, to explore its authentic Gullah Geechee culture, experiencing first-hand how this community has maintained its distinctive heritage, through traditional food, basket making, music and art.
The storytellers worked under the guidance of a dedicated branded content editor and seasoned journalist. Marriott Bonvoy supported the travel journey, while The Washington Post Creative Group provided a team of talented videographers, producers, and interactive designers to help tell their stories.
About WP Creative Group
WP Creative Group is the in-house creative agency at The Washington Post. It connects its suite of unique storytelling and technology-led solutions to build programs and experiences that deliver business outcomes for brands. Its team of brand strategists, quality storytellers, design pioneers and performance specialists have a shared mission of creating emotionally resonant experiences that help shape culture, spark conversation, and captivate the influential.
About Marriott Bonvoy®
Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott International’s award-winning travel program and marketplace, gives members access to transformative, eye-opening experiences around the corner and across the globe. Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of 31 extraordinary brands offers renowned hospitality in the most memorable destinations in the world. Members can earn points for stays at hotels and resorts, including all-inclusive resorts and premium home rentals, as well as through everyday purchases with co-branded credit cards. Members can redeem their points for experiences including future stays, Marriott Bonvoy Moments™, or through partners for luxurious products from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques®. With the Marriott Bonvoy app, members enjoy a level of personalization and contactless experience that allows them to travel with peace of mind. To enroll for free or for more information about Marriott Bonvoy, visit marriottbonvoy.com. To download the Marriott app, go here. Travelers can also connect with Marriott Bonvoy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.
Vice President, Global Communications and Public Affairs