Since launching the crowd-cooperative “Travel Brilliantly” campaign in 2013, Marriott has developed quite a few innovations, many making their way from the brand’s Underground Innovation Lab last year. Much of the campaign’s success stems from the ‘brilliance’ of asking affluent travelers to submit their ideas on how the travel experience can be improved. This engagement, fueled by the company’s reputation and means for following through, is creating equal amounts of travel industry and marketing buzz. What’s the future going to look like? In case you missed it, here are a few ways that Marriott is weighing in on this question.
1. Six Degrees: A Social Platform for the Hotel Lobby
As a prototype social network designed by MIT, Six Degrees facilitates peer-to-peer lobby interaction by highlighting the connections that already exist between guests. After logging into the app for the first time, Six Degrees creates a profile based on info culled from LinkedIn, matching guests by what they have in common. An interactive table glows once two or more guests are in proximity to each other and a Six Degrees public display lists upcoming events, active users and data about the Six Degrees community.
2. Healthy Vending
It’s an idea that most affluent travelers have thought of, but Marriott actually did it. With the help of start-up Farmer’s Bridge, the pilot vending machine has taken root in Chicago Marriott O’Hare and around the Chicago area, featuring handcrafted salads, sandwiches and snacks made fresh everyday using local ingredients. The true movable feast includes energizing edibles such as a detox salad with organic kale, quinoa, fennel, fruits and beans served in white balsamic vinaigrette and lemon pepper chicken, made with humanely raised, and cage-free chicken without antibiotics, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
Marriott’s first-ever virtual travel experience was unleashed, allowing potential guests to see, hear and feel the experience of global destinations and eight select Marriott hotels. As part of Marriott’s “Travel Brilliantly” campaign, the immersive journey, which is able to transport people from Big Ben to Maui in 90 seconds, begins in a phone booth-like teleporter fit for a superhero, featuring a virtual reality headset, wireless headphones and 4D sensory elements. As guests entered the pod, 3D, computer-generated imagery mixed from 360 degree live-action video and 4D elements such as heat, wind, rumbles of waves underfoot and mist flooded into headsets and headphones, delivering the feeling that would come from such locales as Hawaii’s Wai’anapanapa Black Sand Beach or the dizzying heights of Tower 42 in London.
4. Expanded Mobile Check-In
After redesigning its IOS and Android apps, Marriott expanded mobile check-in/checkout and room-ready alerts to over 4,000 properties worldwide, nearly doubling the amount of hotels previously afforded this option. The apps, designed specifically for Rewards members, also contain GPS functionality for finding Marriott hotels, a breakdown of hotels and amenities, virtual concierge and city guides.