Global hotel chain Marriott has opened a new tech-fuelled outpost in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, which functions as part hotel and part ‘innovation lab’ – serving as a ‘test-bed’ for new ideas and innovations generated by the company.
Guests are asked to provide instant-feedback through strategically placed ‘beta buttons’ and ‘beta boards’ – on walls, tables and iPads – regarding services like digital check-in. Those with limited time can specify a simple ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ to express their opinions in a quick and easy way.
Promoting a community-centric feel in the space, local food vendors have set up shop in the café area and a local wine establishment retails bottles on-site (with opportunities to enjoy a glass or two).
Catering to longer-stay guests who want to keep fit in a group setting, online exercise classes are streamed across to a giant screen in a dedicated workout area. This initiative was created after Marriott discovered that many of their guests were streaming workout videos from laptops in their rooms during their stays. For more on new rituals and habits of today’s traveller, see New Luxury Travel and Wandering Wellness.
This sort of concept aligns well with ideas explored in The Empowered Customer Journey, part of The Future Guest industry trend. Here, consumers are given an unprecedented level of freedom and choice as well as opportunities to put their own personal stamp on travel-related products and experiences.
See also Rebooting Room Service for added-value service initiatives across the hotel landscape.