Digital kiosks that serve fresh and healthy snacks, create-your-own yogurt stations, portable wine carts and communal areas for guest rooms are just a few of the offerings Marriott International is testing out at its new pop-up innovation lab in downtown Los Angeles. The brand has also turned to crowdsourcing real-time feedback for its Aloft and Element brands.
“Innovation is embedded in Marriott’s values,” said Toni Stoeckl, global brand leader and vice president, Distinctive Select Brands. “We’re driven by creating solutions that elevate, innovate and evolve the guest experience.”
The innovation lab is an interactive model hotel experience where industry professionals, hotel guests, associates and the general public can see, touch, taste and hear some of the enhancements that will be piloted and rolled out to the brands starting this year. Visitors will then have the chance to provide feedback via a swipe-able mobile survey right on-site.
This experience follows the first M Beta hotel for Marriott Hotels at Charlotte Marriott City Center, which was introduced last fall. Guests are encouraged to test new features like keyless entry and digital experiences in the fitness center and give feedback in real-time.
Marriott found that travelers want fast, yet fresh food, especially at breakfast. To answer this need, Aloft Hotels is testing digital kiosks where guests can chose from ingredients that will differ based on region, such as spinach, quinoa and avocado to create and order customizable “pots.” At Element Hotels, there will be Chobani-branded yogurt stations and signature “elixirs”, such as a shot of apple juice and ginger as new breakfast options.
Another finding was that guests want to connect with and be in the presence of others in the evening, whether traveling in a group or alone, so Aloft’s W XYZ bars are switching things up with Head’s Up Dining, which will offer more easy-to-share, hand-held items. And at Element Hotels, unwinding with a glass of wine will get even easier with portable wine carts activated by room key cards, so guests can help themselves and pay for their pour via room charge.
Lastly, Element is piloting a bold new guest room design and configuration that will feature a communal room in the center of four guest rooms, allowing travelers to share a kitchen, dining room and lounge area. This will provide more collaborative space for groups in a private setting.