Hotel Update: Marriott

Global Traveler

Marriott engages guests of all ages with new brands and creative initiatives

Moxy Hotel

Photo: Moxy Hotel living room © Moxy Hotels

At the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE, a bellman shadows a svelte guest after she steals his all-access key card, while another luggage unloader trails a suspicious duffle. When the duo discover a heist at an on-property art show, they take out the bad guys with a fun mash-up of dance moves plus martial arts kicks and blocks.

The suitcase superheroes star in Two Bellmen, the first film by Marriott’s Content Studio, a division created in fall 2014. The 17-minute action comedy, launched on YouTube in March, already boasts more than 5 million views. Meanwhile, The Navigator Live television series of five-minute segments for Renaissance Hotels in New York, Atlanta and Denver mixes performances by indie bands with their personal picks of area shops, eateries and attractions and brief shots of lobbies, front desks and lounges.

“Brands need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and become what people are interested in,” says David Beebe, vice president, creative and content marketing, global marketing, Marriott International. “By developing content that entertains and informs, consumers will associate the content with the brand.”

As the company embraces innovative marketing, it retools its vast portfolio, making lodgings millennial-friendly by upping the digital tech, emphasizing dynamic public spaces, launching new hotels and adding a dose of attitude to everything from signature cocktails to room design.

Marriott operates 18 brands with 4,100 properties in 79 countries, offering 970,000 rooms and expecting to reach more than 1 million rooms this year. To fill those beds, the venerable hotel company courts the next generation of travelers; however, that focus does not abandon those who remember eight-track tapes as cutting edge. Even Grandma watches YouTube, so she’s likely to find Two Bellmen amusing and its underlying message of all-out customer service comforting. Then there’s convenience: faster WiFi, multiple outlets for charging gadgets and apps that remove the paperwork from registration. And as the first hotel to sign on for Apple Pay, by this summer Marriott will enable guests at 11 properties to use Apple Pay instead of a credit card.

“The millennial traveler expects a great experience,” says Brian King, global officer, Marriott signature brands and global sales. “The push to digital across all brands makes things easier. You can check in or out on your smartphone whether you are in Dubuque or Dubai.”

Two new brands — Moxy Hotels and AC Hotels by Marriott — aim at millennials, both offering keyless entry. Moxy targets the cost-conscious but takes the boring out of budget by anchoring lobbies with lively bars and Instagram walls, digital guestbooks of images of Moxy’s lodgers worldwide. “Millennials do not believe they have to sacrifice style and design,” says Toni Stoeckl, vice president of lifestyle brands, Marriott. “Moxy is a brand that is fashionable.”

Moxy launched in Milan in September 2014. Marriott plans 2,700 Moxy hotel rooms in Europe by 2016 plus eight U.S. properties in New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, New Orleans and Chicago.

Although guestrooms are a cozy 160–180 square feet, Stoeckl says, “Smaller means concentration, not sacrifice. The U.S. properties will have a peg wall to hang up furniture not being used — a luggage rack, small folding table and chair. The guest customizes the space to make it a multifunctional room.”

AC Hotel by Marriott

AC Lounge at the AC Hotel by Marriott New Orleans © AC New Orleans

In a tier just above Moxy, AC Hotels by Marriott, a co-brand of Marriott and Spanish hotel group AC, rolled out in 2011 in Europe and Latin America. The first U.S. property debuted in New Orleans last November, followed by Kansas City, Mo., and National Harbor, Md., outside Washington, D.C. Forget about dressers because millennials don’t unpack. Instead, a door-less closet provides shelves. Guests can also stream personal content to the in-room television.

Stoeckl calls it “a brand with a European soul that blends attitude with classic modernism. The purposeful design can remove the friction from the entire day.” So can the specialty drinks and craft beers served at the AC Lounge by bartenders who dispense tips on trendy places to visit.

“In the luxury space, customers are collecting experiences,” says King. “The new JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa, on its own island, offers a cooking school dedicated to Italian cooking.” Along with treatments, the spa teaches guests correct breathing and stretching. “Those are ways to extend calm and relaxation beyond the hotel experience,” says King. “The guests can take that information on how to relax back with them.”

Resort & Spa guestroom

Resort & Spa guestroom © JW Marriott

Chef on Show at JW Marriott creates a notable culinary experience for events. “The chef tells the story behind the food and its sources. It’s been a huge win,” says King. “Every guest comes away from the event with a local, authentic item like a special oil or local salt.”

To create memorable meetings, Marriot inaugurated meetingsimagined.com for Marriott Hotels in 2014, broadening the site to include JW Marriott, Renaissance, Marriott Marquis and the Autograph Collection. Like a Pinterest for planners, the website showcases images of décor, seating, food and other essentials designed around a gathering’s purpose.

“The world is becoming more global, visual and technologically savvy,” says Larraine Voll Morris, vice president, global design and development, Marriott’s Future of Meetings, noting that the website features thousands of inspirational images that depict actual events at Marriott hotels globally.

The Miami Beach EDITION

The Miami Beach EDITION © EDITION

EDITION hotels, created by Ian Schrager in partnership with Marriott, serves up remarkable moments. The luxury lifestyle resorts cater to guests who enjoy entertainment and amenities without having to leave the property. Along with a beach, pool and bars, The Miami Beach EDITION, opened last December and touted as the “next-generation urban resort,” offers culinary options by Jean-Georges Vongerichten including Market, a nearly 24-hour take-out or sit-down space, and fine dining at the Matador Room. In the Basement, guests can ice skate indoors, bowl at the four-lane bowling alley and dance until 5 a.m.

Creative marketing, digital initiatives, meetings enhancements and new brands rocket Marriott forward. The company is trendy and trending.

AC HOTELS BY MARRIOTT
Demographic: Leisure/business millennials
Offerings: 72-plus hotels in France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, U.S. offering European contemporary style and high tech
Highlight: AC Hotel by Marriott Kansas City Westport features the brand’s AC Lounge.

AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION
Demographic: Upmarket business/leisure travelers
Offerings: 60-plus independent properties in Asia Pacific, Australia, Caribbean, Europe, Latin America and U.S. offering locally inspired lodging
Highlight: The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas features trendy luxury and style.

BULGARI
Demographic: Discriminating, affluent travelers
Offerings: Three hotels in London, Milan and Bali combine stunning locations with features travelers only dream about.
Highlight: In a renovated 18th-century palazzo, Bulgari Milan has courtyards and a private garden.

COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT
Demographic: Business/leisure travelers
Offerings: 950-plus hotels in 38 countries; pioneered the upper-moderate lodging tier
Highlight: Lobby GoBoard, a 55-inch touch screen, has location information, maps, weather and news.

EDITION
Demographic: Well-heeled millennials
Offerings: Three hotels in London, Miami and New York offering signature dining and engaging entertainment
Highlight: The Miami Beach Edition offers bowling, ice skating and a nightclub.

FAIRFIELD INN & SUITES BY MARRIOTT
Demographic: Business/leisure travelers
Offerings: 700-plus in the moderate tier in U.S., Canada, Mexico, India
Highlight: Complimentary hot breakfast

GAYLORD
Demographic: Leisure travelers, conventioneers
Offerings: Five in U.S.; large complexes with extensive meeting space, dining, indoor gardens, waterfalls
Highlight: Gaylord National Resort in Maryland is the largest hotel/convention center on the East Coast.

GRAND RESIDENCES BY MARRIOTT
Demographic: Second home, fractional ownership
Offerings: South Lake Tahoe, Calif., and London; studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units
Highlight: Owners’ lounge, daily housekeeping, kitchens

JW MARRIOTT HOTELS & RESORTS
Demographic: Sophisticated travelers seeking upscale hotels
Offerings: 67 properties in 26 countries offering luxury lodgings, special experiences
Highlight: JW Marriott Venice offers cooking classes.

MARRIOTT
Demographic: Business/leisure travelers
Offerings: 500 properties in 60 countries; well-located, high-tech, full-service city and resort
Highlight: Chicago Marriott O’Hare offers fresh salads in vending machines, a Marriott Travel Brilliantly idea.

MARRIOTT EXECUTIVE APARTMENTS
Demographic: Executive expats staying 30-plus nights
Offerings: 20 in 15-plus countries outside the U.S.; studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments
Highlight: Pre-arrival consultation, minimum twice-weekly housekeeping

MARRIOTT VACATION CLUB
Demographic: Vacationers
Offerings: 50-plus resorts with 12,000 villas. Owners purchase points to book units.
Highlight: Beach, ski, golf, theme park and city destinations

MOXY
Demographic: Budget-conscious millennials
Offerings: One in Milan, five opening in Europe, plans for eight U.S properties. Small rooms are big on style.
Highlight: Moxy Milan’s social lobby has a lively bar and a digital guestbook wall.

RENAISSANCE
Demographic: Frequent business travelers
Offerings: 170 hotels in 40 countries; the Navigator curated database features local experiences for guests.
Highlight: The Navigator Live TV series features indie bands’ local picks at New York, Atlanta and Denver properties.

RESIDENCE INN BY MARRIOTT
Demographic: Business travelers on extended stay
Offerings: 650-plus in U.S., Canada, Europe, Bahrain, Costa Rica; apartment-style one- and two-bedroom suites
Highlight: Complimentary hot breakfast; suites have fully equipped kitchens.

THE RITZ-CARLTON
Demographic: Affluent travelers accustomed to exemplary service
Offerings: 86 hotels in 29 countries in city and resort areas
Highlight: The Ritz-Carlton, Macau is the brand’s first all-suite property.

RITZ-CARLTON DESTINATION CLUB
Demographic: Second home, fractional ownership
Offerings: Aspen; Vail; North Lake Tahoe; San Francisco; St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.
Highlight: Combines fractional ownership with Ritz-Carlton service

SPRINGHILL SUITES BY MARRIOTT
Demographic: Business/leisure travelers seeking space at affordable prices
Offerings: 300-plus in U.S. and Canada; all-suite lodging in upper-moderate tier
Highlight: Free hot breakfast; suites with pullout sofa, microwave and mini-fridge

TOWNEPLACE SUITES
Demographic: Extended-stay business travelers
Offerings: 230 in U.S. and Canada; studio, one-and two-bedroom suites
Highlight: Ranked highest in its category by J.D. Power North America 2013; complimentary breakfast

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