Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

July 08 2013

Big Hotel Looks for Innovation Advice

By David McMillin, Staff Writer

As hoteliers look to attract guests and reinvent their properties in today’s experience-focused economy, Marriott is turning to a new source for expertise: its own guests.

In June, the company launched “Travel Brilliantly”, a new campaign that tips off travelers to some of the company’s innovations while inviting them to submit their own ideas for consideration.The company believes that its customers hold some of the game-changing concepts in the future of the hospitality industry.

“The campaign had to be bold in not only staking our claim, but also engaging the next generation of travelers to join us in co-creating the future of travel,” Mara Hannula, vice president of global marketing, Marriott Hotels, said in a statement.

Ideas are voted on by fellow users and a panel of three judges: Shira Lazar, creator and host of web series “What’s Trending”, Marc Kushner, architect and co-founder of Architizer.com and Matthew von Ertfelda, vp, insight, strategy and innovation team, Marriott International.

While the company clearly benefits from the ability to source ideas for free from their own audience, 15 of the best ideas will be rewarded with a bag of “Brilliant Travel Essentials”, and one Grand Prize winner will win a four-day trip to further develop the idea with an industry expert.

SEE ALSO: Take a Look Inside One of the World’s Biggest Hotel Brands

A Look at the Crowdsourced Brainstorm

The site is already gaining some traction among guests looking to share their brilliance. Consider a few of the ideas that are currently collecting votes: a pillow with massage and noise cancellation features, an area designed to help solo business travelers avoid eating alone, a laundry shipping service for travelers who don’t want to lug dirty clothes home and many more.

Going After Millennial Guests

While the bottom-line prospects for the hotel industry look very bright, it’s clear that the emerging generation of guests is not looking for the same-old, same-old look and feel from city to city. They want iPads at check-in. They want locally sourced food with locally inspired flavors. They count on their friends for recommendations rather than simply trusting big brand names. Hotel brands are on their way toward delivering experiences that cater to these needs, but they aren’t quite there yet. Perhaps Marriott’s crowdsourcing efforts will provide the fuel.

SEE ALSO: Making Sense of the Millennial Generation

Want to share your own brilliance with Marriott? Click here to submit an idea.

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