Marriott and smart technology transform the hotel room experience

Marriott, one of the major hotel brands, has already made good use of smart technology to transform hotel operations and guest experience.

The reputational hotel chain created its Innovation Lab, a few years ago, where it is experimenting with various innovative technologies to create a smart-hotel experience. Marriott has also launched its IoT Guestroom Lab and it is gradually transforming its rooms into smart rooms.

Marriott has teamed with leading companies, such as Samsung and Legrand, to launch the hospitality industry’s Internet of Things (IoT) hotel room to inspire the ultimate hotel experience of the future.

“We know that our guests expect to personalize almost everything in their lives, and their hotel experience should be no different,” said Stephanie Linnartz, Global Chief Commercial Officer, Marriott International. “By teaming with best-in-class partners, we are leveraging mobile and voice-enabled technology to give our guests the ability to set up the room to best meet their needs – whether that is creating the ultimate relaxation environment or one that enables productivity for business travelers.”

Smart mirrors and showers – Marriott Smart Technology

Within Marriott’s smart rooms guests can interact with smart mirrors, smart showers, and faucets. These smart rooms are designed as an application of the Internet of Things, the connection of physical devices in a network. Therefore, guests can use a set of smart technologies to access their rooms and control every device within them. They can easily adjust humidity, temperatures, or lighting using their voices.

To make this possible, the company has also partnered with Amazon to deploy Alexa for Hospitality to create a voice-activated experience in its rooms. This feature is currently available to selected hotels. Although, Marriott aims at expanding it to every single room and eventually enable guests to connect their Amazon accounts to their hotel rooms and do things like streaming their favorite music or listening to audiobooks via Audible.

As Marriott noted, the IoT Guestroom Lab – powered by Marriott’s Innovation Lab at the company’s corporate headquarters – explores concepts that have the potential to elevate the guest experience, create more efficient hotel room design and construction, and contribute to Marriott’s global sustainability efforts and goals.

As the hospitality industry’s “smart” hotel room, the Lab allows multiple responsive IoT systems, devices, and applications to communicate with one another to serve guests and optimize hotel operations.

Smart rooms know when you are awake

Smart technology allows guests in Marriott not only to control devices, such as the TV or the thermostat, remotely, but they also provide a high-tech room experience. Marriott is experimenting with sensor presence technology. It detects when a guest gets out of bed at night and automatically turns on red nightlights, showing the path to the bathroom. Also, there are smart sensors in the rooms which can scan the place and know how many people are in the rooms to adjust the amount of oxygen accordingly.

Mobile Key – Marriott Smart Technology

Guests can also lock and unlock their rooms simply by using their mobile phones. The digital key is another smart feature Marriott provides which allows travelers to check-in and check-out of their rooms without meeting the hotel’s staff. To use the mobile key guests should download the hotel’s application into their smartphones and create an account. To do that so they are required to provide personal data such as their name, address, email, and telephone number. The data is collected by the company and stored online, and it can also be used for commercial purposes.

To turn their mobile phones into digital keys, guests must open the installed application, tap the “Mobile Key” icon, and hold their phone against the Room Lock, where sensors are receiving the digital signal. Guests should wait a couple of seconds by holding their smartphones near the Room Lock which will transition from blue to green and the door will unlock. Guests can also use the mobile key for the parking garage, fitness center, pool, or even other areas around the hotel.

However, the mobile key is only available to one mobile device and so far, it is not possible to share it through various smartphones. If there is another occupant that needs a key, they must use a Key Card.

The mobile application can also be used for the digital reservation and provides access to the hotel’s digital menu. The guests can browse the catalog and order food and drinks by using their mobile phones. They can also schedule the time and place they want their order delivered (poolside, conference room, lobby, etc.).

To use the mobile application guests should have either a telecommunications network or wireless internet connection since the app uses current data for most of its functions. The app is also available and fully functional for Apple Watch or iPads. Guests can also use the “Shuttle Tracker” feature which allows them to see the location of their hotel shuttle in real-time. Live maps and estimated wait times allow guests to get to and from their hotel with ease since they get a notification with real-time traffic data.

Marriott smart technology

Marriott logs into the Metaverse

Recently, Marriott became one of the first hospitality brands which enter Metaverse. Marriott has teamed up with up-and-coming digital artists – TXREK, JVY, and Erick Nicolay – to create three Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). As the company noted this was only a first step into the brave new world of the Metaverse, and there are many plans on how this new technology will be used by the hotel chain to improve the guest experience.

NFTs are one-of-a-kind digital collectibles that can be traded on the blockchain, often referred to as the “key” to the metaverse. The metaverse is a hypothesized iteration of the internet, supporting 3-D virtual environments through conventional personal computing. Each of the NFTs created for Marriott Bonvoy is an interpretation of travel from the artists’ own unique experiences, illustrating how travel has an unmistakable impact on the human spirit.

So far, the company hasn’t disclosed information on how it visions its future rooms, but Marriott is ready to invest more into this technology and even make a step further by transforming its smart rooms into “Metaverse” rooms.

George Mavridis is a freelance journalist and writer based in Greece. His work primarily covers tech, innovation, social media, digital communication, and politics. He graduated from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki with a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication. Also, he holds an MA in Media and Communication Studies from the Malmö University of Sweden and an MA in Digital Humanities from the Linnaeus University of Sweden.