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Courtyard by Marriott updates lobbies with QR code-enabled virtual concierge

Courtyard by Marriott has rolled out QR code-enabled virtual concierge displays at 500 locations to make it easy for guests to access information about local attractions.

The hotel chain has been renovating its lobbies as part of a strategy to better meet the needs of business travelers. The new lobbies feature 55-inch LCD touch screens showcasing information about local restaurants and other attractions that can be saved to a guest?s phone by scanning a QR code.

?QR codes allow Courtyard to better serve its busy on-the-go guests,? said Janis Milham, vice president and global brand manager at Courtyard by Marriott, Blacksburg, VA. ?Instead of having to get paper and pencil, it can download automatically onto their mobile devices and they can have it handy  for future visits.

?It is fast and convenient, giving the guest flexibility and control during their stay,? she said.

Board of directions
The new touch screens are called the GoBoard, which guests can navigate to find restaurants, see current weather and local news as well as to download information to their smartphones.
Guests who approach the GoBoard will see several different tabs, including news, money and sports.

In the right hand corner, there is an area for local attractions such as restaurants and points of interest.

Guests can click on restaurants and the names of the restaurants pop up. When users touch the one they want, the contact information shows up with directions and a QR code.

By holding their phone up to the QR code, the information is downloaded to the guest?s phone.

The new lobbies have been rolled out to 500 properties or nearly 60 percent of the hotel chain?s North American portfolio. Courtyard by Marriott expects to have three-quarters of its more than 800 hotels in the United States and Canada outfitted with the new lobbies by the end of the year.

Other hotels chains are also finding that QR codes can be a welcome addition to their lobbies and facilitate guests accessing the information they are looking for.

Last year, Aloft Hotel began testing a holographic concierge with QR codes to give guests easy access to information and offers from local businesses. The holographic image is projected onto a life-sized cut-out of a person in the hotel lobby (see story).

Relying on mobile
Marriott International, the parent company for Courtyard by Marriott, has been active in the mobile space with a strategy that includes mobile Web, apps and SMS. The company recently said that 50 percent of smartphone bookings happen within 24 hours of check-in (see story).

In addition to the virtual concierge, mobile plays a role in Courtyard by Marriott?s new lobby design in other ways as well.

The renovated lobbies feature multiple electrical outlets so that travelers can have access to charging areas for their mobile devices.  The lobbies also feature Wi-Fi.

?We realize that our guests rely heavily on their mobile devices and created a space where they would be able to utilize them freely and effectively,? Ms. Milham said.