Moxy Hotels this week launched an augmented reality (AR) experience that offers guests a chance to win prizes by exploring their hotel using a smartphone, per an announcement from parent company Marriott. "Moxy Universe, Play Beyond" focuses on the Asia Pacific region.
Before check-in, visitors can customize a digital avatar with a selection of hairstyles, clothing and accessories. The avatars are visible through a smartphone camera, letting users combine computer-generated overlays with their hotel’s real-world surroundings in pictures.
The experience is accessible by scanning a QR code at check-in, unlocking challenges that urge guests to explore different parts of their hotel. Moxy’s AR activation is available at 12 hotels until Dec. 31 as Marriott tries to layer an element of gamification into travel.
Moxy’s AR experience extends a “Play On” positioning that promotes its hotels as a fun destination for millennial and Gen Z consumers who are smartphone-friendly. Recent research suggests these age groups value trips that don’t cost a lot of money but do provide a truly memorable moment or experience.
As the hospitality industry recovers from earlier pandemic restrictions, the Marriott-owned brand aims to provide travelers with more memorable stays that they can capture with their mobile devices and share on social media. The challenges include a social-networking aspect, with one asking users to take a selfie with their avatar at Moxy’s Grab & Go stations using the hashtag #moxyuniverse.
Moxy’s target consumers are likely to be familiar with AR content, which is a key feature of photo-messaging apps like Snapchat and location-based mobile games such as Pokémon Go. Younger consumers also tend to play more video games, which are a significant entry point to the metaverse and related AR experiences.
Global Gen Z consumers, on average, spend 17% of their leisure time gaming, which is more than millennials (14%), Gen Xers (11%) and baby boomers (6%), according to researcher Newzoo. By integrating mobile-game-like experiences into its entertainment offerings, Moxy can better appeal to this younger cohort.
"Moxy Universe, Play Beyond" comes as Marriott makes a greater push to associate leisure time with gaming. Its Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program this month began sponsoring a digital variety show that highlights esports and gaming culture in Asia. The 15-episode “Gamer’s Paradise" promotes different Marriott hotels throughout the region. One Esports, a unit of sports promoter One Championship, streams the show on Facebook, Twitch, YouTube and AfreecaTV, a Korean peer-to-peer streaming service.
Marriott’s gaming-focused efforts arrive as the hospitality industry spends more on advertising for the summer season. Travel industry advertisers boosted their marketing spend by 43% since last year earlier to $623 million through April, according to researcher MediaRadar. Marriott this year also revamped its ad sales business with the rollout in May of the Marriott Media Network, a cross-platform ad solution that relies on first-party data from Bonvoy’s 164 million members.