- Aloft Hotels, Marriott International's hotel brand for music fans and tech-savvy travelers, is collaborating with British "GIF-ITI" street artist INSA on an interactive art experience for mobile users. INSA will create an augmented reality (AR) activation that changes during concerts at Aloft properties, per a company announcement.
- Aloft unveiled the plans for an AR activation as part of promoting its Live at Aloft Hotels Homecoming Tour that will include concerts at properties in Chicago, Sydney, Madrid and Dublin. Aloft Hotels partnered with Universal Music Group & Brands on the tour.
- The hotel chain is offering special deals to members of its Marriott Bonvoy travel program that this year replaced Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards programs. Members can bid with their program points on "money-can't-buy experiences" including shopping at musical artist Njomza's favorite boutiques in Chicago, a meditation guided by Spanish rapper Mala Rodriguez and a soundcheck with singer Troye Sivan, followed by a private Q&A session.
Aloft's collaboration with INSA on a mobile-based AR experience and the "money-can't-buy experiences" for Marriott Bonvoy members aim to give hotel guests memorable moments that deepen connections with the brand and are shareable on social media. The strategy could be effective with tech-savvy millennials and Gen Zers who tend to seek originality and authenticity in their travel experiences. The trend has driven much of the growth of startups like Airbnb that target travelers seeking lower-cost or "more authentic" lodging.
Mobile activations have become a key part of providing hotel guests with personalized service and deeper connections. Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants this year expanded its interactive Room 301 experience into the Kimpton Stay Human Project to give guests a chance to have "Instagrammable" moments to share on social media. Mobile tech has also helped hotels beef up their customer services. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts offers a chat service that handles local restaurant recommendations and reservations, room service, scheduling golf or spa reservations and tips on nearby shopping, among other functions.
Meanwhile, Hilton this year is expanding its Tapestry Collection, a group of upscale, original hotels for guests seeking "vibrant and authentic experiences" to more locations. Marriott in December announced a partnership with Pepsi's bottled water brand Lifewtr to deploy AR art displays in its guest rooms and was an early participant in Amazon's Alexa for Hospitality program, pointing to how the hotel chain is working to incorporate emerging tech and tactics to elevate guests' experiences.