Marriott to trial voice-activated room assistant

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Marriott uses tech start-ups to innovate its hotels

Related tags: Hotel, Marriott

Marriott has announced the two tech start-ups it will be trialling in its hotels as part of an ongoing push to innovate its hotel operations.

Jambo and Dazzle beat almost 150 budding companies for a spot on the company’s TestBED scheme,​ which will see the products trialled in a Marriott hotel for six months.

Dazzle, an in-room voice-activated personal assistant, uses a mix of Artificial Intelligence and human knowledge to assist guests.

The bot instantly responds to simple queries regarding the weather or time, but will refer more complicated requests - such as booking a yoga session - to guest services.

The Jambo app allows business travellers to network with other professionals while travelling. Hotels will be able to encourage social meet-ups on-site, bringing guests out of their rooms to use the facilities.

Looking to the future

TechHub CEO Elizabeth Varley, who judged the contest, said both winners showed ‘the future of travel’.

“Dazzle excited us because of the rapid developments we’ve seen in voice-activated interfaces and artificial intelligence over the past year, as well as its real potential to enhance the guest experience,” she said.

“In Jambo we saw the benefit for travellers who are increasingly looking for opportunities to connect to other people, and the opportunity to view the hotel as that connection platform.”

The two winning start-ups will receive mentoring from industry leaders throughout the trial of their product and, if successful, may be offered an ongoing partnership with Marriott.

The TestBED programme follows the launch of Marriott’s Canvas Project, which gives food entrepreneurs the chance to pitch an idea for a pop-up hotel restaurant.

Osama Hirzalla, vice president of brand marketing & eCommerce Europe at Marriott, said: “This whole process has reminded us of the wealth of talent lying in the start-up community and…we’re excited to see what we can learn from them as we combine their entrepreneurial spirit with our tools and hospitality expertise.”

Earlier this year Marriott became the world's largest hotel company following its $13.6bn merger with Starwood International.

Related topics: Hotels, Digital, Trends & Reports, Business

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