Commentary

Beacons Deliver Local Perks at Marriott

Beacons are not just for shopping.

While much attention is on beaconing at retail, there’s great potential in other areas, especially to provide offers and services.

A good example is the new beacon implementation at the San Diego Marriott Marquis, which I recently checked out.

Beacons were just installed at three Marriott properties, in Baltimore, Florida and San Diego and provide location-based offers inside the hotel.

For example, as I neared the coffee shop, I received an offer for a free coffee with the purchase of any breakfast sandwich.

When passing into the restaurant, I got an offer for a free appetizer with the purchase of two entrees.

And approaching the pool bar, I was sent an offer for free, house-made chips and salsa.

This may sound somewhat rudimentary, but the Marriott beaconing has what many others do not.

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Upon entering the spacious hotel lobby, I was immediately greeted by a friendly employee asking how she could help.

I told her I was there to check out the beacons and, to my surprise, she not only knew all about them but offered to show me where they work and how.

Many beacon deployments have yet to integrate what the beacons do with what the people who work there know about them. Not so at Marriott.

Hotel guests likely never hear the term beacon, even though they are essentially introduced to beaconing at check-in.

Beacons come under Marriott’s LocalPerks program, which is now in 15 Marriotts in the U.S. and is accessed via the Marriott Guest Services app.

The beacon platform is from Boston-based Swirl, which also runs the Lord & Taylor beaconing, which I have written about here (Lord & Taylor, Hudson’s Bay Go Big on Beacons).

At the front desk, there are printed cards with directions to “download the Marriott Guest Services app” and then to “Tap on LocalPerks and accept location services” in order to “Score amazing in-hotel deals on food, drink and fun.” Pretty straightforward.

Guests are told that they can receive special deals, such as those I got, as they roam around the hotel.

Nothing is said about beacons, but that’s how these deals are delivered.

One of the missing links in some beaconing has been on-site knowledge integrated with customer assistance.

Every employee I spoke at the San Diego Marriott was not only familiar with but genuinely excited about the LocalPerks program with beacons.

As in all beacon rollouts, Marriott is learning what works best. At the moment, all deals are inside the hotel and Marriott has found that most guests who receive a beaconed message interact with it.

I can imagine future services where a guest in line for more than a minute at the concierge desk is provided with a current view of nearby activities or a person near the pool receives relevant information about the pool and any activities there.

The uses will come over time.

For Marriott guests, beacons translate into local perks.

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Check out the MediaPost conference on beacons, being held Nov. 3 in New York (IoT: Beacons), which I’m currently programming.

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