Commentary

Marriott Lets You Text The Concierge

The mobile revolution is definitely coming to the hospitality business. In the latest development, Marriott has launched a feature on its mobile app called Mobile Requests, which allows members of its loyalty program to text requests to the concierge. It’s currently in a test phase with 46 properties and will later roll out to all Marriott properties around the world, if successful.

Guests can use Mobile Requests to contact hotel staff up to 72 hours before, during, or after their stay (when they can ask, for example, whether the maids found that phone charger they left in their room.) One feature, “Anything Else?” offers two-way chat functionality to talk to staff in real time. Mobile Requests also offers a drop-down menu with commonly requested services and amenities, such as extra towels and pillows.

Marriott already offers mobile check-in, checkout, and room ready alerts. It’s also rolling out mobile room access in the U.S., with smartphones serving as room keys, beginning at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel.

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As noted, mobile is transforming some basic elements of the hospitality industry. Other hospitality chains introducing mobile room keys include Starwood, owner of Sheraton, Westin, and St. Regis hotels; Hilton; and InterContinental Hotels Group. Meanwhile Omena, which owns a chain of budget hotels in Scandinavia, is introducing fully automated hotels with no human staff at all, relying on mobile for many standard processes.

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