Marriott International today announced the debut of a pilot program for contactless arrival kiosks at several select-service hotels, as well as the launch of a proof-of-concept for contactless grab-and-go marketplaces at two Fairfield by Marriott hotels.
The company says that these new options aim to boost traveler confidence and it is something that customers actually want. Marriott cites a study that shows that “87 percent of U.S. customers said they would like to see companies continue to offer options that limit in-person service”, and that “social media posts including the phrase “self-service” increased by 170 percent year-over-year from 2019 to 2020.”
Smart, contactless arrival kiosks have made their pilot debut at the Moxy NYC Times Square, Courtyard New York Manhattan/Midtown East, TownePlace Suites Monroe (Louisiana), and will soon be available at Moxy Miami South Beach.
These kiosks promise to deliver an expedited arrival experience and help give guests peace of mind once they enter the hotel.
Here’s how it will work. Upon arrival, guests will have the option to skip the traditional check-in altogether and complete a three-step process at the kiosk to check in for a single reservation, with room keys created on the spot. The kiosks employ antimicrobial technology baked into the touchscreen glass, powered by UV light to kill bacteria and viruses. Before departure, guests can use the kiosks for contactless check-out and to view their folio, or enroll in the Marriott Bonvoy travel program at any time.
Well, this is not really contactless. And I would expect there will definitely be some glitches or things that the kiosk can not do. If you have any questions, or requests, you will still need to see an actual person. It’s a good thing that it is just a test run for now.
Marriott has also announced a an “industry disruptor” with its testing of a new grab-and-go marketplace concept. The Fairfield Inn & Suites Frederick and Fairfield Inn & Suites Arundel Mills BWI Airport, both located in Maryland, have introduced wall-to-wall kiosks that offer a centralized marketplace where guests can select snacks, beverages, lite bites and sundries.
The brand’s complimentary daily breakfast offering has been incorporated into the design during breakfast hours with a selection of hot breakfast sandwiches, sweet indulgences, yogurt, cereal, and fruit every morning. Specialty coffee and expanded a-la-carte items will also be available for purchase at the kiosks with contact-free Bluetooth payment. The individually packaged items are replenished throughout the day. Guests can choose to eat in the lobby, in the comfort of their own room, or on the go.
This new option will limit contact with other humans, but it doesn’t really scream hospitality. Having these grab-and-go options instead of a real meal doesn’t seem very exciting. I’m sure the quality will be decent, but it is not what you expect when you go to a hotel.
Marriott says these new technologies will help streamline operations with increased efficiency, allowing hotel staff to engage with guests in more meaningful, personalized ways.
Some of that is true, but it is definitely not a personalized service while being greeted by a kiosk, and getting your food from a vending machine. Yes it is modern, it looks cool, and it will work for lots of people. But if you need to ask for an upgrade, have any specific requests, or just need to talk to a human for some reason, these kiosks won’t do.
I expect Marriot will have less staff available if these machines turn out to be a success and are implemented in all properties. And what will status get you going forward? Just some vending machine credit?