How do these new lodging concepts sound to you: a “communal room” for every four guest rooms; to-go food containers with customized contents; and a portable wine cart activated by the guest’s key card? Meanwhile, Hilton plans to add a 14th brand.
To gather feedback on new lodging concepts, Marriott International has opened what it calls a pop-up innovation lab in downtown Los Angeles. And those are some of the ideas it is putting to the test for its fast-growing Aloft and Element brands.
The company said it will invite not only hotel professionals but also hotel guests and members of the public to check out innovations on display at the facility to gauge their reaction.
The initial round of new concepts includes a new floor layout that provides a communal room in the center of four guest rooms, “allowing travelers to share a kitchen, dining room and lounge area.” Such a design, the company said, is aimed at groups “who would like to spend time together in a more private setting.”
The company’s food and beverage team has its eye on more fresh and healthy items like spinach, quinoa and avocado. Guests would use a digital kiosk to order “customized ‘pots,’ a healthy meal in a colorful to-go container with food that reflects regional tastes,” Marriott said.
And bringing technology to beverage service, a proposed “portable wine cart” at Element properties would automatically dispense a glass of wine when activated by a room key card.
After Marriott gathers sufficient feedback at the pop-up lab, the new ideas could be seen in Aloft and Element hotels as soon as fall of 2017, Marriott said. It’s the second “test lab” that Marriott has opened recently; it is also trying out new concepts in real time at at a hotel in Charlotte, N.C.
Hilton, meanwhile – perhaps feeling pressure from the massive collection of brands at the newly merged Marriott/Starwood — announced it is adding a 14th brand to its family.
Called Tapestry Collection by Hilton (www.tapestrycollection.com), the brand will be somewhat like Hilton’s Curio Collection in that it will bring more independent properties into the Hilton reservations system and HHonors loyalty program.
The company said the new Tapestry brand “is positioned in the upscale segment just below Curio,” which is going into its third year with a membership of more than 30 “upper upscale” hotels in seven countries, and 45 more in the pipeline.
Hilton said the first Tapestry member properties will be in Syracuse, N.Y.; Chicago, Ill.; Nashville, Tenn.; Warren, N.J.; Hampton, Va.; and two in Indianapolis, Ind. It did not name the hotels. It added that it has 35 more potential Tapestry members in process, with the brand scheduled to kick off in the third quarter of this year.