By Mark Chesnut
Marriott Hotels & Resorts is aiming to attract more tech-loving travelers with a new series of hip events and the debut of new tech-friendly meeting space targeted at younger business travelers.
Through December, the hotel chain is hosting a series of events in conjunction with Wired magazine. Its monthly “Wired + Marriott Culturazzi” series aims to help guests connect more efficiently with technology and also make better use of the company’s increasingly high-tech and social public spaces.
The monthly event series lineup includes the Humor Me Comedy Showcase, which takes place October 24 on the rooftop of the Marina del Rey Marriott in California. The event will feature emerging and established comedians, presented by the popular comedy site “Funny or Die.” In November, the focus turns to arts, music and technology at Art Beats, hosted by the San Francisco Marriott Union Square. The series wraps up the year at the Wired Store in New York City in December, where Marriott will host an interactive display as well as a VIP event.
Travelers who can’t make it to the events still may notice some changes at Marriott, as the company rethinks its approach to small meetings, with an eye on the work styles of Generation X and Generation Y travelers. In September, the company announced a new partnership with Steelcase, the workspace design company, to launch Workspring at Marriott. The new concept, which debuted first at the Redmond Marriott Town Center near Seattle, features five studios of varying sizes to accommodate meetings of three to 75 people, as well as common areas with natural light and outside access.
A survey sponsored by Wired and Marriott found that 48 percent of readers said they are “more productive when they work remotely,” while 45 percent have “unmet needs when working remotely.”
Clearly, Marriott is keeping social technology in the forefront as it gets the word out about its new approach to business travel. “As we transform our lobbies and public spaces, they are buzzing with younger travelers connected to their digital worlds, blending work and play,” said Paul Cahill, senior vice president of brand management at Marriott Hotels & Resorts. “Together with Wired, we will bring provocative and stimulating experiences to our hotel guests and the local community, amplified on their social networks and on our Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as by Marriott Hotels & Resorts’ cadre of social media influencers.”
Mark Chesnut is a travel writer, editor and publisher of LatinFlyer.com, which focuses on travel to Latin America. He bores easily at meetings, but loves his iPhone.