Marriott Sets New Directions for Aloft and Element Brands
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Just months after closing its merger with Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Marriott International is making core changes to two key Starwood brands. The company announced new living and dining features that will begin rolling out at Aloft and Element hotels this year, focused on brand and guest experience.
At Aloft properties, the food and beverage programs will be revamped with an emphasis on fresh, healthy and locally sourced ingredients. Items like avocado and quinoa will be among the new menu staples. The new menu will be served in customized "pots," and guests will be able to order and pay via touchscreen kiosk, with individuals identifying their items by timestamp and an emoji tied to their chef.
At Element hotels, the new focus will be on community and engagement. Among the concepts being added to these properties is a communal living space, which will be connected by four hotel rooms. The space will feature a kitchen, lounge and dining area all shareable by guests of the connected rooms. The community space will allow groups traveling together, such as families or business teams, to have a collaborative space without the worry of invading privacy in individual rooms.
Technology will also be at the forefront of innovation at Element properties. For example, Marriott's testing automated beverage-dispensing systems including a portable wine cart activated by guests' room keys.
The first display of the new concepts took place at an industry conference earlier in January. Marriott's also launching an "innovation lab" in downtown Los Angeles, letting visitors preview these new concepts and provide feedback. Although rollout of the improved spaces will begin in fall 2017, Marriott has not yet announced which hotels will receive the new technology first.
For those who want to experience the potential future of hotels today, there's the Charlotte Marriott City Center, the brand's first "M Beta" property, where new technologies and concepts are tested in a real-world setting. You can book a stay on Marriott Rewards points earned through the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card, or by converting Starpoints earned on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express to Marriott points.