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Marriott bets on contactless features at select-service hotels, even after pandemic

April 05, 2021
4 min read
Marriott contactless grab and go
Marriott bets on contactless features at select-service hotels, even after pandemic
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Marriott, the world's largest hotel chain, is making a bet that hotel guests -- at least those at select-service hotels -- will continue to demand contactless, automated systems to replace some of the in-person functions that were normal in a pre-COVID-19 world.

Today, the chain unveiled two new initiatives aimed at providing guests with more options to limit their interactions with hotel staff during a stay.

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The first is a pilot program now available for use at several select-service properties, including the Moxy NYC Times Square, Courtyard New York Manhattan/Midtown East and the TownePlace Suites in Monroe, Louisiana.

Guests will be able to utilize self-service kiosks to complete the check-in and checkout process, view their folio and sign up for the Marriott Bonvoy program right from these kiosks, which use "antimicrobial technology baked into the touchscreen glass, powered by UV light to kill bacteria and viruses," according to a press release from Marriott.

(Photo courtesy of Marriott)

The kiosks will also generate room keys for guests, eliminating the need to visit the check-in desk at all. These self-service kiosks will soon be available at the Moxy Miami South Beach.

Next, Marriott has rolled out automated grab-and-go "vending machines" at the Fairfield Inn and Suites Frederick and Fairfield Inn and Suites Arundel Mills BWI Airport in Maryland as a "proof of concept," per the chain's release. These large kiosks will stock all sorts of goodies, including snacks, drinks, "lite bites and sundries."

Additionally, they will house the hotel's complimentary breakfast items, such as hot sandwiches, sweet breakfast items, yogurt, fruit and more. You'll also be able to purchase coffee drinks and other a-la-carte food items using contactless payment platforms.

(Photo courtesy of No Brick LLC for Marriott International)

Marriott notes in its press release that these moves are backed by research showing travelers are interested in seeing contactless solutions stick around, even as we can see an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Save for the contactless grab-and-go machines, guests can already complete many -- if not all -- of the functions of a self-serve kiosk right within Marriott's Bonvoy app, which offers mobile check-in, checkout and even room keys, along with the ability to communicate with hotel staff through the in-app messaging feature.

While it remains to be seen whether or not travelers will continue to prefer contactless solutions in hotels, rolling these types of initiatives out in select-service properties makes sense. These are typically the hotels where guests don't expect things like turndown service with chocolates at the bedside, concierges, individualized check-in experiences and the like.

Often, guests who choose these hotels only need a place to stay for a night or two and are perfectly happy with not seeing or talking to anyone upon checking in and out and grabbing a snack or beverage without interacting with staff.

Going forward, even in a post-pandemic world in which people crave interaction with others, it's reasonable to expect hotel chains to continue to replace in-person interactions with contactless processes -- especially at hotels on the lower end of the pricing spectrum.

Featured image by (Photo courtesy of No Brick LLC for Marriott International)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

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  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023