With New App, Marriott Bets on a Mobile Future

The future, according to Marriott, is mobile. As in mobile apps. As in its new mobile app, in particular.

According to today’s news release announcing the company’s new smartphone app:

Smart devices are now everyone’s indispensable travel companion, as more and more travelers increasingly expect to have their needs satisfied using their mobile phone. Marriott is using mobile to introduce and revolutionize the next generation of customer service to travelers worldwide, delivering a far more personalized and anticipatory stay experience.

Marriott was already the first hotel to offer mobile check-in and checkout, and mobile room-ready alerts. New to the latest app will be the ability to request a room upgrade and late check-out. The other features aren’t so much new as they are more widely available.

Mobile Requests, which allows hotel guests to communicate special needs directly to hotel staff, is now available at more than 4,000 hotels. Mobile Key, which turns a smartphone into a room key, so guests can bypass the front desk, will be offered in 500 hotels by the end of 2017.

Rounding out the changes are an improved search function, the addition of content from Marriott’s “Traveler” magazine, and a newly simplified interface.

The new app is available today for iOS devices, in English, Chinese, Spanish, French, and German. An Android version will become available later this year.

Looking ahead to the app’s next iteration, Marriott will introduce a wholly new feature, mPlaces, which pushes personalized information and advice to the user’s device throughout the cycle of planning, staying, and post-travel.

While the latest changes are more incremental than genuinely new, the overall effect of the enhancements is a substantial upgrade. And there’s more in the pipeline.

Reader Reality Check

What would you like to see in Marriott’s mobile app?

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and almost that long writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

This article first appeared on SmarterTravel.com, where Tim is Editor-at-Large.