Marriott International recently made headlines with the announcement that it is test launching a new virtual reality system at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square and the London Marriott Hotel Park Lane.
Named “VRoom Service,” this new system allows guests to test out a Samsung Gear VR headset for 24 hours in their rooms. The virtual-reality content is comprised of 360-degree 3D videos that take viewers to “Chile’s Andes Mountains, an ice-cream shop in Rwanda and Beijing’s bustling streets.”
On the surface, this seems like an example of today’s PR efforts to come up with the most innovative ideas – in the vein of robotic butlers and other “out of the box” technological services.
However, this effort is different.
When asked why the hotelier is undergoing this product test, Marriott pointed to the need to appeal to ‘digital natives.’ Many people in this demographic fall into the Millennial category, who are very digitally focused and highly connected.
As we have highlighted before, there are many considerations when creating innovations that will when appeal to Millennials. For example, travel planning should incorporate several key features important to this segment of travelers. This could include digital check-in and checkout, and intelligent voice-based searches that understand the rules of the today’s web searching capabilities.
What about virtual reality? Perhaps so … or perhaps not? However, these considerations are critical for truly appealing to and building long-standing loyalty with this generation.
We all know that Millennials will continue to aggressively adopt new and disruptive innovations long before the traditional traveler. So, to attract Millennials, hoteliers need to provide innovations that meet their diverse needs, which may expand beyond virtual reality.