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Next generation travelers are the early adopters of innovation and are driving tremendous changes in the hospitality sector.  While many boutique brands were first to cater to this audience, larger hoteliers are following suit.

Marriott International is embracing this new movement by creating a new chain called Edition, which is a luxurious, hip boutique hotel that could grow to a 100­city hotel chain.

The idea was conceived in partnership with Ian Schrager, who is essentially the founder of the boutique hotel movement.  Edition features laser-lit nightclubs and guest-rooms include paintings of women wearing toilet-paper turbans, hardwood floors and faux-fur throws.

For some time, Marriott International has been enhancing its “guest-room beauty experience” with nicer bathroom items and providing guests with the free Xplor app, which combines loyalty and games for guests.  However, according to company executives, it needed to standout in the “sea of sameness.”

Edition brings a whole new level of hipness to Marriott International. In fact, according to the New York Times, this move has caused the Ritz-Carlton brand to acknowledge its true owners – Marriott.  With the addition of Edition, the walls can be broken down between the two chains, which will add tremendous value to Marriott’s image.

As we have highlighted before, younger travelers are informed and empowered.  As such, they demand personalized experiences, which can be booked through social and mobile channels, and they are looking to ‘bond’ more with brands.

Edition will serve as a prime example of how larger hoteliers can create new brands to cater to this unique audience.  Innovation will be the foundation for meeting the needs of the next-generation traveler and Marriott International is taking the right steps, which will certainly be replicated by competing brands.