[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he world’s biggest hotel company, Marriott International, has this summer launched a new online portal called Marriott Moments (this will be rebranded as Marriott Bonvoy Moments on February 13, 2019) for experiential travel, with dozens of activities and excursions available to book, from Game of Thrones walking tours in Dubrovnik to surf lessons in Macau.
Experiences are divided into different categories to help users find what they are looking for. For example, you can search in “Pop-Culture Vulture,” “Zen Master” or “Young, Broke and Fabulous.” All feature lists of the best things to do from around the world, for purchase with any major credit card.
Marriott Moments highlights 110,000 attractions and top-rated activities open to anyone, plus 8,000 exclusive Moments for members of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) that can only be redeemed with points. Members who purchase a Moment using a credit card will earn points.
Stephanie Linnartz, global chief commercial officer, says: “With the expansion of Marriott Moments to everyone, whether they are a guest of ours or not, we are building a global culture of adventure seekers who can pursue their passions.”
The way the hotel company has so quickly been able to populate its portal with ready-to-book experiences is by partnering with existing sites such as Eatwith, which allows you to book dinner at a stranger’s house in more than 130 countries, and PlacePass, an experiential travel booking platform.
Marriott Moments also features a growing list of 100 expert recommendations from hotel general managers, renowned chefs, mixologists, actors, skiers and sports broadcasters. So far, these include:
- Actress Lea Michele who recommends museums, places to shop, hikes and concert venues in LA and New York.
- Freestyle Skier Gus Kenworthy who recommends museums in Paris, Boston and London, as well as ways to explore the Matterhorn in Switzerland, Lynn Canyon in Vancouver, British Columbia, San Francisco and beyond.
- Sportscaster Michele Tafoya who recommends active experiences including picturesque bike rides along Manhattan Beach, Sydney Harbor or the Loire Valley countryside in France; and helicopter rides and dog-sledding in Juneau, Alaska.
- Chef Eric Ripert who recommends food markets, restaurants, jazz clubs, spas and hikes around the world from Puerto Rico and Chicago, to Bhutan and Marrakech.
- Chef Daniel Boulud who recommends food markets and restaurants in New York, San Sebastian, Lyon and Singapore.
- Chef Stephanie Izard who recommends ways of getting to know the culture and history of cities on three continents.
For those who are staying at one of the company’s hotels (of which there are 6,500 across 30 brands, so a lot to choose from), Marriott Moments also offers new on-property activities for guests. For example, they can book a private Champagne Sabering class at the St Regis Bal Harbour in Miami. “There are plans to grow these unique hotel experiences globally in the future,” says Marriott.
It has also integrated the ability to search and reserve experiences via Facebook Messenger. The hotel company says that “anyone can get location based recommendations of close-by Marriott Moments they can purchase on their phone”.
Marriott Moments is not dissimilar to Airbnb Experiences, which was launched in 2016, but instead of providing activities and tours designed by other companies, the experiences are all created by local Airbnb hosts. (You can read more about it here.)
Meanwhile, luxury hotel brand Aman has a portfolio of unique “immersive cultural experiences” for guests. Earlier this year it launched 12 new activities for people staying at its Japanese resorts. These include cycling the peaks and shores of Ise Shima, cultivating an akoya pearl, hiking through Japan’s holiest region, a bespoke tour of Nikenchaya and Kawasaki, and an insight into the world of sumo.