Marriott Invests in Experiential Travel

March 23, 2017 Smart Meetings

PlacePass users can tour Downton Abbey filming locations

Meeting planners have a new tool to entice business travelers who attend corporate events, thanks to Marriott International. The world’s largest hotel company announced this week it has invested in PlacePass, a Cambridge, Massachusetts, travel-tech company.

PlacePass has developed a web-based meta-search platform to assist travelers in selecting unusual local experiences as personal destinations to the places they visit. Marriott calls these “experiential travel opportunities.”

The tours comprise 800 worldwide destinations and will soon include an additional 100,000 local experiences. The packages run the gamut of exotic regions and extreme climates—from enjoying a champagne picnic in Arizona’s Grand Canyon to exploring the snowy wilderness of Norway on a dog sled.

The partnership with PlacePass gives Marriott guests access to an online database that enables them to offer interesting itineraries. Meetings planners who reserve rooms and meeting spaces at one of Marriott International’s many hotel brands can promote PlacePass as an added benefit for attendees who want to combine business with pleasure trips.

A few Marriott-PlacePass local packages include:

Exploring filming locations for the hit series Downton Abbey on a VIP guided tour from London, including Highclere Castle and Bampton
Visiting Cambodia’s iconic temples on a sunrise mountain-biking tour through Angkor Archaeological Park
Perfecting pasta-making skills alongside a local Italian chef at a Tuscan chateau, home to a Florentine cooking school in the Dolomites region of Italy

“This is an incredibly exciting opportunity to partner with Marriott,” said Emily Bernard, chief brand officer and co-founder of PlacePass. “We will connect guests to great experiences so they make the most of their travels, connect with locals and discover the world in new ways.”

The investment in PlacePass coincides with a significant milestone for Marriott International, which has more than 6,000 hotels in 122 countries and territories. The company announced membership in its Marriott Rewards loyalty programs—including The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest—recently surpassed 100 million members.

“The addition of PlacePass activities and tours beginning later this year reflects Marriott’s commitment to giving our guests a complete travel experience,” said Stephanie Linnartz, global chief commercial officer for Marriott International, which owns Westin, Sheraton, Renaissance Hotels and many other well-known brands.

The post Marriott Invests in Experiential Travel appeared first on Smart Meetings.

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