By Devina Divecha/ Hotelier Middle East - Image Credit: Twistar
Marriott Hotels has revealed its shortlist for the TestBED programme in the Middle East & Africa, with six selected from nearly 200 start-ups from 39 different countries.
After launching its TestBED programme in partnership with Wamda in the Middle East and Africa region for the first time in September this year, the shortlist includes: Actimirror from Hong Kong, Twistar from Dubai, Near Motion from Saudi Arabia, Unified Inbox from Singapore, Beachill from Lebanon, and DUBZ from Dubai.
The shortlist’s innovations include: a smart mirror that provides real-time interactive guest experiences while collecting data (Actimirror); a smart device that uses AI for market intelligence by analysing guest’s actions and voice for real-time insights (Twistar); a beacon that enables guests’ navigation and location-based communication (Near Motion); specialised chat apps that allow guests to communicate with smart devices using text and voice (Unified Inbox); an eco-friendly solar-powered beach mattress that can charge guests’ mobile devices and cool their drinks (Beachill); and a service that allows guests to send their luggage from the airport to the hotel and vice versa without the hassle of carrying it (DUBZ).
"We have been truly impressed with not only the level of interest we’ve received for this initiative, but also with the quality of those entries. There is such an enormous amount of talent across the region and around the world, and we’re glad to be able to help discover it as well as nurture it, and facilitate learning from each other. Marriott Hotels has long been a trailblazer in shaping the future of travel, particularly when it comes to technology, and seeing these entries put into action will be an exciting journey for the people behind them, as well as for our brand," said Sandra Schulze-Potgieter, vice president of premium & select brands, Middle East & Africa at Marriott International.
The programme, which was open to seed and early stage start-ups with products or services that are ready to pilot in a live hotel environment, offers an opportunity for participants to gain insightful feedback from guests, associates and mentors to help further develop and perfect their product.