In the face of stiff competition from Airbnb and other experience-focused travel suppliers, the traditional hotel industry needs to up its game. But, instead of, say, upgrading menus or providing revamped creature comforts, Marriott Hotels is bringing its guests stimulation of the mind through a new partnership with TED.
The collaboration will give Marriott guests access to original and specially curated content from TED, and the hotel group will also host a series of TED Talks Fellows "salons" in Seattle, London, Dubai, Bangkok, and Santiago over the next year.
Marriott Hotels vice president and global brand leader, Matthew Carroll says the brand sees an opportunity in delivering thought-provoking content to guests. "We believe that travel expands the mind and sparks new, creative ways of thinking," he says. "How many times have you been on the road and a great idea suddenly comes to you, or you see a new angle to an existing problem because you are outside of your normal routine and thought process? This is a unique benefit of travel that our guests’ really value. Together with TED, we hope to offer our guests bite-sized moments of inspiration that are fun and engaging and help them refresh or gain new perspectives while traveling."
Also top-of-mind for Carroll is the insight that Marriott guests are often entrepreneurs, innovators, and individuals who already believe in the power of a great idea. He says, "Innovation, creativity and original, inventive thinking are such an important part of succeeding in business today and we believe that travel can play a unique role. It provides an opportunity to step outside your normal routine and encounter new people, places, and experiences. It inspires a change in perspective, reveals new angles, and flashes of insight that spark new ideas."
By delivering fresh inspiration, Marriott hopes to help guests bring more great ideas to life. For TED, the partnership presents an opportunity to bring its content and community to a wider audience. TED chief revenue officer and head of partnerships, Lisa Choi Owens, says, "TED is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. We hope to further expand our mission to a community of global travelers who are curious and engaged."
The content itself will come in various formats; short form video, segments from past TED talks with aligned visuals, quotes pulled from TED talks represented in a visual format, curated posts from the ideas.ted.com blog and in-room playlists of TED content, updated quarterly, and organized around quarterly themes. The initial theme is curiosity, which starts this fall and will be followed by travel, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
Owens says, "We will be developing original videos, customizing existing content from blogs and quotes that thoughtfully align Marriott’s mission. Additionally, we will be organizing playlists of thematic content aimed at inspiring travelers throughout the Marriott global network."
Alongside this, the five TED Talks Fellows Salons will feature speakers whose topics coincide with the quarterly themes. The first event took place September 7 in Seattle and featured Ted Fellows, videogame designer and producer, Kellee Santiago and artist, Constance Hockaday.