The news is rife with new startups, such as Magic and Operator, that offer instant concierge via SMS for a multitude of items, services and deliveries.
Now Marriott Hotels is getting in on the trend with its latest feature, an "ask anything" Mobile Request option via its branded mobile app.
The feature is aimed at streamlining the guest experience so any request can be fulfilled before, during or after a stay. Things like ordering bedding, housekeeping, valet and luggage existence can be requested through the service, which is only available to members of the brand's loyalty program.
Beyond basic requests, there is also a direct two-way chat function called "Anything Else?" This function connects the guest directly with a staff member, bypassing the phone or a visit at the front desk.
While these tasks could certainly have been performed via a phone call, the consumer tendency to prefer text message to voice chat means that this feature will certainly be popular.
In fact, during the trial period, nearly 80% of the 10,000 Mobile Requests were via the Anything Else channel.
Access to the app begins up to 72 hours before a traveler's stay in the hotel, offering a larger window to do things such as request extra pillows before arriving — and not at 11pm, already exhausted and impatiently awaiting room service to arrive.
In announcing the service, Matthew Carroll, vice president, Marriott Hotels emphasized the brand's focus on the digital guest experience:
Some 75 percent of people travel with one or more mobile devices and the percentage is higher for younger travelers. We know today’s travelers want a mobile experience built around their changing needs and desire to communicate on their terms. Mobile Request is the brand’s next evolution since our introduction of mobile check-in, checkout and room ready alerts worldwide.
46 hotels are launching with the Mobile Request, with the remaining hotels in the global portfolio to follow soon after.
The brand promoted the launch with an #AppYourService social media promotion that included random deliveries from decked-out concierges throughout New York City.
The brand is seeking to emphasize the true on-demand nature of service request through the app — although we're sure that the hotel wouldn't send a bellhop off on a scooter to grab Shake Shack...but it couldn't hurt to ask!
NB: Retro phone image courtesy Shutterstock.