NEW YORK—Marriott Hotels recently launched its newest collaboration—a new augmented reality (AR) in-room guest experience with Pepsico’s premium bottled water brand Lifewtr—at a couple of pop-up events held inside the expansive, white-winged Oculus at the Westfield World Trade Center here in Manhattan.
As longtime partners, PepsiCo and Marriott Hotels’ partnership is designed to inspire people to unlock their creative potential and highlight various artists featured on the water bottles. The AR experience will roll out nationally to Marriott Hotels properties throughout 2019.
“Water is essential to life, but inspiration is as well. They wanted to marry that,” said Nina Herrera-Davila, senior director of consumer public relations, classic premium brands at Marriott International. “We can provide water in all forms and ways, but we wanted to make sure it’s authentic to where the brand is going.
Here’s how it works: Hotel guests use Facebook’s in-app camera via a mobile device to scan a custom tag on Lifewtr bottles found in participating properties. Once the code is scanned, guests can customize their rooms with an AR art gallery of Lifewtr artists to transform the walls—and they can even make images their own through the use of color. The works of art can also be shared on social media.
In an effort to advance and showcase sources of art and creativity, Lifewtr is now the official in-room water for Marriott Hotels nationwide, encouraging guests to explore new worlds of creativity and inspiration within the Marriott Hotels guestroom.
“Marriott’s transformation is centered around creativity, inspiring brilliance, encouraging people to have different perspectives and be a better version of themselves while on the road,” said Herrera-Davila.
It was the synergies between the two brands that proved this partnership a solid fit. “We were also looking for an opportunity to build our portfolio and have in-room placement,” said Juliette Dealy, global senior marketing manager of PepsiCo. “It’s about finding ways to inspire the guest in new and exciting ways. It’s an amazing platform with emerging artists, and felt like a very natural partnership.”
The 18 Lifewtr artists featured on the bottles of water were curated from various sources, such as the Council of Fashion Designers of America, according to Dealy, and range in themes such as art and fashion as well as sensibility.
“We wanted to feature all of them; all 18 pieces of art can be selected. We want to inspire as many people as we can. People are attracted to different types of art, so there’s a variety,” said Dealy. “Lifewtr has really done an amazing job finding emerging artists. They’re very much on the pulse of that and worked with different up-and-coming designers. It’s a broad range of artists.”
A moment of inspiration can make a hotel stay memorable. “It’s about that little encouragement and bite-size things you get throughout your stay,” said Herrera-Davila. “And think about it, you can go into a room and see any kind of water bottle. Lifewtr is fun versus some others that are plain.”
To respond to the ever-growing needs and desires of the traveler, Marriott has kept pace through innovation and technology. This project is just one aspect of the brand’s metamorphosis, which is leading to what will comprise hospitality experiences of the future.
“Marriott has been on this exciting journey of transformation, and this is just another element for our guests,”said Herrera-Davila. “We are working to inspire at every touchpoint where it makes sense, giving a fresh experience for our guests. We’ve shifted our mindset of what the hotel experience should be.”
Dealy hopes that this partnership will be just the beginning. “We’ve had a great relationship with Marriott; building on this brand, we look to do a lot more,” she said. “Both brands have a lot of interest in doing a phase two and taking this further by adding new artists into the AR experience and going beyond. There’s nothing set in stone, but we’re excited to continue the partnership.”
Marriott Stanton South Beach will be among the first hotels to debut the new experience for guests.
“Everything we’ve been doing is for the guest to personalize their stay and providing the resources for them to do so,” said Herrera-Davila. “Everyone wants to put their own stamp on something, and it’s a great opportunity for Marriott to try something through AR.”