Marriott launches "Lodging Laboratory"

Marriott's hotel in downtown Charlotte is being used as a "beta tester" for new amenities, designs and high-tech features, with guests giving instant feedback. NBC's Mark Barger reports.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (NBC News) -- Marriott has launched a "lodging laboratory" to help test new features for its hotels.

Marriott revamped its downtown Charlotte hotel to serve as a "beta" tester for new features.

"It's an existing hotel that we've taken and really transformed," says Marriott's Matthew Carroll.

Guests notice the differences right away, skipping the front desk to check in on a tablet or through Marriott's app.

Your phone can also be used as your key.

The redesigned guest room offers next level lounging with mobile-friendly entertainment options, including Netflix streaming.

A more open hotel lobby invites guests, as well as the public, to congregate for work or relaxation, channeling a boutique vibe with touches of local culture, art, coffee and merchandise.

"The idea of being in a space that feels local, where you're engaging with the local community," Carroll says.

The food and beverage experience includes a coffee lab, open farm-to-table restaurant and even a bottle shop.

Similar to "like" buttons on social media, Marriott is using real-life "likes" to decide which ideas to keep.  "Beta buttons" attached to different features allow guests to give immediate feedback.

The digital check in and mobile key entry has already rolled out at more than 20 hotels nationwide, and almost half of the chain's guest rooms have gotten a redesign as well.

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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