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Marriott Hotels launches accelerator programme

Marriott Hotels in Europe is launching a unique accelerator programme to find and accelerate tech start-ups that enhance the travel and hospitality experience. The programme will give budding companies the chance to grow through expert guidance and the opportunity to pilot their product within the Marriott Hotels portfolio within Europe. Upon completion of a successful test period, Marriott Hotels could potentially offer an ongoing partnership with the start-up.

As a brand that fosters creativity and ingenuity, Marriott Hotels is the ideal sponsor of a programme such as the Marriott TestBED.  Two start-up companies benefit from a six-week pilot of their product or service in two European Marriott Hotels, following a pitch process. The companies will be able to use an individual hotel as a ‘test bed’ while receiving publicity and support from Marriott Hotels,  as well as exposure at relevant events and introduction to industry leaders.  

The companies will also benefit from a mentoring programme including training and workshops delivered by professionals from the travel and hospitality industry as well as from leading marketing agencies to provide the knowledge and tools to promote their product.  

Start-ups can register their interest via, if they are a seed or early stage start-up with developed products or services ready to go to market. Products or services should comply with the following:
•   Fit within the travel and hospitality sector
•   Can be implemented at a single hotel level
•   Will offer guests a useful tool to explore and discover a city or region OR
•   Help Marriott Hotels better understand their guests wants and needs
•   Does not require heavy integration into global systems  

The deadline for entries is Sunday 16 October 2016 and entrants should be willing to work within Europe. From here, a shortlist of eight start-ups will be invited to pitch to a panel of industry experts, including the Head of Innovation at AOL and senior Marriott figures, on Friday 4 November 2016. The winning two companies will then be given a few days boot-camp-style training, before piloting their product or service in a Marriott Hotel.  

Osama Hirzalla, Vice President Brand Marketing & eCommerce Europe at Marriott International, said: “The wealth of talent and innovation lying in start-up communities is truly phenomenal and we’re delighted to offer two companies the chance to launch their idea or product to a global travel market, benefit from a tailored mentor scheme, and receive feedback from actual customers, which is invaluable. The most exciting thing about Marriott TestBED is the idea that entrepreneurs can learn from us and we can learn from them: combining their agility and creativity with our tools and hospitality expertise could be a powerful force in enhancing the guest experience.”  

Marriott Hotels has spent the last few years upgrading and evolving its product and experiences to lead the future of travel. In doing so, Marriott Hotels has repeatedly engaged the creative community and developed programmes that enable entrepreneurial talent to flourish within its global operations. Marriott TestBED is the latest innovative programme to engage with this community, following the successful launch of CANVAS in 2015, an incubator project that challenged Marriott employees or local entrepreneurs to fill unused space in Marriott city-centre hotels. More recently in September 2016, Marriott Hotels announced its partnership with TED, the non-profit devoted to ideas worth spreading. The relationship brings creatively curated TED Talks, blogs and original quotes to hotel guests worldwide. In turn, travellers staying at Marriott Hotels have access to thought-provoking and inspirational content to help jumpstart their own original, inventive thinking.

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