Monday, July 1, 2013

Marriott Hotels Offers Mobile Check-In for Frequent Guests

Having a large crowd at your next meeting? An easy front-desk experience can start your gathering off on a positive note.

In recognition of its increasingly connected mobile guests, Marriott Hotels plans to rollout mobile check-in at 325 hotels in the U.S. and Canada. Now launched at 31 Marriott-brand hotels, mobile check-in will expand to all 325 Marriott-brand hotels later this summer.

According to the consulting firm Hudson Crossing, emerging Gen Y travelers (ages 24 – 36) in the U.S. lead all other age groups in smartphone ownership at 80 percent and travelers in general are more likely to own mobile devices.

With the Marriott Mobile App, all Marriott Rewards members can check-in after 4 pm the day before their arrival and will receive an automatic notification when their room is ready. Because credit card information is stored within their Marriott Rewards profiles, members simply walk up to the expedited mobile check-in desk where their pre-programmed key card will be waiting for them. The mobile check-in feature is part of the free Marriott mobile app available in the Apple iTunes Store and Google Play.

“As Marriott developed the app and tested mobile check-in, we engaged customers, asking for their feedback to perfect the experience and learn what mattered most to them,” said Paul Cahill, senior vice president of brand management for Marriott Hotels. “Our frequent guests told us they wanted mobile check-in first, using their smartphones, to be widely available. That is what we are delivering as Marriott Hotels continues its journey of envisioning the future of travel for the next generation.”

The Marriott Mobile App will not stop at check-in. Future innovations are currently being tested at Marriott’s mobile incubator hotels, including checkout and guest service requests. Marriott also plans to expand mobile guest services outside the U.S. and Canada.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New Orleans Convention Center Project Wins Engineering Award

The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center renovation, which re-configured the existing Hall A exhibit space into a new 60,000 square foot column-free ballroom with grand entryway, has earned Thornton Tomasetti, the international engineering firm that provided structural engineering work on the project, a 2013 Structural Engineering Association of Kansas and Missouri (SEAKM) Award.

The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Hall A Renovations took home the award in the “Other Structural Design Project” category.

New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Hall A Renovations:

  • Thornton Tomasetti was chosen as the structural engineer for the renovation and expansion of Exhibit Hall A, as well as the addition of a new grand entryway at the 1.1 million square-foot New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, completed in January 2013, in time to host the NFL Experience during Super Bowl XLVII. The firm used 3D Revit modeling throughout the design phase to identify potential conflicts and solutions.
  • Thornton Tomasetti collaborated with the architect of record, “Manning Architects/Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, A Joint Venture,” and design architect LMN on the renovation.
  • The first part of the project included the $50 million expansion and renovation of Exhibit Hall A, increasing its size from 46,000 to 60,000 square feet for use as a state-of-the-art ballroom space. The project also included the addition of 26,000 square feet of pre-function space.
  • The second half of the project consisted of the construction of a new grand entryway in the northwest corner of the existing building. Thornton Tomasetti demolished the existing structure and designed a 45-foot curtain wall separating the indoor and outdoor spaces of the entrance.
  • A new vertical circulation capacity including elevators and stairs, and a cantilevered roof structure were also added to the convention center.