Monday, October 30, 2017

Dubai, Saudi start-ups shortlisted for Marriott's TestBED programme

After launching its TestBED programme in partnership with Wamda in the Middle East and Africa region for the first time in September this year, Marriott Hotels has announced the shortlist:  Actimirror from Hong Kong, Twistar from Dubai, Near Motion from Saudi Arabia, Unified Inbox from Singapore, Beachill from Lebanon, and DUBZ from Dubai.  

The shortlist’s innovations include a smart mirror that provides real-time interactive guest experiences while collecting data (Actimirror), a smart device that uses AI for market intelligence by analysing guest’s actions and voice for real-time insights (Twistar), a beacon that enables guests’ navigation and location-based communication (Near Motion), specialised chat apps that allow guests to communicate with smart devices using text and voice (Unified Inbox), an eco-friendly solar-powered beach mattress that can even charge guests’ mobile devices and cool their drinks (Beachill), and a service that allows guests to send their luggage from the airport to the hotel and vice versa without the hassle of carrying it (DUBZ).

“We have been truly impressed with not only the level of interest we’ve received for this initiative, but also with the quality of those entries. There is such an enormous amount of talent across the region and around the world, and we’re glad to be able to help discover it as well as nurture it, and facilitate learning from each other. Marriott Hotels has long been a trailblazer in shaping the future of travel, particularly when it comes to technology, and seeing these entries put into action will be an exciting journey for the people behind them, as well as for our brand,” says Sandra Schulze-Potgieter, Vice President of Premium & Select Brands, Middle East & Africa at Marriott International.

The programme, which was open to seed and early stage start-ups with products or services that are ready to pilot in a live hotel environment, offers an invaluable opportunity for participants to gain insightful feedback from guests, associates and mentors to help further develop and perfect their product.

Marriott received nearly 200 submissions from all over the Middle East as well as Africa, Europe and even Asia, demonstrating the wealth of talent eager to be given a chance to work with such a renowned hotel brand. The short-listed candidates have been hand-picked for their ability to revolutionise a guest’s stay, and their potential to reinvent the hotel experience throughout the region. To enter, applicants were invited to submit their applications online, before being invited to pitch to a panel of experts including Marriott executives and industry experts.

These shortlisted start-ups have now been selected following the expert judging process, and will be invited to Dubai to pitch their solutions in front of a panel of judges on November 13 and 14. They will also be given the opportunity to be profiled through the microsite, Marriott International’s network, and various media outlets, before the finalists will then be chosen.

Once selected, the finalists will have access to a mentoring programme that involves long-term impact and association with the Marriott brand, and access to partnerships with start-up accelerators and industry experts, as well as the chance to interact with guests while they put their innovations into action in a live, working hotel environment within a Marriott Hotel.

Marriott has a long history of supporting talent across the globe, not to mention encouraging its guests to think more innovatively, live more, and do more. This is no different here in the Middle East & Africa, where the programme is uniquely placed to make a serious impact of change. The Marriott Hotels TestBED programme represents yet another opportunity for game-changing growth and impact. - TradeArabia News Service
 



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