Road Warrior

Marriott guests use virtual reality to travel the world

Harriet Baskas, Special to CNBC
Marriott goes virtual in NY and London

If comfy beds, fluffy towels and power plugs aplenty aren't enough for guests in New York and London, Marriott Hotels is happy to send them someplace else—in a virtual sense.

The hotel's "VRoom Service" test program runs through Sept. 23 at the New York Marriott Marquis and the London Marriott Park Lane. The pilot offers its guests room-service delivery of a virtual reality loaner kit, valued at about $900, and stocked with Samsung Gear VR headsets.

Marriott's devices are preloaded with short 360 three-dimensional (3D) virtual visits to the Andes Mountains in Chile, an ice cream shop in Rwanda, and the streets of Beijing. Called "VR Postcards," the one- to two-minute episodes run on Samsung's Milk VR open platform, and feature real travelers sharing stories about how much they learn from and value travel.

The program "uniquely combines storytelling and technology," said Michael Dail, Marriott Hotels' VP of global marketing. The headsets are "the newest way we're enhancing the in-room guest experience."

VRroom Service is but one of Marriott's menu of tech-forward amenities, which include a mobile application that lets guests request services and amenities, and its recently announced in-room streaming for subscribers of Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Crackle and YouTube.

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