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Marriott's Concierge App Lets Guests Text In Any Request, Anytime

The hospitality chain's mobile app now operates as a kind of digital concierge. For when dialing zero for reception just seems too arduous.

Posted on May 13, 2015, at 4:53 p.m. ET

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For those times when interacting with an actual human being regarding your hotel stay seems like too much, Marriott is launching a feature on its app that allows guests to text in requests for "anything, anytime, anywhere" — prior to, during, and after their stay.

Marriott is referring to "anything" within reason—and the bounds of local laws—and sees guests using the feature mainly for in-room amenities, like extra towels, pillows, wake-up calls, and other hotel-based services, like spa appointments or the concierge's help with dinner reservations. The feature could really come in handy in a Maureen Dowd kind of situation where you might want is a large pizza and a sleeping mask.

The program, called Mobile Request, launched Wednesday in 46 test properties and will be rolled out for loyalty program members at all of the chain's 503 global properties. The company said it aims to give them "immediate access to hotel staff, rather than having to call or visit the front desk."

Marriott's Mobile Request feature is tapping into the on-demand, mobile concierge market that Uber co-founder Robin Chan is currently going after with his yet-to-be-launched Operator app. Operator is billing itself as a "request network" and gives the more-money-than-time crowd access to a group of "operators" that will fulfill any request on demand.

In the hospitality industry, app development has primarily focused on mobile check-in and keyless entry. Combine that with the industry standard of express checkout and Marriott's new text feature, and you may not have to ever speak to another human being again. At least in a hotel.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.