I recently posted about 'Crowd Sourcing the Future of Travel' and my experience participating in the launch of Marriott Hotels' TravelBrilliantly.com project and site. Social media has completely redefined customer service for everyone, but, it's interesting to see its impact on the travel industry. The brands that get it listen, connect, reward loyalty and make changes to evolve with the needs of their community.
That's why it has been an honor to be part of the Travel Brilliantly experience, and watch first hand how a prestige brand like Marriott Hotels is looking to make a mark in the digital age through the wisdom of the crowd.
On September 30th, Marc Kushner, Co-Founder of Architizer and Matthew Von Ertfelda, Vice President of Innovation at Marriott, and I convened at The Underground Innovation Lab at Marriott Headquarters in Bethesda to judge the final 15 ideas of their co-creation contest and choose the Grand Prize Winner. It was incredible to see how much creativity is out there, special thanks to everyone who participated! After a lot of deliberation, I'm excited to announce today, Anjana Kallarackal's Healthy Vending Machine that represents a winning idea that could potentially elevate the travel experience.
While discussing the 15 finalists, we immediately saw the potential of how this could help the wellness habits of travelers and professionals on the go, could easily scale out around the globe and could leave further opportunities for innovation and creativity. What if there were other healthier and more easily accessible options available to travelers worldwide? Could an idea like this replace the classic mini bar? What if a vending machine could even be translated into an app with products updated constantly and bringing in local vendors? As the Grand Prize Winner, Anjana will be traveling to London in November and will be working with Marriott, culinary expert Housebites, and local innovators to refine her idea and figure out how to best implement it at Marriott Hotels worldwide.
It's exciting to live in a time where super fans and consumers can use social media to collaborate with brands to have their big picture ideas implemented and be part of the process of an evolving industry. I'm proud to have been a part of such a groundbreaking campaign with Marriott.
Thanks again to all of you who submitted. You can continue to connect and submit your thoughts on reinventing the travel experience at TravelBrilliantly.com or just tweet using the #TravelBrilliantly. We'll be listening and watching!