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Bringing travel innovation to market with speed

Accenture created an incubator challenge with Marriott and 1776 to discover startups bringing innovation in the hospitality industry.


Call for change

In today’s competitive travel industry, delivering high-quality relevant experiences that connect deeply with customers is essential. Exploring new business models and speed to innovation are also key. As a renowned industry innovator, Marriott International knew a spirit of experimentation and adaptability is essential for finding and nurturing new ideas. But cultivating that kind of free-spirited, adventurous energy can be hard to do on your own, and quickly.

As a part of our existing relationship with Marriott, we explored ways to co-innovate scalable solutions and invited start up incubator 1776 to join us. Together, we created a unique program to help Marriott tap into a network of startups to discover new technologies that could identify new opportunities and reinvent their guest experience. The program: The Travel Experience Incubator.

We see The Travel Experience Incubator as an opportunity to fuel promising startups focused on game-changing innovation for the industry.

Stephanie Linnartz / Global Chief Commercial Officer – Marriott International

When tech meets human ingenuity

Establishing an ecosystem with creative possibilities

The program began with a challenge to identify promising startups and their game-changing solutions. Over a 12-week period, a team of experts from Accenture, Marriott, and 1776 guided the diverse group of selected startups as they developed, validated, and tested their pioneering travel and hospitality solutions. Accenture co-created a custom curriculum, facilitated a mentorship program, and provided strategy, technology, and design support.

The startup ideas ranged across everything from loyalty programs, to improved booking processes, to VIP experiences, to maximizing local activities during a hotel stay. The culmination of the program: Demo Day, where each startup pitched their solutions, with Marriott selecting the best to take to market.

Travel Innovation with Marriott

See how Accenture created the Travel Experience Incubator to help Marriott reinvent their guest experience.

A valuable difference

Piloting purposeful solutions in less than 9 months

With more than 160 applications for the Travel Experience Incubator Challenge, and the best seven selected for the Incubator, Marriott acquired a host of exciting new travel ideas exceptionally quickly. In less than nine months from program kick-off, they took forward six of the seven solutions developed through the Incubator, with the intent to pilot the ideas, bringing Marriott customers new and enhanced experiences in real-world scenarios.

One example of this was Marriott's pilot with program finalist Hostmaker. The two companies worked to bring Marriott's exacting standards to the London homeshare market, turning a potential industry threat into an opportunity for growth – and offering customers the best of intimate travel experiences they demand, with the quality that Marriott is known for. It’s proof of the power of innovation – and evidence of the essential vitality that relevancy and adaptability brings to a business.

Pictured Below:

Arne M. Sorenson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Marriott International, Inc., Stephanie Linnartz, Global Chief Commercial Officer at Marriott International, Inc., and Julie Sweet, Chief Executive Officer of Accenture, attend the Travel Experience Incubator Demo Day to judge the final solutions.

Each of these [six] pilots and these start-ups had a vision for travel experience that was new, that was different.

Julie Sweet / Chair & CEO