Bringing travel innovation to market with speed

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 a terrific opportunity to fuel promising startups focused on game-changing innovation for the lodging industry."

– STEPHANIE LINNARTZ, Global Chief Commercial Officer – Marriott International

Strategy and Solution

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.


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.

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 – North America at Accenture, attend the Travel Experience Incubator Demo Day to judge the final solutions.

"We went from challenge to six tangible pilots in a very short amount of time. Each of these pilots and these start-ups had a vision for travel experience that was new, that was different, that was adding something to what Marriott is already doing."

– JULIE SWEET, Chief Executive Officer – North America, Accenture

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