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Marriott Announces 8 Start-Ups Were Shortlisted for Its 2017 European TestBED Program


Marriott Hotels announced the eight start-ups shortlisted for the 2017 edition of its European accelerator program: TestBED. This year saw almost 150 start-ups from 24 different countries submitting their innovative solutions and technologies for consideration.

The eight shortlisted start-ups will now be invited to London on August 22-23 to pitch their solutions in front of a panel of judges, including Georgie Barrat, presenter of The Gadget Show, tech industry leaders, and senior Marriott figures, who will decide which start-ups will enter the TestBED program and pilot their products in one of the Marriott Hotels in Europe.

The shortlisted start-ups are:

  • Reward Technology – a UK start-up that developed a digital engagement platform using smart card detection. Reward Technology offers guests personalized communication and services based on the detection of their loyalty and/or room key card.
  • Umbo – a U.S. start-up that developed a device that turns surfaces into interactive interfaces by projecting information and using gesture recognition to navigate. Umbo could be installed in guest rooms, meeting rooms and/or public spaces and allow guests to interact with content that is projected onto surfaces.
  • HiJiffy – a Portugal-based start-up that has created an AI powered chatbot designed for the hospitality sector. Through the use of chatbots, Marriott Hotels can offer a variety of services to its guests using Facebook Messenger at any place and time, in an effective and efficient way.
  • My Brain Technologies – a French start-up that has created 'Melomind' - a brain training headset that uses neuroscience to combat stress and anxiety to help individuals relax. 'Melomind' would offer guests a single stress-relief session or a personalized coaching program that could be developed over a series of stays.
  • Mymanu – a UK start-up proposing 'Click' - wireless earbuds that offer live voice translation in 37 languages. 'Click' offers the ability to communicate with guests in their native language and make their interaction with Marriott associates feel more seamless and natural.
  • New'ee – a French start-up that has developed a device that wirelessly turns furniture into speakers, allowing guests to broadcast music without the need for speakers. New'ee could be used in guest rooms or public spaces to enable a more efficient and focused diffusion of sound.
  • Phaceology – a U.S. start-up that has developed a platform enabling analysis of emotional responses in real time, to improve employee performance and customer experience. It offers the ability to track associates' communication performance and help to improve it.
  • Optishower – a Portugal-based start-up that has developed smart meters to measure water and electricity consumption and the ability to provide associates and guests with analysis of usage. Marriott Hotels could use 'Optishower' both to reduce wastage as well as offer its guests the ability to track their own consumption and be rewarded for sustainable energy use during their stay


Key insights from the application process

Travel apps and concierge services continue to be the main focus of start-ups in the travel-tech sector, accounting for over 33% of applications for the 2017 program.

Most travel apps looked to capitalize on the growing trend for experiential travel, offering diverse solutions for travelers to discover, curate and share experiences. Shareability was a recurring theme, with over half of the travel apps based on social media and the ability to enable travelers to share their discoveries with others.

Mobile served as the main touchpoint in a third of the applications; particularly those offering concierge services, of which two thirds were mobile first/only solutions. Several start-ups already offering online booking/mobile key solutions were looking to expand their offering to a full-service customer journey, providing seamless experiences from booking to check-out.

IoT and wearable tech featured in approximately 20% of the products put forward, suggesting a growing trend towards technologies that can be used 'on the go.' This is up on last year, where IoT and wearable tech accounted for just 3% of submissions.

The adoption, implementation and widespread use of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning is still nascent.

For more information on the accelerator program, visit

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