Marriott’s Moxy Hotels Gamifies Hospitality With AR Experience

Moxy’s AR experience extends a “Play On” positioning that promotes its hotels as a fun destination for millennial and Gen Z consumers who are smartphone-friendly.

Recent research suggests these age groups value trips that don’t cost much money but provide a truly memorable moment or experience.

As the hospitality industry recovers from earlier pandemic restrictions, the Marriott-owned brand aims to provide travelers with more memorable stays they can capture with their mobile devices and share on social media. The challenges include a social-networking aspect, with one asking users to take a selfie with their avatar at Moxy’s Grab & Go stations using the hashtag #moxyuniverse.

Moxy’s target consumers are likely to be familiar with AR content, a key feature of photo-messaging apps like Snapchat and location-based mobile games like Pokémon Go. Younger consumers also tend to play more video games, a significant entry point to the metaverse and related AR experiences.

Global Gen Z consumers, on average, spend 17% of their leisure time gaming, which is more than millennials (14%), Gen Xers (11%) and baby boomers (6%), according to researcher Newzoo. By integrating mobile-game-like experiences into its entertainment offerings, Moxy can better appeal to this younger cohort.

“Moxy Universe, Play Beyond” comes as Marriott pushes greater to associate leisure time with gaming. Its Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program began sponsoring a digital variety show that highlights esports and gaming culture in Asia this month. The 15-episode “Gamer’s Paradise” promotes different Marriott hotels throughout the region. One Esports, a sports promoter One Championship unit, streams the show on Facebook, Twitch, YouTube and AfreecaTV, a Korean peer-to-peer streaming service.

Marriott’s gaming-focused efforts arrive as the hospitality industry spends more on advertising for the summer season. Travel industry advertisers boosted their marketing spend by 43% since last year to $623 million through April, according to researcher MediaRadar. Marriott this year also revamped its ad sales business with the rollout in May of the Marriott Media Network, a cross-platform ad solution that relies on first-party data from Bonvoy’s 164 million members.