How to reach the front desk? Just text

Marriott will launch a new feature on its app that will let guests make specific requests — more towels, extra toothpaste — with their mobile devices. The Mobile Request feature will be part of Marriott's existing app, which is open to all members of its loyalty program. It rolled out at 46 properties, and it should be in all 500 Marriott hotels worldwide in July, the company said. The tool is also available 72 hours before check-in so guests' rooms can be stocked with requested items by the time they arrive.

Here’s how it works: Tap the Mobile Request tab in the app, and you’ll get a list of common asks in seven categories like “towels,” “bedding and pillows,” “housekeeping,” and “luggage assistance.” Simply tap what you’re looking for, and the hotel will send it up. There’s also a two-way chat feature in case your request isn’t listed or you need to get more specific. Marriott says that four in five guests used that option in early testing. While room service isn't yet officially supported, a Marriott spokesperson told Conde Nast Traveler that hotels should be able to handle simple orders placed through the chat feature.

Matthew Carroll, vice president of Marriott Hotels, told USA Today that about 75 percents of travelers—especially those in their 20s and 30s — carry one or more mobile devices. Marriott has made several moves in recent years to appeal to those younger travelers — or millennials — including introducing mobile check-in and check-out and room-ready alerts. The company is also piloting keyless entry, which allows guests to open their room doors with their mobile devices, at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel.

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“We know today's travelers want a mobile experience built around their changing needs and desire to communicate on their terms,” Carroll said. “Mobile Request is the brand's next evolution since our introduction of mobile check-in, checkout and room ready alerts worldwide.”

In testing, Mobile Request proved beneficial, Marriott said, for guests in transit who needed to request services and amenities before their hotel arrival, such as having a car service meet them at the airport. Guests on the road can simply tap once on the Marriott Mobile app icon and be instantly connected to their hotel, rather than having to find the hotel’s phone number and punch in ten or more digits. For guests who have checked in and might be in a business meeting or in their guest room rushing to get ready for an engagement, Mobile Request gives them immediate access to hotel staff, rather than having to call or visit the front desk. Of the more than 10,000 Mobile Requests made by guests during testing, 80 percent of guests chose the “Anything Else?” two-way chat option.

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