US based hotel brand Marriott re-launched the website TravelBrilliantly.com, its campaign site for the latest open innovation initiative. Until April 2014, users in the US and the UK are invited to submit ideas to the website for a co-creation contest. The campaign was set up for the first time in summer 2013, and has sparked a number of innovations in different areas, including technology, food, design and wellness.
Visitors to the website can watch videos of different innovations that Marriott Hotels is currently working on. In addition the site features different suggestions for innovations that have been submitted to the site by users. In addition, users can vote on the innovations and discuss the entries via a Facebook social plugin directly on the site. The winners of the competition are awaiting prize packages, including items from Herschel Supply Co. and Brookstone.
Marriott is not the first company to make use of digital technologies to create an innovation community and co-create products together wit customers. One of the most successful examples is Starbuck’s innovation site My Starbuck’s idea. The community has generated over 150,000 user ideas so far, concerning potential products, enhanced experiences and other ideas how Starbucks could get involved with communities.
Also in the tourism field innovative examples can be found. A lot of media attention received Aloft Hotels' initiative to let customers build and test an entire hotel in second life prior to building it in real life.
While these ‘one-off’ projects generate a lot of media buzz, it is the long lasting, continuous exchange with an active community of customers that generates the greatest success of co-creation. Marriott is on a good way with its TravelBrilliantly site to build an engaged and enthusiastic community of innovative customers that can provide support during the idea generation stage of innovation processes.
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