Shortly after Apple’s keynote on March 9, Marriott announced that it would be the first major hotel company to accept Apple Pay. In lieu of handing over a physical credit card, guests could simply tap their iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, or Apple Watch to a contactless reader at the front desk, which Marriott says would allow for a faster check-in process.
The service will begin this summer at 11 Marriott properties in big cities including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, and then rolling out to more hotels afterward. Besides its namesake brand, Marriott is also installing Apple Pay in Residence Inn, Courtyard, Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, Edition, and other brands in its portfolio.
Since 2013, when it launched its mobile app, Marriott has been increasingly integrating mobile-based services to cater to the 75 percent of guests who carry one or more smart devices. Users can already book rooms, check-in/check-out virtually, order amenities, chat with hotel personnel, control in-room televisions, and more. As more and more of its guests are using mobile devices and embracing technology, Marriott has been aggressive in experimenting with new technologies to enhance its services. Adding Apple Pay seems to be a natural extension of those offerings.
“Millions of customers already use Marriott Mobile to quickly book a hotel, check-in, or check out,” George Corbin, senior vice president of Marriott Digital, says in a release. “Now, Apple Pay can make it virtually effortless.”
Marriott also indicated that it would have an app ready for the new Apple Watch. The Marriott Apple Watch app would let guests check in or be notified when their rooms are ready. During the keynote presentation, Apple’s Kevin Lynch demonstrated using Marriott-competitor Starwood’s Apple Watch app to unlock a hotel room door. However, Marriott hasn’t mentioned if it will also have such a feature in its watch app (Corbin told the San Jose Mercury News last year that Marriott is waiting for potential bugs to be resolved with mobile unlocking).