Ever since the international luxury hotel chain Marriott Hotels launched its TestBED program along with Wamda in the MENA region two months ago, looking for innovative tech solutions, it has received more than 200 applications from ambitious startups from all over the world. After the hotel chain examined all the submissions carefully, it shortlisted several candidates, among which were Actimirror from Hong Kong, Twistar from Dubai, Near Motion from Saudi Arabia, Unified Inbox from Singapore, Beachill from Lebanon, and DUBZ from Dubai.
Actimirror offers a smart mirror providing real-time interactive guests experiences while collecting data, while Twistar is a smart AI device, analyzing guests’ actions and voices for real-time insights. Near Motion enables guests’ navigation and location-based communication, and Unified Inbox is a chat app to allow guests to communicate with smart devices using texts and voices. Beachill is an eco-friendly, solar-powered mattress that can even charge a mobile device and cool cocktails, and finally DUBZ is an innovative service via which the hotel guests can send their luggage from the airport to the hotel and vice versa without carrying it in person.
Sandra Schulze-Potgieter, Vice President of Premium & Select Brands, Middle East & Africa at Marriott International, said that she was impressed by the vast number of bright, young talents in the region.
The shortlisted candidates will travel to Dubai to pitch their ideas in front of Marriott’s executives and a panel of judges. The winners will join the Marriott’s mentorship program and will also be featured on Marriott’s website. Furthermore, their products will be tested in a real hotel environment.
The competition was open to seed early-stage startups offering products or services that are ready to debut in a real-live hotel environment. The shortlisted participants were selected based on their potential to disrupt the hotel industry. All the young talents will now get access to Marriott’s unique mentorship program where they get access to startup accelerators, venture capitalists, and industry experts. In addition to that, the young entrepreneurs will have the chance to interact with the hotel guests using their innovations to get real feedback.