Marriott to Offer Direct-to-Consumer Experiences; No Word Yet on Agent Bookings

Downton Abbey Castle - editorial only
One experience will allow guests the chance to explore the filming locations for the hit series “Downton Abbey” on a guided tour from London, including Highclere Castle and Bampton, the setting for Downton village.

Luxury advisors, take note: Marriott International, Inc. is making a big move beyond hotels into offering travel experiences, with a new investment in PlacePass that the company said will add more than 100,000 travel experiences worldwide for its guests.

Through the investment in PlacePass, guests will soon be able to choose from an additional 100,000+ local experiences in 800 destinations worldwide when they book direct on Marriott.com or SPG.com, or through Marriott’s mobile apps, according to a written release announcing the new investment.

According to a Marriott representative Travel Agent spoke with, there is no word yet on whether or not travel agents will be able to book the new experiences on behalf of their clients. Marriott says the company is still looking into how exactly the service will be offered as it begins to work toward the actual launch of the service later this year.

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New travel opportunities offered through PlacePass will include a chance to visit the filming locations for hit series “Downton Abbey” on a guided tour from London, including Highclere Castle and Bampton, or the chance to wrestle with a retired sumo wrestler in Tokyo. Other highlights include a tour of Dubai’s dunes by camel followed by a traditional Bedouin-style dinner; a sunrise mountain biking tour through the Angkor Archaeological Park in Cambodia; a private viewing of the crown jewels in the Tower of London hosted by the museum’s Chief Exhibitor; and a pasta-making workshop at a Tuscan farmhouse, chateau in the Dolomites or a cooking school in Florence.

Marriott has been offering a smaller selection of travel experiences for its loyalty members since 2006, when Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) launched Moments, which allows members to redeem points for approximately 6,000 travel experiences based around themes like music, sports, culinary travel and culture. The company has also previously offered travel experiences in partnerships with organizations like the NFL, MLB, US Open, Formula One, Universal Music Group and AEG.

SPG became part of Marriott Rewards after the company began to offer combined promotions back in December. That move followed the official close of the merger between Marriott and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, which created the largest hotel company in the world – at the time the merger closed it included more than 5,700 properties and 1.1 million rooms across 30 brands in over 110 countries.

PlacePass is a travel technology solutions provider in online destination experiences and metasearch.

Visit members.marriott.com/experiences

This story originally appeared on www.travelagentcentral.com.

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