Hotels

Marriott considers hotel rooms with communal living space, shared kitchen

Communal living spaces may soon be part of Marriot's offerings.

Communal living spaces may soon be part of Marriot's offerings.  (iStock)

Airbnb already does it. Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO) does it, too. These popular house-rental services offer users short-term lodging with the comforts of a kitchen-- often in a shared living space.

To keep up with growing competition from sites like Airbnb, Marriott International may be joining the mix. The hotel chain unveiled a new communal living concept last week at its first ever  pop-up hotel innovation lab last week in Los Angeles.

The layout, which incorporates a common living room and kitchen with four private bedrooms, was displayed during the Americas Lodging Investment Summit.

The company suggests the collection of rooms could be rented by a group of friends attending a destination party or business colleagues traveling to a conference together. 

The prospective rental, built by the hotels engineers and designers, could become reality for Marriott’s Element Hotel brand.

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“We took a look at why people travel and what people need,” Toni Stoeckl, ‎Global Brand Leader, Lifestyle Brands at Marriott International, explained to USA Today. “Our lobbies have become more communal and social hubs, but we saw a need for something in between. There are a lot of opportunities for people to have their shared common space and be together but still have their private space.”

But it’s not just living spaces that may see a complete overhaul.

Marriott is also working on offering new accommodations in the rooms themselves.

One of those shown at the summit included a new automatic drink dispenser that guests can use to fill up on beer or wine. The high-tech dispenser is controlled via smartphone and the hotel would theoretically award loyal guests free drinks.

As for the living spaces, Marriott is still evaluating whether the idea would be popular-- and lucrative in today's market. “So far,” Stoeckl said, “the feedback has been very positive.”