Marriott debuts hotel brand for Millennials

At the new AC Hotel New Orleans Bourbon, the guestroom closet has no door and the traditional business center is gone.

It's an uncharacteristic edginess for AC's Bethesda, Md.-based parent company Marriott International.

But Marriott is shaking things up with its brand new 220-room AC Hotel in New Orleans, the first of 100 such hotels it plans to open in the next few years in urban markets such as Miami and Washington, D.C. By importing this European brand to the USA, Marriott is going after a group of travelers who don't care much for tradition: Millennials who were born in the 1980s to early 2000s.

In recent years, Marriott has made aggressive moves to appeal to the next generation traveler who wants to stay at a well-designed hotel with social lobbies where they can work and play and rooms with the latest technology. In addition to AC Hotels, Marriott has been rolling out EDITION, a luxury lifestyle brand with renowned hotelier Ian Schrager, who's often credited with creating the boutique hotel concept. The company has also partnered with the Swedish IKEA furniture company to launch Moxy, a budget chain in Europe.

Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson admits that in its nearly 60 years as a global company, Marriott has earned a reputation of "predictability of room size, predictability of design and consistency."

Not that there is anything wrong with that, but now it's time to try some new things, he says. "I think increasingly, over the last couple of years, (guests are) saying, 'We want that genuine, authentic service, we want to do business with a company we think is good, but let us also have something that turns us on when we travel,'" Sorenson says.

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