Turning Elevators Into an Experience

By Anna Dunn, July 14, 2016

The secret is out: Hotel elevators can do more than transport guests from the lobby to their guest room. Now, art galleries, photo booths and user-generated imagery are part of the hotel lift experience.

Elevators are “an often overlooked opportunity for engagement,” says Vicki Poulos, brand director for Marriott’s Moxy Hotels. “Today’s millennial traveler is excited by the novelty of a photo booth and is seeking interactive opportunities to capture images for Instagram, Snapchat or other social media accounts.” Hence, the brand has added interactive elevators in its new properties in New Orleans and Tempe, Arizona. The elevators resemble photo booths, and each property provides region-specific props, like Mardi Gras beads in New Orleans and faux cacti in Tempe. Poulos says groups meeting at either property can also create custom elevator experiences.

Moxy isn’t the only one to ride this trend. Boutique hotel Casa Claridge’s Faena Miami Beach livens up its elevator with Elevate, an art program of rotating installations by Miami artists. Its current installation, “Return to Tomorrow,” has a “Star Trek” vibe with black lights and glow-in-the-dark constellations. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has a similar concept at its elevator bay, with 6-ft.-tall high-definition video art.

Marriott’s Renaissance brand is also creating buzzworthy elevator concepts. Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel opened in March with a high-tech digital imagery elevator bank, an example of ambient intelligence (it responds to movement of passersby). The experience is timed to reflect the opening and closing of the elevator doors, projecting local art and depictions of the Garment District on the walls. The elevators in Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel showcase immersive imagery of the city’s Theater District with strategically placed mirrors to put guests in the action. 

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