by Alex Palmer | June 21, 2018
Marriott Caribbean & Latin America Resorts has launched a new augmented reality app that allows incentive planners and program participants to virtually step inside eight of its properties. Portal to Paradise, launched June 19, allows prospective travelers to "walk" through the Mexico and and Caribbean resorts using their iPhone, scoping out the sandy beaches, spacious rooms and sunny lobbies as if they are actually there. 

Though rolling out to the consumer market as well as B2B, the tool offers particular potential to the incentive market, giving participants the ability to experience getaways that they could qualify to visit. Users can download Portal to Paradise through the Apple App Store or by visiting the Marriott Caribbean & Latin America Resorts website. Users then aim their phone at a flat surface and, after selecting a resort, a door appears which they can then open and walk through to view 360-degree scenes of the property. Each of the eight resorts on the app offer six scenes to explore, including the beaches, spas, restaurants, lobbies and more. 

"Marriott's Portal to Paradise was actually crafted from the beginning from the feedback and the needs of our incentive clients," Mandy Gill, senior director of account management - brand, marketing and digital - Caribbean & Latin America at Marriott International, told Incentive. "The Portal to Paradise app allows meeting planners as well as meeting/incentive attendees or conference registrants a chance to experience the hotels and destination for a much more immersive site visit than using video alone."

She emphasized that the experience blends the virtual with the physical, allowing users to feel "a more realistic taste of what guests could experience." Gill added that it is also an engaging way for planners to share potential incentive or meeting hotels with key decision makers, providing a more interactive way to learn about a destination.  
"It can serve as a great teaser as they picture themselves walking into paradise -- as well as something they can look forward to in much more detail than pictures or videos ever could alone," said Diana Plazas, vice president of brand, marketing and digital and owner and franchise relations - Caribbean & Latin America at Marriott International.
The properties available for visitors to experience are Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino (pictured), Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino, Marriott Cancun Resort, JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa, JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa, Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort and St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino.