BETHESDA, Md. — Following the announcement of Marriott International’s Commitment to Clean and Global Cleanliness Council, Marriott has introduced digital content about redefined processes and reimagined spaces guided by cleanliness experts and best practices to help hosts, organizers, and attendees plan and execute meetings.
Marriott is introducing enhanced sanitation guidelines, new operational training for associates, and increased use of conference technologies to ensure that customers are able to come together when they are ready. Meeting planners may now reference a series of new materials including an informational video, customer stories, and resources that provide additional context and information for designing successful events in the current environment.
“Our Commitment to Clean is guiding everything from how we keep our guests and associates safe to how we begin to welcome back event and meetings business,” said Ray Bennett, chief global officer, global operations, Marriott International, and chair of the Marriott Global Cleanliness Council. “Our Global Cleanliness Council is working with us to tackle the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic and what that means for an event or meeting at a hotel. Having experts in the area of hygiene, food safety, infectious disease, and infection prevention has been enormously beneficial in helping us think through everything we can do to support organizations as they begin to envision, plan, and execute future meetings and events of all sizes.”
The Planning Process
The primary focus of the hotel events teams is to help planners understand what a meeting in today’s environment will look like and ensure they can do their jobs swiftly and easily with events designed to serve their meeting objectives. From planning through contracting, the hotel teams consult with clients to review new practices including social distancing of attendees, and enhanced offerings such as virtual/hybrid meetings, contactless registration, and catering solutions. The Marriott Bonvoy Events’ portal houses best practices, testimonials, and visuals of actual meetings to bring the experience to life for the experts pulling the meetings together.
The Marriott Bonvoy Events team has created a series of physically distant floor plans that enable event planners to visualize room configurations that allow for socially distant gatherings while still supporting the meeting’s purpose and goals. Consultations, pre-convention meetings, and site tours can all be conducted virtually and adapted to include hygiene and safety briefings.
Meeting and Events
Attendees can anticipate the following adjustments during meetings and events at Marriott properties:
- Across the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and Latin America, Marriott International requires all associates wear a face covering as a part of their uniform. Face coverings are also required for all guests.
- Seating capacities have been reduced according to local laws and government regulations specific to each market, and where possible, outdoor spaces will be utilized.
- Frequent and more in-depth cleaning is conducted to disinfect meeting spaces and high-touch areas such as elevator buttons, doorknobs, and handrails as often as every hour.
- Hand sanitizer stations are provided throughout meeting spaces.
Meals and Breaks
Redesigned food and beverage experiences follow recommended standards of service and food safety. Both meals and breaks are set in dedicated, socially distanced spaces reserved for a specific event and its attendees to prevent co-mingling with other groups. Catering menus are also being adjusted to include a wide range selection tailored to group size, including new options for individually pre-packaged meals, canned and bottled beverages, and plated service. Buffets will also be modified to include servers, shields, hand sanitization, and queue management. Hotels are also leveraging technology and digital solutions to create contactless service where appropriate, such as the use of QR codes and digital menus. Non-essential items—such as linens, pre-set plates and glassware, and décor—will also be removed.
“Marriott International continues to work in collaboration with industry organizations, such as the Events Industry Council, to find ways to instill trust and confidence in meetings and events,” said Tammy Routh, senior vice president, global sales organization for Marriott International. “We look forward to welcoming back customers and guests for the exceptional experiences that our company is known for in a safe and clean environment. Cleanliness and service has always been our hallmarks and now those deep convictions are more important than ever.”