Whereas leisure journey has pushed business restoration to this point, Marriott Worldwide is increasing its give attention to at this time’s new period of enterprise journey as the road between work and recreation experiences continues to blur. With 30 manufacturers and greater than 8,000 properties globally, Marriott’s wide-ranging choices and enhancements have positioned the model to raised serve company vacationers and assembly attendees as enterprise journey resumes and continues to redefine itself.
By innovation and elevated service, Marriott seeks to steer the business into the following chapter of company journey by anticipating rising traits within the house, from “bleisure journey” to expertise. SkiftX spoke with Julius Robinson, chief gross sales & advertising and marketing officer, U.S. and Canada for Marriott Worldwide, about how Marriott is adapting to the altering company and assembly phase, and its future development technique.
SkiftX: Many vacationers are more and more combining enterprise and leisure journeys. How has Marriott tailored the varieties of companies it affords for this blended journey?
Julius Robinson: The concept of “bleisure journey” is not a development — it’s right here to remain. From The Ritz-Carlton to Residence Inn, our 30 lodge manufacturers are effectively geared up to cater to completely different life, spare time activities, and pursuits, whereas additionally assembly the wants of and supporting working professionals.
We’ve seen an uptick within the variety of friends including on a day or two to their enterprise journey to take pleasure in lodge facilities or a brand new metropolis whereas additionally easing their journey by, for instance, profiting from decrease flight prices midweek. To handle this demand, now we have invested in expertise to make the visitor expertise extra private and handy and empower lodges to cater to each leisure and enterprise vacationers.
For instance, properties are enhancing facilities and programming for friends who would possibly use a convention or assembly house in the course of the week however are in search of a day on the tennis court docket or pool on the weekend. Even viral traits like pickleball at the moment are a part of our visitor expertise, with newly launched courts at properties like The Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort & Spa and JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa.
We’re additionally discovering that teams wish to socialize and join with colleagues and mates by means of out of doors team-building choices and leisure and meals and beverage actions. In response to this, Gaylord Nationwide Resort & Conference Heart lately opened an interactive 10,000-square-foot sports activities bar expertise designed with the group buyer in thoughts. Marriott additionally debuted a modernized look with in depth renovations at Sheraton properties in Canada that provide hybrid communal areas for mixing work and play, together with Sheraton Gateway Resort in Toronto Worldwide Airport, Sheraton Centre Toronto Resort, Sheraton Laval Resort and Le Centre Sheraton Montreal Resort.
SkiftX: Long run, how would possibly this development of mixed enterprise and leisure journey affect conferences and occasions?
Robinson: There’s a renewed curiosity in integrating a vacation spot into company group itineraries. Assembly planners need to our lodges to attach them with native experiences, together with meals and beverage, leisure, and facilities. It’s an enormous alternative for our lodges to shine as built-in extensions and ambassadors of their communities.
It additionally offers our property groups the chance to creatively flex their muscle mass and showcase their respective cities, irrespective of the event. For instance, Renaissance’s Navigator Program helps friends stay like a neighborhood by tapping into its community of Navigators who advocate friends all the intriguing, new, and imaginative experiences a neighborhood has to supply.
We’re additionally seeing enterprise vacationers deliver their households with them to take pleasure in a trip and benefit from kid-friendly lodge facilities and close by points of interest all week lengthy till mother or dad is completed with enterprise commitments. Many companies at the moment are reserving lodges over others primarily based on family-friendly facilities equivalent to a pool, childcare or youngsters camp applications, and perks to close by points of interest. For instance, Sheraton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, which options greater than 31,000 sq. ft of occasion house, has supplied teams perks equivalent to complimentary Walt Disney World Resort tickets to teams with room blocks of fifty or extra.
SkiftX: What different company journey traits are on Marriott’s radar as we transfer into 2023? How is the corporate planning to handle these new behaviors and expectations?
Robinson: Wellness is an space that we’ve targeted on as an organization throughout all of our manufacturers, and it’s particularly essential as bodily and psychological well-being proceed to be on the forefront transferring out of the pandemic. We’ve prioritized this, and our lodges have cast unbelievable partnerships on this house that add worth to our visitor experiences.
For instance, at Westin Motels & Resorts, the model’s signature wellness program empowers friends to get a very good evening’s relaxation on the model’s Heavenly Mattress, order nutritious meals from the model’s Eat Effectively Menus, and take part in health applications like RunWESTIN, which affords curated routes and concierge-led group classes in choose cities. Over the summer time, RunWESTIN joined forces with the social train platform Strava, to reward health lovers of every type with Marriott Bonvoy factors for getting their coronary heart charges up and collaborating in group challenges.
As one other instance, The Westin Bayshore, Vancouver has partnered with Nature’s Boardroom, which affords curated group actions designed to create connection, which means, and shared recollections rooted in a robust sense of place. Friends can embark on strolling conferences or take a wellness break with a non-public group exercise, equivalent to an eco-tour, cultural artwork class on the seashore, or a culinary expertise within the wild.
SkiftX: Throughout the pandemic, evolving buyer wants helped speed up expertise adoption, particularly across the visitor expertise and conferences and occasions. How has this impacted the way in which Marriott approaches its loyalty program, Marriott Bonvoy, and the way are expertise investments of the previous two years benefiting enterprise occasion attendees at this time?
Robinson: Whether or not at dwelling making ready for a visit or on-site at one among our lodges, our friends can entry a wide selection of experiences by means of their cell units.
For instance, friends can request a “Cellular Key” at over 5,800 of our lodges globally, which allows them to make use of their smartphone as their room key and skip the entrance desk upon arrival. Inside the Marriott Bonvoy app, members can even request service facilities to be delivered to their room, order meals from on-property eating places with the choice to have meals picked up or delivered to quite a lot of places — together with the visitor’s room, poolside lounge chair, or cabana — and chat immediately with the lodge from their smartphone. In the meantime, Marriott’s next-generation visitor room leisure platform makes the visitor tv expertise personalised, user-friendly, and interactive. Assembly planners can even leverage the platform’s messaging capabilities to maintain friends knowledgeable of occasion info all through their keep.
SkiftX: Sustainability has change into an essential consideration for company journey, with corporations like Microsoft making it a core consider journey administration. What function can hospitality corporations play to assist company vacationers obtain sustainability objectives?
Robinson: Our sustainability and social affect platform, Serve 360: Doing Good in Each Course — which places Marriott’s core worth, “Serve Our World,” into motion — guides our dedication to make a optimistic and sustainable affect wherever we do enterprise. From lowering waste and carbon emissions to rising native sourcing, Marriott helps particular person property groups and assembly planners higher meet their very own sustainability initiatives. The corporate’s 2025 objectives embrace chopping meals waste in half, having 100% of the portfolio sustainably licensed, responsibly sourcing 95 % of our high 10 precedence classes, and lowering general waste to landfill by 45 %.
By Serve 360, now we have constructed sources equivalent to Marriott Worldwide’s Accountable Sourcing Information, which affords directives like core parameters for third-party F&B distributors, together with pointers round farming operations and animal welfare, sustainable agricultural practices and methods to scale back affect, water high quality, and extra. To indicate how that is distilled on the property degree, Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile’s signature restaurant, Harvest, serves native meals in collaboration with Heritage Prairie Farm, which units apart one acre of land to develop produce immediately for the lodge. The lodge additionally serves as a house to greater than 900,000 honeybees on its rooftop backyard. This company information is a superb instrument for properties to make sure we’re deciding on the best native companions that additionally uphold our firm’s core values at a neighborhood degree.
SkiftX: Looking forward to 2023 and past, how does Marriott intend to leverage its breadth of world manufacturers to boost the company journey expertise?
Robinson: Marriott Bonvoy continues to fulfill the wants of each traveler by means of its lodge manufacturers, Marriott Bonvoy Excursions & Actions, Marriott Bonvoy Moments, and extra. Marriott frequently refines its choices for company and enterprise vacationers by caring for what issues most, together with native connection, good facilities, and in-room conveniences. The company journey expertise is about making it simpler and extra handy for our clients as we welcome them again to our lodges. This contains extra selection and suppleness by means of the Bonvoy app and through our on-property facilities.
We’re excited to proceed to spend money on high North American cities which are widespread for enterprise conferences and occasions. Our growth pipeline features a new St. Regis Chicago, The Ritz-Carlton Portland, and two new JW Marriott lodges in cities equivalent to Dallas and Tampa — each cities which have skilled explosive development prior to now few years. We opened our milestone 8,000th lodge in 2022 adjoining to our new firm headquarters, and are excited for continued development in each major and secondary markets, internationally and past.
This content material was created collaboratively by Marriott Worldwide and Skift’s branded content material studio, SkiftX.