Whereas leisure journey has pushed trade restoration thus far, Marriott Worldwide is increasing its give attention to right this moment’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 higher serve company vacationers and assembly attendees as enterprise journey resumes and continues to redefine itself.
Via innovation and elevated service, Marriott seeks to steer the trade into the subsequent chapter of company journey by anticipating rising traits within the area, from “bleisure journey” to know-how. SkiftX spoke with Julius Robinson, chief gross sales & advertising officer, US and Canada for Marriott Worldwide, about how Marriott is adapting to the altering company and assembly phase, and its future progress technique.
SkiftX: Many vacationers are more and more combining enterprise and leisure journeys. How has Marriott tailored the sorts of providers it affords for this blended journey?
Julius Robinson: The thought of “bleisure journey” is now not a development — it’s right here to remain. From The Ritz-Carlton to Residence Inn, our 30 resort manufacturers are nicely geared up to cater to completely different existence, spare time activities, and pursuits, whereas additionally assembly the wants of and supporting working professionals.
We have now seen an uptick within the variety of visitors including on a day or two to their enterprise journey to take pleasure in resort facilities or a brand new metropolis whereas additionally easing their journey by, for instance, profiting from decrease flight prices midweek. To deal with this demand, we’ve invested in know-how to make the visitor expertise extra private and handy and empower motels to cater to each leisure and enterprise vacationers.
For instance, properties are enhancing facilities and programming for visitors who would possibly use a convention or assembly area throughout the week however are looking for a day on the tennis courtroom or pool on the weekend. Even viral traits like pickleball are actually 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 associates by means of outside team-building choices and leisure and meals and beverage actions. In response to this, Gaylord Nationwide Resort & Conference Heart not too long ago 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 intensive renovations at Sheraton properties in Canada that supply hybrid communal areas for mixing work and play, together with Sheraton Gateway Resort in Toronto Worldwide Airport, Sheraton Heart Toronto Resort, Sheraton Laval Resort and Le Heart 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 want to our motels to attach them with native experiences, together with meals and beverage, leisure, and facilities. It is an enormous alternative for our motels to shine as built-in extensions and ambassadors of their communities.
It additionally provides our property groups the chance to creatively flex their muscle groups and showcase their respective cities, irrespective of the event. For instance, Renaissance’s Navigator Program helps visitors reside like a neighborhood by tapping into its community of Navigators who advocate visitors the entire intriguing, new, and imaginative experiences a neighborhood has to supply.
We’re additionally seeing enterprise vacationers convey their households with them to take pleasure in a trip and make the most of kid-friendly resort facilities and close by points of interest all week lengthy till mother or dad is completed with enterprise commitments. Many companies are actually reserving motels over others based mostly on family-friendly facilities resembling 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 area, has supplied teams perks resembling 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 deal with these new behaviors and expectations?
Robinson: Wellness is an space that we have targeted on as an organization throughout all of our manufacturers, and it’s particularly necessary as bodily and psychological well-being proceed to be on the forefront transferring out of the pandemic. We have prioritized this, and our motels have solid unimaginable partnerships on this area that add worth to our visitor experiences.
For instance, at Westin Resorts & Resorts, the model’s signature wellness program empowers visitors to get evening’s relaxation on the model’s Heavenly Mattress, order nutritious meals from the model’s Eat Nicely Menus, and take part in health applications like RunWESTIN, which affords curated routes and concierge-led group classes in choose cities. Over the summer season, 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, that means, and shared recollections rooted in a powerful sense of place. Visitors can embark on strolling conferences or take a wellness break with a non-public group exercise, resembling an eco-tour, cultural artwork class on the seashore, or a culinary expertise within the wild.
SkiftX: In the course of the pandemic, evolving buyer wants helped speed up know-how adoption, particularly across the visitor expertise and conferences and occasions. How has this impacted the best way Marriott approaches its loyalty program, Marriott Bonvoy, and the way are know-how investments of the previous two years benefiting enterprise occasion attendees right this moment?
Robinson: Whether or not at house making ready for a visit or on-site at one in every of our motels, our visitors can entry a wide selection of experiences by means of their cell units.
For instance, visitors can request a “Cellular Key” at over 5,800 of our motels globally, which permits 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 straight with the resort 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 visitors knowledgeable of occasion data all through their keep.
SkiftX: Sustainability has develop into an necessary consideration for company journey, with corporations like Microsoft making it a core think about journey administration. What position can hospitality corporations play to assist company vacationers obtain sustainability objectives?
Robinson: Our sustainability and social affect platform, Serve 360: Doing Good in Each Path — 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 decreasing waste and carbon emissions to growing native sourcing, Marriott helps particular person property groups and assembly planners higher meet their very own sustainability initiatives. The corporate’s 2025 objectives embrace reducing meals waste in half, having one hundred pc of the portfolio sustainably licensed, responsibly sourcing 95 p.c of our high 10 precedence classes, and decreasing general waste to landfill by 45 p.c.
Via Serve 360, we’ve constructed assets resembling Marriott Worldwide’s Accountable Sourcing Information, which affords directives like core parameters for third-party F&B distributors, together with tips round farming operations and animal welfare, sustainable agricultural practices and methods to scale back affect, water high quality, and extra. To point out 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 straight for the resort. The resort additionally serves as a house to greater than 900,000 honeybees on its rooftop backyard. This company information is a superb software for properties to make sure we’re deciding on the correct native companions that additionally uphold our firm’s core values at a group 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 satisfy the wants of each traveler by means of its resort manufacturers, Marriott Bonvoy Excursions & Actions, Marriott Bonvoy Moments, and extra. Marriott frequently refines its choices for company and enterprise vacationers by taking good care of what issues most, together with native connection, sensible 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 motels. This consists of extra alternative and suppleness by means of the Bonvoy app and by way of our on-property facilities.
We’re excited to proceed to spend money on high North American cities which might be common for enterprise conferences and occasions. Our growth pipeline features a new St. Regis Chicago, The Ritz-Carlton Portland, and two new JW Marriott motels in cities resembling Dallas and Tampa — each cities which have skilled explosive progress up to now few years. We opened our milestone 8,000th resort in 2022 adjoining to our new firm headquarters, and are excited for continued progress 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.