Marriott Displays Connect with Confidence Protocols at Largest Customer Event Since Start of Pandemic
After a year of mostly virtual meetings, Marriott International hosted its largest in-person customer event since the start of the pandemic last week, showcasing health protocols and marking a positive sign for the recovery of the meetings and events industry. The event was a milestone for the company’s “Connect with Confidence” program, a global initiative by Marriott Bonvoy Events, which provides industry-leading resources and innovative solutions for hosting meetings and events today.
Marriott’s “The Exchange” event, held August 24-27, 2021 at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin in Orlando, Florida, brought together nearly 800 attendees – including corporate and association meeting professionals, as well as Marriott executives and sales professionals.
Anthony Capuano, Chief Executive Officer at Marriott International, said, “Meeting with our corporate and association customers face-to-face at The Exchange reminds me of the power, energy, and connection that we get from being together in person – it’s an experience that can’t be replaced by screens and emails. I am continually inspired by the resiliency of our industry, our people, and our customers, and I’m enthusiastic about being back on the road and returning to group meetings and conferences.”
The event, themed “All for One,” illustrated for customers how they can host in-person events, while prioritizing attendees’ well-being, as the COVID-19 landscape continues to evolve. Committed to demonstrating a spirit of respect and care, Marriott implemented enhanced protocols before and during the meeting. All attendees were required to provide either a COVID-19 vaccine validation or proof of a negative COVID-19 test in advance of the event, submitted using the free CLEAR app’s Health Pass feature. Attendees who did not submit advance proof of vaccine validation were also tested on-site by ITA Group/Eurofins, with a negative test required for event entry.
Additionally, customers experienced various “Connect with Confidence” elements and industry-leading best practices first-hand, both before and during the event. Jerome Bruce, MBA, Director of Meetings and Exhibits at the Association of Government Accountants, said, “The industry has been through a lot over the past year. I applaud Marriott for once again bringing leaders, planners, and hoteliers together for collaboration, learning, and connecting face-to-face. It is valuable to hear from Marriott leaders, listen to the stories of resiliency and perseverance of hotels throughout the pandemic, and learn about the emerging trends and opportunities.”
Tammy Routh, Senior Vice President, Global Sales Organization at Marriott International, said, “We launched our Connect with Confidence initiative a year ago to help meeting and events professionals navigate the pandemic and find new ways to create exceptional meetings experiences. Our goal is to instill confidence in our customers and encourage an eventual return to group meetings, while staying nimble and keeping well-being front and center. The Exchange is a pivotal moment in that journey.”
Attendees participated in industry meetings, collaborative breakout sessions, volunteer opportunities, and in-person networking sessions, including a marketplace connecting customers with 115 hotels.
Sessions at The Exchange covered critical industry topics such as risk management, sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and global operations protocols. Marriott speakers included Anthony Capuano, Chief Executive Officer; Stephanie Linnartz, President; Liam Brown, Group President, United States and Canada; Erika Alexander, Chief Global Officer, Global Operations; Tammy Routh, Senior Vice President, Global Sales Organization; and Julius Robinson, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for U.S. and Canada.
Throughout the past year, Marriott Bonvoy Events has continued to create and provide resources that empower meetings professionals to Connect with Confidence. Most recently, more than 3,000 industry professionals experienced a series of Hybrid Event Learning Labs.
Note on Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of United States federal securities laws, including expectations regarding business and group travel and events and similar statements concerning anticipated future events and expectations that are not historical facts. Marriott International (“we”) caution you that these statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to numerous evolving risks and uncertainties that we may not be able to accurately predict or assess, including those we identify below and other risk factors that we identify in our U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including our most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q or Annual Report on Form 10-K. Risks that could affect forward-looking statements in this press release include the duration and scope of COVID-19, including the availability and distribution of effective vaccines or treatments; the pandemic’s short and longer-term impact on the demand for travel, transient and group business, and levels of consumer confidence; actions governments, businesses and individuals have taken or may take in response to the pandemic, including limiting, banning, or cautioning against travel and/or in-person gatherings or imposing occupancy or other restrictions on lodging or other facilities; the impact of the pandemic and actions taken in response to the pandemic on global and regional economies, travel, and economic activity, including the duration and magnitude of COVID-19’s impact on unemployment rates and consumer discretionary spending; the ability of our owners and franchisees to successfully navigate the impacts of the pandemic; the pace of recovery when the pandemic subsides and any dislocations in recovery as a result of resurgences of the pandemic; general economic uncertainty in key global markets and a worsening of global economic conditions or low levels of economic growth; the effects of steps we and our property owners and franchisees have taken and may continue to take to reduce operating costs and/or enhance certain health and cleanliness protocols at our hotels; the impacts of our employee furloughs and reduced work week schedules, our voluntary transition program and our other restructuring activities; competitive conditions in the lodging industry and in the labor market; relationships with customers and property owners; and the availability of capital to finance hotel growth and refurbishment. Any of these factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations we express or imply in this press release. We make these forward-looking statements as of the date of this press release and undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
About Marriott International
Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of roughly 7,800 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 138 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company offers Marriott Bonvoy®, its highly-awarded travel program. For more information, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com. In addition, connect with us on Facebook and @MarriottIntl on Twitter and Instagram.