Marriott International Hosts First Connect with Confidence Hybrid Event for Industry Customers
In early November 2020, Marriot International welcomed meeting and event planner customers to The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner (outside of Washington, D.C.) for its first customer event since the start of the pandemic. This event featured 45 in-person attendees as well as over 200 virtual attendees in a half-day session to experience Connect with Confidence, Marriott International’s initiative of new meeting and event protocols at hotels around the world.
Masks were worn by all customers and Marriott associates and all attendees walked past thermal scanners to check their temperatures upon entering the meeting space. Attendees were also grouped into zones and physical distance signage was present everywhere to streamline traffic flow. Hand sanitizer was also readily available as was “grab and go” food and beverage options.
Choice was the main component of the event experience for all attendees. In-person attendees had the ability to view the physically-distanced meeting room set-up during the registration process and preselect their “sanctuary seat” that was synced with the meeting app that provided a contactless check in experience. All seats were at least 6 feet from each other and contained a sanitation kit with individual products such as hand sanitizer, wipes and other cleanliness items.
Attendees also chose a colored wrist band (green, yellow or red) to indicate their comfort level of contact with others. Lunch gave guests the option of seating individually or with smaller groups of 2, 3 or 4, with each seat being at least 6 feet apart.
The first general session featured Marriott International executives that provided company and business updates as well as resources like MarriottBonvoyEvents.com and new programs like Work Anywhere with Marriott Bonvoy®, an alternative to working from home for the day, overnight or getaway at a hotel or resort. The second general session focused on operations. Topics included how food and beverage has adapted for the current climate. General managers from Bethesda Marriott and The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner discussed how daily operations have changed and how they are working closely with planners. Attendees also had the opportunity to learn about the role of Cleanliness Champion, an associate assigned at every Marriott property to ensure new protocols are taking place. The final session of the day was focused solely on gathering customer feedback through polling questions and open dialog enabling attendees to share comments about their experience and ask any questions.
Those attending virtually could take a picture in a photo both and post in a gallery for those attending in-person to view. While watching the live stream of the event, virtual attendees could select their preferred viewing angle. They could also ask questions and network with other attendees. A moderator interjected with questions submitted by the virtual attendees through the platform and also monitored the group chat to capture sentiment during discussions that helped bridge the virtual and in-person worlds. When it came time for lunch, virtual attendees were invited to use complimentary Uber Eats gift cards to order food to arrive at the same time as their in-person colleagues to further reinforce the shared experiences.
Throughout the day, the discussion focused on collaboration to keep the industry moving forward. “We want to get meetings back, and that requires extreme flexibility,” said Tammy Routh, Senior Vice President of Global Sales at Marriott International. “It’s customization that’s so critically important. You can count on us to work with you.”
The event leveraged MeetingPlay event technology that facilitated the multi-view live streaming and attendee engagement with Q&A, polls and surveys. Other critical partners included Design Foundry, Center Circle Creative and AVMS.
More Connect with Confidence hybrid events are planned throughout the world over the next few months.
To see photos from the event, click here.