Marriott Tests Meeting Concepts - Business Travel News

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Marriott Tests Meeting Concepts

November 20, 2012 - 02:00 PM ET

By Michael B. Baker

Marriott Hotels & Resorts plans to expand the group offerings it has been testing at certain properties during the past several months.

"As we have done work with customers, associates and planners, [the meeting space] is not an industry that has experienced a lot of innovation," said Peggy Roe, Marriott vice president of global operations services. "Hotels really haven't touched the meeting space as an industry."

One new concept is on-demand workspace, designed for informal meetings. Using the booking tool LiquidSpace, 36 Marriott properties in northern California and the Washington, D.C., area are making available meeting spaces that can be reserved by the hour, Roe said. The idea is to give business travelers who need quick meeting or workspace an alternative to the lobby, restaurant or awkward meeting in a colleague's room, she said.

"Meetings spaces in the evening usually are not 100 percent utilized, so why wouldn't we let people use those meeting spaces?" Roe asked. "We're trying to see whether people will consider our space in hotels as places to work, not just places to sleep."

Some of the meeting spaces offered through LiquidSpace are free while others carry a charge, she said.

Marriott also developed an app to automate its Red Coat event service and for the past several months has been testing it at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. With the app, planners can make simple requests for immediate response: a temperature change in the room, more coffee or extra flip charts, for example.

The initiatives also include Workspring at Marriott, a small-meeting space concept with per-attendee pricing launched in September.

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