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