Marriott bets heavily on the MICE segment
We interviewed Louise Bang VP, the Global Sales Office of the hotel chain to gain an in-depth insight into this thriving business unit
We interviewed Louise Bang VP, the Global Sales Office of the hotel chain to gain an in-depth insight into this thriving business unit.
What are the trends in the MICE sector, what are women and businessmen looking for right now?
We have identified four trends among consumers:
High design, experiences, trips in tribe or family and partnering to thrive.
The trend of high design can be exemplified in various hotels of the Marriott International portfolio. Some characteristic examples are: Solaz, a Luxury Collection brand resort, in Los Cabos, Mexico and EDITION hotels. Solaz has an impressive design by the renowned Mexican firm Sordo Madaleno, with contemporary inspiration, local Mexican Huanacaxtle wood and textured bamboo marble, marble floors, custom furniture and an original wall sculpture by César López-Negrete. In addition, its 128 rooms offer fascinating ocean views.
When we talk about this trend, we must highlight Ian Schrager and our EDITION hotels portfolio. With the perfect blend of sophistication and personalized service, these hotels are synonymous with high design. The Times Square EDITION represents a new era for Times Square. Ian Schrager, in partnership with Marriott International, introduces a new luxury hotel, elegant and sophisticated, with the award-winning Michelin-starred chef, John Fraser. The design includes a large terrace alluding to L'Orangerie del Jardin des Tuileries in Paris. There is also an avant-garde and provocative Cabaret, with a modern twist.
Experiences above things:
Marriott Bonvoy Moments offers more than 100,000 experiences for our partners and groups. Examples include:
BVLGARI - The Symposium of Mixology (Symposium Mixology Event) arrives in Bvlgari.
Bvlgari has launched a new cocktail portfolio that will be available in six brand destinations in the coming months. Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts has teamed up with six mixologists of the global top 50, to create a series of six specialty cocktails inspired by the Bvlgari destinations, for this event.
These cocktails will be available at each Bvlgari Hotel & Resort for a month, so that guests can taste the inspired creations. Shanghai hosted the first event, on March 30 and 31. Imagine a welcome cocktail for a small group of executives or a family reunion discovering China, starting in Beijing and continuing through to Shanghai, one of my favorite cities in the world. And finally, coming back to make a dazziling stop in Dubai.
Another Marriott Bonvoy Moments experience to highlight is that of St. Regis New York, which has launched a tea service inspired by Salvador Dalí, also available for small groups: (https://www.galeriemagazine.com/salvador-dali-st -regis-new-york-tea-service/)
Trips in tribe / family / friendships:
It is always nice to share experiences. The trend of trips with family, friends or tribe has been steadily increasing more and more. Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, exclusive culinary classes and dinners are offered for groups of up to 10 people. Su Casa is a unique setting for this type of experience, with 5 bedrooms, an authentic Spanish Hacienda built in 1920s completely renovated, with access to a private beach. The ideal destination for family events and small groups.
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman exhibits its environmental ambassadors program with Jean-Michel Cousteau. The Seven South suite (11 rooms) is open to delight all families and groups. The experience is full of educational, informative aspects and is incredibly enriching.
Partner to prosper:
St. Regis stands out in this area for its association with several brand ambassadors, including:
Nacho Figueras for Polo: The most recognized polo player in the world accepted the position as the first ambassador of St. Regis.
His love for international travel and Polo has created a greater awareness among fans around the world. Last year, he hosted the St. Regis Sentebale Polo Cup for Charity: https://st-regis.marriott.com/experiences/polo/
Jason Wu for Fashion: Unquestionably one of the most talented fashion designers of his generation, Jason Wu gained momentum after Michelle Obama took a design from Wu to an inaugural Presidential event in 2009. Jason Wu has partnered with St. Regis since 2011, his bold and original aesthetic; but at the same time modern, timeless and glamorous, offers the perfect complement to St. Regis.
The FUEL Weekends are a luxury escape, a weekend full of energy and adventure without limits. From the best workouts during the day, to the exclusive meals and cocktails that conquer the night. We have fun in a healthy way, and also offer outdoor exercise classes and relaxation sessions. We mix adrenaline, adventure and workouts on the beach.
The next one will be in Koh Samui, from June 20 to 23
2. The MICE sector is very competitive, how does Marriott International work to continue gain market share?
Marriott partnered with PCMA to produce a comprehensive study of the trends that drive the future of meetings and events.
We identified 5 key trends that represent significant changes for our industry:
1. Emotional intelligence: cultivate experiences adapted to the individual needs of each group and each guest.
2. The power to surprise & delight: requires taking special and unexpected situations to generate more meaningful moments.
3. Multimodal design: Refers to the design of the hotel itself. Spaces should be inspired by communication and adapted to all forms of interpersonal interaction.
4. Bigger than itself: it is key to act on content and messages that are significant. Companies must take a stand and then act, not just talk.
5. Sense of the place: celebrating the local environment, exposing oneself to the culture and connecting the guest with the community.
We are focused on continuing to gain market, focusing on these areas. Currently, Marriott Bonvoy Events offers unbeatable benefits from our loyalty program for the MICE segment.
3. What is the main difference between Marriott and other hotel chains, can you specific?
Marriott International has an extensive portfolio, with prestigious brands that are recognized by guests. A wide geographical distribution, with different cost categories allow us to attract a wide variety of profiles. We have operational excellence and high standards of service, design and experiences. Our Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program, originated from Bon Voyage in French, is a romantic greeting wishing you a good trip. The program is the largest in the industry, with more than 125 million members, providing exclusive opportunities in our hotels and destinations. By combining our 3 loyalty programs in one, we have created a more enriching travel program for guests.
4. Why, despite technological progress, where you can do business online, do corporate conferences continue to grow?
Face to face communication is an extremely valuable tool, that as a society we are relearning to appreciate and need. Now, having a virtual conference is no longer a novelty, what is innovative and what we are seeing in the hotel industry are meetings full of connections and experiences. In hotels, we are creating the spaces to promote the connections and relationships demanded by corporate conferences; meeting rooms that look more like lounges, rooms with no chairs, open lobbies, communal spaces, all these elements create a space dedicated to orchestrating and fostering human interactions. Strategic group experiences such as exercise classes, cultural visits, culinary experiences, etc. stimulate co-creation and motivation. All these elements are key to motivate and energize employees and teams. Therefore, we are seeing that although the world is becoming more virtual, there is no substitute for these connections and experiences that in the long term have a higher ROI than any sales figure.
5. What are the favorite destinations for entrepreneurs to hold conferences and events?
The main cities in the Caribbean and Latin America along with destinations in the US always have great demand. For example, Mexico and New York. However now, we are seeing a boom in secondary destinations in
the region, such as Panama, Colombia, Argentina and in the USA. cities like San Francisco and Chicago are trending.
Among other destinations, we continue to see great interest in Southeast Asia. And Europe is booming. The flight deals are really attractive, and the exchange of currency helps increase interest in the region. Many companies are taking advantage of the opportunity to provide an unforgettable experience to their customers and / or employees by discovering more places in Europe.
6. What percentage does the MICE business represent for the Marriott International chain and what are the prospects for the future?
Although I am not at liberty to disclose the percentage, it is a segment of great importance for Marriott International and we are very focused on continuing to receive more MICE groups in our hotels. We continue to add travel options for guests, with the goal of increasing the frequency of their stays and creating a stronger commitment with Marriott throughout their travel experience.
Customers are traveling in record numbers. According to UN World Tourism Org, by 2030 there will be 2 billion international travelers. The global growth of the middle class and the promotion of new destinations that offer visa-free access favor this trend. The Marriott International portfolio will continue to adapt to each travel purpose and experience, for all guest styles.