Experience, customer knowledge and distribution are the three primary selling points of Marriott’s Innovention Network—a collection of over 60 JW Marriott, Autograph Collection, Renaissance, Gaylord Hotels and Marriott convention hotels and resorts. The majority are located in the U.S., joined by a few others in Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean.
Together, the hotels operate 54,000 rooms and 5.1 million sf of meeting space. For the meeting professional, that’s a lot of inventory available in one place with one contact to help you get started on your research.
“At Marriott we’ve been hosting conventions since 1957 so we have that knowledge of the customer and their needs,” says Dave Nostrand, vp of sales, Americas. “And through the network we’re able to get that info from hotel to hotel to make sure we service our groups’ needs.”
The name of the network is derived from “Innovative Conventions.” Many of the properties in the network have built up solid relationships with PCOs and planners over the years, so Marriott decided to pool all of those connections in one place. That way, Marriott hoteliers can compare best practices among themselves and their clients.
“Over the last 20 years, the meeting experience has really been changing,” says Nostrand. “You know, the sole purpose of meetings used to be meetings. A lot is done after the sessions now…. There are new trends around collaboration, networking and using technology to achieve business goals. So we want to share all of that knowledge with planners.”
In terms of distribution, Nostrand says the Marriott Innovention Network has more rooms near and connected to convention centers than any other hotel company out there. Because of that, planners can communicate their meeting objectives directly with the largest possible variety of hotels.
The network also facilitates a streamlined billing system, and it can save companies significant dollars when planners negotiate multi-year, multi-event contracts in numerous Innovention Network destinations.
Looking ahead, Nostrand is focusing on two upcoming hotel openings. The new 1,175-room Washington Marriott Marquis opens in Marriott’s hometown in May 2014 with 105,000 sf of meeting space. In early 2015, the 1,012-room JW Marriott Austin opens with 110,000 sf.
Nostrand says both are actively selling now.