Marriott International is predicting a return of business travel over the coming months and is preparing to welcome back corporate guests post-Covid.
Speaking to The Business Travel Magazine this week, Satya Anand, President EMEA, said although he expects the recovery to come “at a slower pace than leisure travel” he is confident of the recovery coming.
“While the pandemic has sparked the rise of video calls and webinars, it can never replace the need for face-to-face,” he said.
“People crave connections and collaborate better when they are together. Over the next months, as restrictions hopefully begin to lift as cases drop and vaccination programmes increase, we will see business travel gradually resume, but we’ll also see the evolution of business travel with hybrid events, where elements of the event take place in person and others take place digitally.
“We’re prepared to adapt and embrace these changes at our hotels across the region. For example, to support small and medium size businesses as they return to corporate travel, we recently introduced Marriott Bonvoy Business Ready, a new programme designed to help smaller companies get back on the road when they’re ready to travel again.”
He said alongside a new Covid cleaning regime, Marriott has also worked hard to roll out new technology to give guests a more socially-distanced experience.
“If lockdown has taught us anything, it’s the importance of mobile phones and being able to connect anytime, anywhere,” he said.
“Recent research from Accenture showed that over 60% of travellers expect to check-in from a mobile app. In response to this, we are reimagining all aspects of the customer and meeting delegate journey.
“More members are now using the Marriott Bonvoy Mobile App, which offers mobile check-in and checkout, Mobile Requests and, wherever available, Mobile Key. Almost half of Marriott International’s hotels in Europe, Middle East and Africa are now live with Mobile Key, with many more preparing for their implementation during 2021.”
He added: “We are so grateful for the trust our guests and corporate clients have shown us over the years and we want them to know what we are doing, so that when they walk through the doors of our hotels, whether for business or pleasure, they recognise that our commitment to their well-being is our priority.”
At a press briefing on Tuesday, Marriott announced it has signed an agreement to introduce the JW Marriott brand to Madrid.
Located in the city centre, in the central Plaza de Canalejas, the JW Marriott Madrid is expected to open in 2022.
It is being developed by Millenium Hotels Real Estate as part of its lease agreement with a wholly-owned subsidiary of Belagua.
It is expected to have 139 rooms, which will include two floors of suites all featuring outdoor terraces.
Marriott announced the opening at a press briefing this week when it also unveiled other openings in the EMEA region.
Later this summer it will open the Westin London City, its first Westin hotel in the UK.
The 222-room hotel will have a prime riverfront location in the heart of London and will have an 8000 square foot Heavenly Spa by Westin.
Other hotels opening later this year include the W Marriott Hotel Riyadh, The Ritz-Carlton, Amman, and Moxy Manchester.