Much like the rest of the world, the pandemic has changed hospitality. Both event and hospitality professionals are looking for ways to move with the times and reconnect with their clients. To appeal to planners as they source for the future, venues and hotels are shifting their marketing, sales and operations to suit a health-conscious and safety-oriented generation.
Marriott & Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel & Conference Center is one such venue that is going above and beyond for their buyers, providing new ways to help them prioritise duty of care for guests, as well as finding innovative ways to tackle issues such as social distancing.
Find out how Marriott & Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel & Conference Center are approaching hotel safety:
1. What steps are your venue taking to create a safe but engaging environment for guests?
At the start of the pandemic last year, Marriott International began the rollout of a multi-pronged platform to elevate cleanliness standards and hospitality norms and behaviours to meet the new health and safety challenges presented by the current pandemic environment. This includes:
- A Global Cleanliness Council to tackle the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic at the hotel level and develop the next level of global hospitality cleanliness standards, norms, and behaviours.
- Roll-out of enhanced technologies, including electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectant to sanitise surfaces throughout the hotel. In addition, the company is testing ultraviolet light technology for sanitising keys for guests and devices shared by associates.
- Enhanced cleanliness protocols addressing surface areas, guest contact and food safety.
- Additionally, guests who opt into the Mobile Key service via the Marriott Bonvoy mobile app will receive a virtual key to their phone, allowing them to access their room, executive lounge, and car park without the need for a traditional plastic room key, in hotels that offer this service. They receive an alert when their key is activated following a Mobile Check-In. We offer mobile key at approximately 3,300 properties worldwide.
We are committed to providing our guests with a safe environment and follow Marriott International´s cleaning and safety standards. Therefore, the hotel developed a thorough hygiene plan which is strictly being followed and executed all in line with the rules and regulations of the county of Hesse / city of Frankfurt am Main.
Hygiene measures include but are not limited to social distancing with a minimum of 1,5 m, wearing facial masks, regular disinfection of all public areas and high touch points etc.
2. How are you adapting your marketing strategies to deliver safety messages successfully and rebuilding trust?
Safety information and measures are now listed on our website. We created three videos on how to hold a safe meeting during current times. The videos show meeting solutions in one of our meeting rooms, a suite, and our Congress Center (our largest meeting space with a total of 1.130 m2).
The video content is sent out to our customers with proposals and are communicated via several social media platforms. Also, guests are welcome to contact us via social media private messaging if they have any concerns or questions regarding their stay. We also use this opportunity to make them aware of our current health and safety procedures.
To inspire our business customers to connect with confidence again, Marriott International has utilised expert recommendations to reimagine the meeting experience for event organisers and businesses.
A series of new materials was developed, including customer stories and resources that provide additional context and information for designing successful events across all hotels in the current environment.
3. How are you approaching health and safety?
In accordance with Marriott International´s cleaning and safety standards, we developed a thorough hygiene plan which is strictly being followed.
We also work together with Ecolab who give guidance in executing and following hygiene standards. A cleanliness champion has been appointed on property to make sure processes are being implemented and followed properly. Our hygiene standards include:
- Social distancing
- Enhanced Public Space Cleaning: Increased frequency of cleaning and disinfection, particularly in areas with high traffic and high touch points, hand sanitizing stations throughout the hotel.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Staff members will wear PPE (e.g., face coverings, gloves, etc.) based on the activities they are performing and based on direction by the local authorities.
- Electrostatic Spraying: We're utilising enhanced technologies, including electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectants.
- Room Amenities: Reduced in-room facilities to guarantee highest safety to our guests. All In-room equipment is being cleaned and disinfected. Disinfectant wipes are available.
Marriott International has launched “What To Expect”, a resource for customers looking to book a stay for most of its properties with information on cleaning procedures, available amenities, and dining options.
This should make it easier for prospective guests to determine whether certain services, like housekeeping, fitness center, executive lounges, or dine-in meals will be available during their trip.
The new pages are an extremely helpful guide to information that can change frequently as local regulations are alternately enacted and rolled back, and facility closures can vary dramatically from hotel to hotel.
Beside enforcing the necessary distances during our meetings, we provide hygiene kits for all participants to ensure a safe environment for our meeting attendees.
These kits include hand sanitizer, a face mask, disinfection wipes and a pen. Plus, we safely serve coffee breaks in a paper bag and lunch in a bento box to guarantee maximum safety.
Currently, we invite our clients to book our entire 9th floor for your group exclusively. 32 guest rooms and suites which can also be used as meeting rooms, business areas and our M Club are available for your group only. Meet at our M Club for breakfast, lunch, breakouts or gatherings and enjoy the exclusive environment.
4. How are you approaching social distancing in your hotel?
Signage throughout our hotel remind our guests to maintain social distancing (a minimum of 1,5 m), face masks are mandatory in all public areas for both staff and guests and partitions have been installed at front desks.
The setup of the restaurant´s seating area has been adjusted in compliance with local and state mandates to keep the appropriate distance between all tables.
An in-room dining menu is also available for delivery to the guest room which is also pro-actively communicated to our guests upon arrival.
Marriott International has accelerated the roll out of digital technologies to enhance the customer experience in the pandemic environment, including mobile check-in and check-out, mobile room keys and mobile chat between hotel associates and guests, via the Marriott Bonvoy Mobile app.
Mobile key is now available at approximately 4000 properties worldwide and many of our hotels in Germany, including Frankfurt Airport Marriott Hotel and Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel & Conference Center.
5. What challenges or obstacles have you encountered while setting your property up for a post-pandemic environment?
COVID-19 is almost certainly one of the most significant global challenges in our lifetime. The pandemic has not only shifted travellers’ expectations, but it has also fundamentally changed human attitudes and behaviours at a speed we’ve never seen before – and all organisations, including ours, have had to adapt and respond.
The current environment for travel is still constantly evolving and the past year has taught us all that we need to be able to respond quickly, adapt and react to the ever-changing situation, sometimes only with a few days’ notice.
The fact that the German Government’s decisions are made in a four-week cycle makes business planning very challenging.
Given all that is going on, we’re updating our strategy with the knowledge that we are Here To Stay. Central to our strategy is to make sure our hotel is a place where associates and customers want to stay and be affiliated with over the long term.
6. What has been working well and what have your guests responded positively to?
Guests appreciate the hygiene & safety regulations the hotel implemented to keep our guests safe. Those regulations are strictly being followed by our staff which makes our guests feel safe and comfortable during their stay.
Guests also enjoy having the choice of either dining in our restaurant with all necessary safety measures or having their order delivered contactless to their guest room.
Furthermore, we would like to mention that the first test center of the airport is just a few steps away from the hotel entrance.
This makes it very convenient for our guests to keep track with the testing regulations such as the requirements to attend an event or for the duration of a (business) trip.
7. Have you been using any technology to help keep guests safe?
The Marriott Bonvoy mobile app is one of the key digital technologies to enhance the customer experience in the pandemic environment, including mobile check-in and check-out, mobile room keys and mobile chat between hotel associates and guests.
Additionally, we use enhanced technologies such as electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectant to sanitise surfaces throughout the hotel.
We generally 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 hotel, and we are working closely with our in-house company for event technology to offer these hybrid meeting solutions to our customers.
8. What are you doing to make the life of event planners easier, and to assist them in digital transformation?
Our event team is giving continuous guidance to our customers to advise what options they have during the current situation and give regular updates on rules and regulations. We also offer virtual site inspections – a safe way to get to know our hotel and event space without leaving your office.
In September 2020 Marriott International has launched its new Marriott Bonvoy TM Events platform. This new site is a comprehensive tool for meeting and event planners, building upon former Marriott International meetings site, Meetings Imagined.
The new platform provides detailed information about the whole portfolio of more than 5,700 participating properties (including our two hotels) through a meetings and events lens.
The platform serves also as a source for inspiration, including insightful articles on the industry, tips and trends from meetings experts, success stories, destination highlights, promotions from hotels around the world and more.
With loyalty at the forefront, the platform will feature a Points Calculator, allowing planners to estimate the number of Marriott Bonvoy points earned for each meeting or event held at participating hotels.
9. Has your property considered hybrid events/have you hosted any? What challenges did you encounter? What went well?
We are working closely with our in-house company for event technology to provide the best possible solutions for hybrid events, that we already held in our hotel.
Challenges might be in the consistency of bandwidth certain events and technical instability that can occur during a virtual / hybrid event. All stakeholders involved should be aligned and have a backup plan for such instances to make sure an “alternative plan” can be quickly activated to guarantee the success of these “new normal” events.
What went well? The alignment with the customer on how to draw and colour the playbook. The message of the event / meeting is the key to success and should remain to be in the spotlight.
At the background it worked well to make the first “new normal” events happen from A to Z. Hybrid and Virtual is not new, it just has a new focus and offers a very relevant solution for the current situation and future acceptance of “new normal” meetings.
10. Have you been leveraging CVBs/DMOs in any way since the pandemic?
Yes, especially to liaise about not only the business but as well how to partner and find a common ground to promote and represent the city, region, and this unique industry together.
11. Has Cvent helped you in any way regarding hosting events during COVID-19? If so, how?
We find the training sessions available through Cvent very useful such the trainings for Hybrid & Virtual Meetings or Cvent Expert Training.
These are uncertain times, but together we will succeed.
Event planners and venues must lean on each other more than ever to be successful. New restrictions and COVID-19 guidelines are new to all of us. That means that it is key to collaborate effectively and to know what the other side expects.
Up next, check out our on-demand webinar on reconnecting planners and venues.