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.
JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa 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. We spoke to Alessandro Carosio, Director of Marketing and Gianluca Masserio, Senior MICE Sales Manager to find out more.
Find out how JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa are approaching hotel safety:
1. What steps are your property taking to create a safe but engaging environment for guests?
Alessandro: We want our guests to understand what we are doing so that when they walk through the doors of one of our resort, they know our commitment to their health and safety is our priority.
Our resort is naturally designed with a variety of private atmospheres where you can relax or enjoy your private moments. By the pool, in the garden, on the roof-top, in the Spa or in multiple other unique and private spaces.
2. How are you adapting your marketing strategies to deliver safety messages successfully and rebuild trust?
Alessandro: Most guests prefer stronger enforcement of safety protocols such as mask wearing and social distancing, enjoying as much as possible a contactless experience. The correct strategy is also an enforcement of all the safety protocols, by delivering the correct information and support to our guests.
3. How are you approaching health and safety?
Alessandro: Marriott has created training specifically on COVID-19 and related safety and sanitation protocols. We are now working with our experts on Marriott’s Cleanliness Council to develop role specific training for hotel teams with frequent guest contact including Housekeeping, Food & Beverage, Public Areas, Hotel Operations and Security.
4. What challenges or obstacles have you encountered while setting your property up for a post-pandemic environment?
Alessandro: We prefer to see them as opportunities to welcome back our guests is a secluded and safe environment applying all safety measures to allow a pleasant and relaxing stay.
5. What has been working well and what have your guests responded positively to?
Alessandro: As the Resort will re-open soon we will be able to answer starting from the upcoming season. We really look forward to welcome them back again in Venice.
6. How has your property utilised business intelligence before the pandemic and after?
Gianluca: Research through Cvent products and general analytics data were key on a day to day basis to build strategies, analyse trends and look after new demand generation and business opportunities.
The pandemic has significantly dropped the amount of data collected and the certainty on the utilisation of those data. It is now mainly based on competition check (whether hotels or destinations) and demand trends to be sure the property does not stay behind a possible recovery
7. Have you been using any particular technology to help keep guests safe?
Gianluca: For year 2020 we have worked hard to ensure a safe restart of our Resort. Cleaning procedures have been implemented to reduce contacts at the minimum level, events schedules are adapted to meet the customers’ needs and allow space cleaning and refresh in the breaks, Buffet setups and flow have been revised.
In public spaces, surfaces are treated with hospital-grade disinfectants and this cleaning is done with increased frequency. In guest rooms, we added to its detailed cleaning practices, requiring all surfaces to be thoroughly cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectants. The company will also be placing disinfecting wipes in each room for guests' personal use.
These new enhanced cleaning technologies including electrostatic sprayers to sanitize surfaces throughout the hotel. We are using air purifying systems that are effective against viruses in the air and on surfaces.
We adopted all necessary requirements as per Marriott’s Commitment to Clean protocol.
8. What are you doing to make the life of event planners easier?
Gianluca: If flexibility was highly required in a pre-covid era, it is now a must. Hotel staff, procedures and contractual conditions needs to be up to date with the current scenario and fully adaptable to each client’s needs.
We personally have revised all our Terms and Conditions for cancellations, release and payment plans, in order to adapt to what each customer’s need is. Every request of cancellation for cause and postponement is evaluated and worked with an even closer relationship with the client.
On a planning side, we adapt constantly to our clients’ different policies when it comes to distancing and schedules.
9. Has your property considered hybrid events/have you hosted any?
Gianluca: We explored options and are eventually ready to host hybrid events if the demand arises.
10. Have you been leveraging CVBs/DMOs in any way since the pandemic? How?
Gianluca: We are proactively and constantly reaching out to intermediaries, the short and mid term trend suggests that a recovery will be coming mainly from local and regional markets, therefore we are engaging CVBs and DMOs with constant updates on opening and new projects to keep the attention high.
We are also partnering with local authorities to raise the attention on the destination as a whole, more than just only focusing on our direct strategies.
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.