BETHESDA, Md. — Marriott International has become the first hospitality company to introduce neuro-inclusive practices at its largest customer events of 250 people or more globally. This commitment is a result of joining forces with The Neu Project, an initiative from Google’s Experience Institute (Xi) that aims to share resources designed to better accommodate and create a more inclusive experience during meets and events for neurodivergent attendees. These practices were initially previewed at Marriott’s Corporate Partnership Customer Conference, THE EXCHANGE, from November 28 to December 1 at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Springs, Calif.
The following neuro-inclusive practices will be incorporated at Marriott customer meetings and events:
- Quiet Room: A dedicated room will be available for recovery from sensory overwhelm, restoration and regulation. Designed to foster the physical, emotional and mental well-being of attendees, the room will serve as a calming retreat where guests can break from the event to manage fatigue, overload and/or sensory needs.
- Tools and Resources: At registration, event attendees will have the opportunity to request various tools to better accommodate their needs, including sensory and fidget toys, noise-cancelling ear plugs, sleep masks, sunglasses, printed agendas and venue maps and details about loud music, flashing lights or surprise moments taking place during the event.
- Closed Captioning for Main Stage Presentations: Real-time subtitles and captions will be available on screen during main stage event and conference presentations.
The company has already begun implementing various neuro-inclusive practices at its recent customer events, including a quiet room and tools and resources at both THE EXCHANGE: Association Masters in Phoenix and THE EXCHANGE: Europe in Madrid. Last month, Marriott and The Neu Project also implemented a quiet room for attendees at IMEX America, an annual industry event in Las Vegas where members of the global business events community come together.
Looking ahead to 2024, Marriott will further its neuro-inclusion efforts by conducting active listening sessions with the community through conversations with The Neu Project and people who are neurodivergent, which will help shape future content.
“Grounded in our commitments to innovation and inclusion, Marriott is dedicated to making meetings and events more accessible for everyone,” says Drew Pinto, executive VP and Chief Revenue & Technology Officer, Marriott International. “The Neu Project is a driving force in this space, and we look forward to working jointly with them, along with the neurodivergent community, to deepen our understanding of neurodivergent needs in order to truly welcome all.”
“The Neu Project was born out of a desire to re-think event experiences post-pandemic, and has since grown into a major initiative that’s driving change at events across industries,” says Megan Henshall, Global Events Strategy at Google. “Marriott understands that creating environments where differing perspectives and experiences can come together boosts creativity, and we’ve witnessed their passion for increasing inclusivity at meetings and events. We’re excited to continue working with them as we strive to create more inclusive experiences with and for the neurodivergent community.”