Marriott introduces neuroinclusive practices at its largest customer events

by: Mark Caswell | December 6, 2023

WORLDWIDE: Marriott International has announced a commitment to incorporate neuroinclusive practices at the group’s hosted customer events of 250 people or more.

Marriott said the move was the result of partnering with Google Experience Institute’s The Neu Project, an initiative which aims to “demystify and educate event professionals on the design of more neuroinclusive experiences through a helpful guide and checklist”.

The group highlighted figures from the National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, which show that 15-20 per cent of the world’s population has neuro differences, including ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, autism, dyslexia, epilepsy, and Tourette Syndrome.

Going forward, eligible events will offer a dedicated quiet room “for recovery from sensory overwhelm, restoration and regulation”. Marriott said that the facility would “serve as a calming retreat where guests can break from the event to manage fatigue, overload and/or sensory needs”.

In addition event attendees will be able to request details about loud music, flashing lights or surprise moments taking place during the event, and items including sensory and fidget toys, noise cancelling ear plugs, sleep masks, sunglasses, printed agendas and venue maps will be available.

Finally real-time on-screen subtitles and captions will be available during main stage event and conference presentations.

The group recently previewed these practices at THE EXCHANGE, Marriott’s Corporate Partnership Customer Conference which took place at JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa in Palm Springs between November 28 and December 1.

Next year the group plans to conduct “active listening sessions with the community through conversations with The Neu Project and people who are neurodivergent”, which will help to shape future initiatives.

“The Neu Project was born out of a desire to rethink event experiences post-pandemic, and has since grown into a major initiative that is driving change at events across industries,“ said Megan Henshall, global events strategy at Google.

“Marriott understands that creating environments where differing perspectives and experiences can come together boosts creativity, and we have 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.”

Earlier this year IHG Hotels and Resorts partnered with Steps, a consultancy working with employers to realise the potential of neurodivergent people.

And this summer Karisma Hotels & Resorts partnered with Autism Double-Checked to introduce an Autism Concierge, encouraging adult guests with autism or guests travelling with a child with autism, to ask about specific needs through a concierge contact (see below). We also had a Q&A with Rafael Feliz Espanol, Europe VP sales &marketing, Karisma Hotels & Resorts.

Karisma Hotels & Resorts launches Autism Concierge

Image supplied by Marriott