‘India is a huge market for Marriott International in APEC and MICE is an integral part of our strategy’

Mr. Ramesh Daryanani, Vice President, Global Sales, Loyalty Operations and Partnerships APEC Marriott International. Inc

Marriott International recognises the importance of India as a key market in the Asia Pacific region, and considers the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) segment to be a vital part of its strategy. In a conversation with Asmita Mukherjee, Ramesh Daryanani, Vice President, Global Sales, Loyalty Operations and Partnerships APEC, Marriott International Inc highlights Marriott’s commitment to equipping its associates with the knowledge and tools necessary to ensure the success of customers’ meetings and events. With a focus on personalised experiences and exceptional service, Marriott aims to elevate the MICE experience through meticulous planning and attention to detail.

Can you provide insights into Marriott’s strategy for the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) sector in India?

India is a huge market for Marriott International in APEC and MICE is an integral part of our strategy. Apart from the locally relevant offerings, it is at the core of our MICE strategy to equip our associates with the knowledge and tools to ensure the success of our customers’ meetings and events. We offer outstanding experiences and services that are customised to meet the various demands of our MICE customers. To improve the MICE experience in India, we have been planning our strategies around a number of important pillars. Every Marriott resort has its own unique setup that helps ensure that visitors can fully enjoy the grandeur of each place. Not only do we meticulously organise large-scale events, but we also personalise gatherings for individuals. In addition, our hotel’s perfect location offers guests ease of access and convenience. What makes us truly unique is our team of devoted event coordinators and culinary specialists. Their vast experience, expertise, and creativity allow them to assist our guests with every step of the planning process. Our team works closely with our clients to achieve their goals, from creating custom catering menus to planning the theme of the event.

Apart from opening new hotels, what additional MICE / Sales-led initiatives or campaigns is Marriott launching in India?

We recently launched our 2024 regional B2B campaign, “Your Vision, Our Commitment”, which speaks to our assurance in delivering exceptional events and experiences, tailored to the individual needs of the organiser. Extending true hospitality, and attention to detail are hallmarks of all Marriott International brands, and we are committed to elevating guest events with customised experiences.

We’re zooming in on four areas where we stand out against others: Culinary, Customisation, Connections, and Experiences. We’ll work with clients to craft distinctive F&B offerings, anticipate their needs provide bespoke recommendations, and create spaces where guests can gather and connect for success. Ultimately, we assure the highest quality in every regard, from curated activities to our signature hospitality.

We’re also doing things slightly differently this year. APEC is a culturally diverse region, and we see diversity even in India. It is therefore important that we empower our markets and individual properties to localise incentives to best attract organisers. Organisers have up to December 31, 2024, to book their packages, which have to be utilised by 31 March 2025.

With the increasing influence of advanced technologies like AI, what role do you envision AI playing in Marriott’s future operations?

We recognise the potential of AI in operations, but at the same time, we believe that there’s nothing more authentic than a human touch when it comes to delivering true hospitality. That’s why we invest in our Associates – to make sure that they are best equipped to meet and exceed the expectations of each and every guest. We’re keeping an eye on the AI space, but our priority is to connect with and know our guests on a personal level.

Can you elaborate on Marriott’s ‘The Neu Project,’ and how does it align with Marriott’s broader corporate values and objectives?
Marriott International collaborated with ‘The Neu Project’, an initiative from Google’s Experience Institute (Xi) that aims to share resources such as quiet rooms, fidget toys, and noise-canceling earplugs designed to better accommodate and create a more inclusive experience during meetings and events for neurodivergent attendees. These practices were showcased at the earlier Marriott’s The Exchange series- India in March.

Aligned with our broader corporate values and objectives, ‘The Neu Project’ underscores our ongoing pursuit of innovation, sustainability, and guest satisfaction. By integrating new technologies and sustainable practices into our operations, we not only want to enhance the guest experience but also contribute to our long-term goals of environmental stewardship and social responsibility.

Could you provide more details about Marriott’s partnership with HDFC Bank for the launch of India’s first travel credit card? How does this collaboration benefit both Marriott and HDFC Bank customers, and what unique value does the Marriott Bonvoy x HDFC travel credit card bring to the market?
The Marriott Bonvoy HDFC Bank Credit Card is India’s first co-branded hotel credit card. The card runs on Diners Club, part of the Discover Global Network, and aims to be the most rewarding travel card in India. . . By leveraging the strengths of two brands, HDFC Bank’s robust banking services, and Marriott’s global hospitality expertise, we have crafted a card that brings unparalleled value to the market.

Designed with the new generation of travelers in mind, the Marriott Bonvoy HDFC Bank credit cardholders can earn Marriott Bonvoy points on eligible spending. These points can be redeemed at participating hotels across the Marriott Bonvoy portfolio – from free nights and upgrades within the unrivaled over 30 brand portfolio, once-in-a-lifetime experiences through Marriott Bonvoy Moments.

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