Marriott International, Inc., today announced its commitment to incorporate neuroinclusive practices at Marriott-hosted 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 meetings and events for neurodivergent attendees. These practices are initially being previewed at Marriott’s Corporate Partnership Customer Conference, THE EXCHANGE, currently taking place November 28 through December 1, 2023 at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Springs, CA.
Approximately 15-20 percent of the world’s population has neuro differences, including ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, autism, dyslexia, epilepsy, and Tourette Syndrome.* In 2022, the Google Experience Institute launched The Neu Project in order to demystify and educate event professionals on the design of more neuroinclusive experiences through a helpful guide and checklist.
Starting today, the following neuroinclusive practices will be incorporated at Marriott-hosted customer meetings and events of 250 people or more:
- Quiet Room: A dedicated room will be available during Marriott customer events 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 & fidget toys, noise canceling 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.
“Grounded in our commitments to innovation and inclusion, Marriott is dedicated to making meetings and events more accessible for everyone,” said Drew Pinto, Executive Vice President 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.”
Over the past two years, Marriott has collaborated closely with The Neu Project to learn directly from the neurodivergent community. The company has already begun implementing various neuroinclusive practices at its recent customer events, including a quiet room and tools and resources at both THE EXCHANGE: Association Masters in Phoenix, AZ and THE EXCHANGE: Europe in Madrid, Spain. Last month, Marriott and The Neu Project also implemented a quiet room for attendees at IMEX America, an annual industry event in Las Vegas, NV where members of the global business events community come together.
Looking ahead to 2024, Marriott will further its neuroinclusion 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.
“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.”
Marriott’s implementation of neuroinclusive practices for meetings at select hotels builds on its fundamental core values of advancing diversity, equity and inclusion. Through third-party partners like Disability:IN, the leading nonprofit resource for business disability inclusion worldwide, Marriott offers a variety of resources to improve accessibility at meetings, events and conferences.