Marriott International’s Rajeev Menon Says Hotels Need To Reevaluate Strategies Post-Pandemic

Twelve industry leaders put South East Asia under the microscope and tell us what’s needed for the region to fully unleash its potential in the near future. Here is Rajeev Menon of Marriott International hotels.

Read the full series The Future of South East Asia.

Over the past weeks, we’ve been hearing from our Marriott Bonvoy members about the challenges of the pandemic, and the desire to return to a more normal time. We are grateful for the support of our members, alongside the strength of our brands and global customer relationships. These have allowed the company to manage the crisis reasonably well.

Rajeev Menon is the president of Marriott International Asia-Pacific (excluding Greater China).

We see safety and hygiene as ‘the new amenity’ when booking hotels and guests will notice how seriously we take this, with several additions to our cleaning processes designed to set an even higher standard of cleanliness. Furniture has been rearranged to allow more space for distancing and specific routes have been put in place to ensure that guests have minimal contact with anyone when they check-in. New technologies rolled out include electrostatic sprayers and the highest classification of disinfectants recommended by the World Health Organization to sanitise high-touch surfaces throughout the hotel. Our mobile technologies also provide reassurance and distancing options for our guests. In over 3,200 hotels across the world, guests can now use mobile check-in to access their rooms and order room service. Meetings and events goers will also see reduced seating capacities, while F&B options will include Grab and Go, canned and bottled beverages, and plated service.

We’re making sure our Marriott Bonvoy programme members are being offered enhanced and personalised experiences, providing them with extensions of their membership statuses and points expiration. These policies also include a cancellation policy to cancel bookings up to 24 hours prior to arrival for stay days throughout September, expiration of points is paused until February 2021, and members enjoy the status they earned in 2019 through to February 2022. 

As a result of the pandemic, businesses in the travel industry have seen an unprecedented lull. This period has provided us with the opportunity to rethink our plans and strategies as we progress forward. We are already seeing indications that Asia-Pacific is slowly recovering with domestic travel on the rise. Across the rest of the region (outside China), the pace of recovery is encouraging with an average occupancy rate of 37 percent for July. We are seeing an uptick in domestic travel in Australia, and resort destinations in Thailand and in Vietnam. In the next couple of months as we progress into 2021, we look forward to welcoming these guests at our hotels for a staycation, allowing us all to rediscover our own cities. 

Rajeev Menon is the president of Marriott International Asia-Pacific (excluding Greater China). The group recently welcomed the first JW Marriott brand in Japan with the JW Marriott Nara, its 800th property in Asia-Pacific. 

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