At Marriott, we have long valued the passion for travel among our LGBTQ+ guests and associates. As a company where everyone is equally welcome, we are passionate about providing a warm, inclusive, and safe environment for all. Now more than ever, this also touches on something that we have never taken for granted in our 93-year history: cleanliness.
This year all hospitality leaders must do even more to enhance their welcome and to reimagine what service and cleanliness mean to help instill confidence for our guests and ultimately revive the travel industry. Keeping customers at the center of everything we do and being entrusted with their well-being is a top priority.
As I take on my responsibilities as the president of the Caribbean and Latin America region, serving Marriott's destinations across over 30 markets and territories south of the United States, our teams are dedicated to delivering on our commitment to a level of clean that not only reassures travelers but helps raise our already demanding cleanliness standards to even higher levels.
Last year, we created a Global Cleanliness Council, relying on in-house and outside experts in food and water safety, hygiene, and infection prevention throughout all hotel operations. We insisted on a new generation of global hospitality cleanliness standards, norms, and behaviors for all properties. Our advanced approaches include:
Enhanced technologies such as electrostatic sprayers and advanced disinfectants recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization are found in all properties. We sanitize surfaces throughout our hotels with more confidence and frequency.
Mask wearing is required of all guests and associations in North American, Caribbean, and Latin American hotels -- and in all settings around the globe, we encourage mask wearing where it cannot yet be mandated.
Hand sanitizing stations are found throughout our hotels, as are wipes in rooms and signage reminding guests to maintain their social distancing in lobbies, public spaces, and elevators.
We offer intensified housekeeping services between guest stays to give guests greater confidence about the cleanliness of their rooms at check in.
We make sure all guests know about our contactless check-in and mobile room keys for a contact-lite or contact-free experience.
Aligned with our commitment to cleanliness and CDC recommendations, we look forward to hosting special events, wedding and honeymoon parties, and conferences again, when the time is right. Events will be smaller as we try to accommodate social distancing according to local laws and government regulations, and hybrid meetings will be here to stay. Where possible, outdoor spaces are used.
We are moving from high-touch to touchless, using technology, space design, meeting setup, and catering, and introducing deeper and more frequent cleanings to high-touch areas such as elevator buttons, doorknobs, and handrails. For dining, there will be a wide variety of options, including more pre-packaged meals and canned and bottled beverages as well as plated service instead of buffet tables. Every event will differ and be designed according to needs and group size, but safety and hygiene always will be top of mind.
I began my career at Marriott 28 years ago behind the front desk of a hotel in Wisconsin. Starting on the very front line serving our guests is a gift that always keeps me grounded in our TakeCare culture as we drive innovation and underscore our welcome to all guests. My husband and I have always loved exploring the world together and the privilege Marriott has given us to not only enjoy that experience but also improve and broaden that experience for the entire LGBTQ+ community.
Brian King is the president of the Caribbean and Latin America region for Marriott International -- one of Marriott's fastest-growing regions with over 270 properties spread across 33 countries.
This story is part of Out's 2021 Travel Issue. The issue is out on newsstands on April 28, 2021. To get your own copy directly, support queer media and subscribe -- or download yours for Amazon, Kindle, Nook, or Apple News.