New Marriott Lobbies Designed for Business Meetings

Washington -- Marriott International plans a redesign of lobbies at Marriott and Renaissance hotels to facilitate small meetings between business colleagues.

Marriott's lobby redesign is intended to emulate the concept of great rooms in private residences, in which a single, large room serves a variety of purposes.

"Hotels generally invest a significant amount of money in their lobbies, but the traditional use is very limited, like a formal living room that's no longer popular," Mike Jannini, Marriott's executive vice president of brand management, said yesterday in announcing the redesign. "With our great room concept, guests can tailor the use of these marvelous spaces to their own needs, just like they do in their own homes."

The new lobbies, to be introduced at select hotels throughout this year, will include what Marriott calls "zones," or areas intended for specific purposes. Marriott plans for the following four zones:

--Welcome zone: Check-in and concierge services, and access to local information.

--Individual zone: A quiet place to unwind, with small, comfortable spaces to read or work, or eat snacks.

--Social zone: A lounge, with small tables for impromptu meetings or breakout discussions.

--Business zone: A multi-use area containing a boardroom, complete with audiovisual equipment; a meeting room, with state-of-the-art technology for small groups; a revamped business center; and quiet spaces for private conversations.

Marriott also announced yesterday a new service to personalize service for guests across all its brands. Upon booking, the guest enters a code, and the Marriott reservations system identifies the guest's personal preferences in terms of room, payment, and other details.

As part of the new service, Marriott also emails guests information on local weather, transportation, attractions, events, and restaurants.