Marriott Brings Neurodiversity Under Its Events Umbrella

Marriott International is pioneering a new frontier in event hospitality

Partnering with Google’s Experience Institute (Xi) initiative, The Neu Project, Marriott has integrated neuroinclusive practices into its large-scale customer events, a first for the industry. 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.

This initiative caters to the roughly 15-20% of the global population with neurodiversities such as ADHD, autism, and dyslexia. Launched in 2022, The Neu Project aims to educate event professionals on creating more inclusive experiences through practical tools and resources.

Since Q4 of last year, Marriott customer events exceeding 250 attendees have incorporated the following initiatives:

Dedicated Quiet Room: A calming space to manage fatigue, sensory overload, or other neurodivergent needs.
Sensory and Accessibility Tools: Attendees can request fidget toys, noise-canceling headphones, or other aids upon registration.
Printed Materials and Advanced Information: Schedules, maps, and details about potential sensory triggers (loud music, flashing lights) will be readily available.
Closed Captioning for Presentations: Real-time subtitles will ensure everyone can follow along with main stage events.
“Marriott is dedicated to innovation and inclusion, and we’re committed to making our events accessible for all,” said Marriott International’s Chief Revenue & Technology Officer, Drew Pinto. “We see The Neu Project as a driving force in this area, and we’re excited to collaborate with them and the neurodivergent community to truly welcome everyone.”

Marriott has already piloted these practices at recent industry gatherings like IMEX America. The company has been furthering its efforts in 2024 by actively engaging with the neurodivergent community through listening sessions to shape future content.

“The Neu Project is thrilled to partner with Marriott,” said Megan Henshall, Global Events Strategy at Google. “Marriott recognizes the value of diverse perspectives and experiences, and their commitment to inclusivity at events is inspiring. We look forward to collaborating on creating welcoming experiences for everyone.”

This initiative aligns with Marriott’s core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The company already offers accessibility resources through partnerships with organizations like Disability:IN, a leader in business disability inclusion.

Marriott’s leadership in neuroinclusive events signifies a significant step towards a more welcoming and accessible event experience for all attendees.

Any thoughts, opinions, or news? Please share them with me at vince@meetingsevents.com.

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