SOURCE: Marriott International

Marriott International

October 18, 2012 17:47 ET

Baltimore Convention Center Hotel Responds to Meetings Industry Evolution

Baltimore Marriott Waterfront's New Group Services Define the Cutting Edge

BALTIMORE, MD--(Marketwire - Oct 18, 2012) - The management at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront has noticed some significant changes in the way meetings are being booked and hosted of late, particularly at hotels near the Baltimore Convention Center -- and that is translating into adaptations in the way the hotel is bidding for and servicing these events.

According to Paul Leader, Director of Event Management at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, there are some significant changes in the group business marketplace these days and he has identified the following trends:

  • Planning is very short term.
  • The goal is to cram a lot of activities into a shorter amount of time -- with the average length of a meeting now down to about two or two and a half days with a greater focus on business. The actual length of the meeting day is also longer now.
  • Corporate customers have downsized their event planning teams and as a result they have to do more with less both in terms of the people who plan meetings and the overall budget for the meeting itself.
  • Meetings are being combined to cut costs on Baltimore meeting space.
  • A community involvement component is being added to the meeting agenda so the group function doesn't look excessive -- this means that usually the first half-day of the agenda involves a race for a charity, planting a tree, or building a house for Habitat For Humanity.
  • Planners are serving healthier foods. They are much more critical of the calorie count on the menus and try to reinforce healthier eating with attendees by serving fruit and natural yogurts versus donuts.
  • Recognition events to show appreciation for employees are now being incorporated as part of the meetings on a more frequent basis.

Companies are also placing more importance on who they are doing business with and whether or not the venue is a good corporate partner. As a result they are looking at things like environmentally friendly activities of the Baltimore Convention Center hotels.

As a result, Mr. Leader points out that these trends are causing hotels to adapt the services they offer. "There are so many hotels in any one city that the CEO of a corporation wants to make sure that the hotel where his company is hosting a meeting is going to treat his people as kings and queens. Therefore, service, personalized attention, and delivering on each and every promise are the keys to booking these meetings."

Mr. Leader notes that now is the time that the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront is really enhancing services rather than cutting back. "Planners will pay more for a higher level of service. They have even told me they will pay extra for additional staff because they want their attendees to have a memorable experience."

Mr. Leader adds that many large corporations are sensitive to public scrutiny as well. They don't want their meetings to seem excessive but yet they feel there is a need to celebrate the employees who have done a good job all year long. And an integral part of that celebration involves the food.

Carlos Gomez, Executive Chef of the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, adds that when it comes to the Food and Beverage component of a group function, it is his goal to shake things up a bit and make the food a truly exciting experience for attendees.

"Here at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, we prepare food for a banquet of 300 guests as we do with a la carte meals in a restaurant to ensure top quality, and not many properties do that," notes Chef Gomez.

"The Baltimore Marriott Waterfront offers incredibly creative a la carte banquets utilizing only the freshest ingredients. We also provide planners with interactive food and beverage experiences including using liquid nitrogen to make ice cream right before the eyes of the meeting attendees," he adds. The Chef also notes that he changes up the menu for meetings using things like noodle bars and fried rice stations to add something fun instead of the traditional lunch or dinner buffets.

Baltimore Marriott Waterfront
The Baltimore Marriott Waterfront is located in Baltimore's Harbor East neighborhood at the water's edge. This downtown Baltimore hotel is near to the Baltimore Convention Center and a short drive to BWI airport or Amtrak station. The property's location also identifies it as a Johns Hopkins Hospital hotel. Each of our 732 ultra-flexible guest rooms offers a wealth of amenities including Marriott's signature bedding with 300 thread-count linens, a down duvet, mattress topper and pillow plus wired and wireless Internet access and a Plug In Panel to connect laptops, digital cameras and more to a 37" HDTV. Other hotel facilities include an indoor swimming pool, fitness center, Grille 700 Restaurant, Kozmo's Lounge, and Rigano's Bakery and Deli. The property has a total of 80,000 square feet of meeting space, the largest of which is the Grand Ballroom which at 19,360 square feet is one of the largest event spaces in Maryland and can accommodate up to 2,800 people for a reception or 1,700 for a banquet.

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Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Ann Lafontaine
    Baltimore Marriott Waterfront
    (301) 380-2818
    Email Contact