Marriott International is putting the inclusion of the neurodiverse community at the top of its agenda. Approximately 15–20 percent of the world’s population is neurodivergent — including diagnoses such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia, and more. To better serve neurodivergent attendees, the 95-plus-year-old hotel brand has announced plans to incorporate neuroinclusive practices at Marriott-hosted customer events of 250 people or more globally.
Those practices include:
Quiet rooms — A dedicated quiet room will be available during Marriott customer events to help with sensory overwhelm, restoration, and regulation. Quiet rooms are designed to foster the physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing of attendees and serve as a calming retreat to manage overstimulation or fatigue from the often busy event setting.
Tools and resources — Event attendees will have the opportunity to request various accommodation tools upon registration, including sensory and fidget toys, noise-cancelling ear plugs, sleep masks, sunglasses, printed agendas and maps, details about potentially overwhelming sensory elements such as music and flashing lights, and more.
Closed captioning for Main Stage presentations — Real-time subtitles will be available on-screen during main stage event and conference presentations.
Marriott’s commitment to neurodiverse practices was made in partnership with The Neu Project, an initiative from Google’s Experience Institute (Xi) that shares resources designed to build more inclusive event experiences for neurodivergent attendees.
“Grounded in our commitments to innovation and inclusion, Marriott is dedicated to making meetings and events more accessible for everyone,” said Drew Pinto, executive vice president and chief revenue & technology officer, Marriott International, in a press release. “The Neu Project is a driving force in this space, and we look forward to working jointly with them, along with the neurodivergent community, to deepen our understanding of neurodivergent needs in order to truly welcome all.”
In the past two years, Marriott has worked closely with The Neu Project to learn about the needs of the neurodivergent community straight from the source. And this research will continue in 2024, when Marriott will conduct active listening sessions with the community through sessions with The Neu Project to help shape future content.
“The Neu Project was born out of a desire to rethink event experiences post-pandemic and has since grown into a major initiative that is driving change at events across industries,” said Megan Henshall, Global Events Strategy at Google, in a press release. “Marriott understands that creating environments where differing perspectives and experiences can come together boosts creativity, and we have witnessed their passion for increasing inclusivity at meetings and events. We’re excited to continue working with them as we strive to create more inclusive experiences with and for the neurodivergent community.”