The trend among individual hotels offering COVID testing to individual travelers has now entered the group market.
Starting this month, Marriott International will roll out COVID testing at certain Marriott-branded hotels in the United States. This optional testing is part of the company’s Connect with Confidence initiative, and will first be available at Gaylord properties in Florida, Tennessee, Texas and Colorado, followed by other Marriott–branded hotels throughout the U.S. Testing will be done by a third-party firm and planners can choose from self-administered PCR tests, which can require a two- to three-day wait time for results, and rapid antigen tests, which offer results in 15 minutes. The meeting organizer would be responsible for the cost of testing.
As an additional service, the hotel giant also now offers a pre-arrival health-screening questionnaire via a dedicated mobile app and on-site daily temperature-check stations as an added service for meeting clients. In November, Marriott held the first in a series of hybrid and virtual events showcasing its new processes and meeting spaces for meeting professionals.
This trend of hotels offering testing has its roots in high-end individual travel and isolated resort destinations such as the Maldives—essentially creating “bubble resorts.” For example, for those staying less than 5 days at the the luxe Baha Mar complex in The Bahamas, two COVID-19 tests are required (one by The Bahamas government and one by Baha Mar). And as a convenience, since more countries are starting to require negative tests before travelers arrive back to their home/origin, Baha Mar is offering optional PCR and Rapid Antigen COVID-19 tests prior to guests’ departures from the Bahamas.
In an interview with the American Gaming Association, Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox revealed that his company will soon roll out a saliva-based testing lab on the premises of Wynn Las Vegas and Encore. The facility is being built in conjunction with the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada and Mirimus, a New York–based laboratory.