Marriott International launched a new online training program for third-party meeting planners this week called Meetings Excellence!, which earns planners certification as a “Marriott Meeting Professional.” The course is part of the Marriott Group Partners Web site, started last fall, which allows group travel intermediaries to monitor their commission payments due from Marriott as well as their future bookings. In 2007, Marriott centralized its group commission payments.

Planners are not required to take the course in order to use these Web tools, but completion of the program allows them to take advantage of discounted “Plan-Tastic” familiarization rates, earns them continuing education credits toward the Convention Industry Council’s Certified Meeting Professional designation, and gets them on the list to receive promotions and news from Marriott.

The course includes an introduction to the meetings industry, meeting planning strategies, and information on Marriott’s group programs, services, and brands. Launched in English only, the program is expected to be available in multiple languages by the end of the first quarter 2009.