Marriott has launched a new division that will coordinate sales and service of communications technologies at its properties around the globe.

EventCom Technologies by Marriott (www.marriott.com/eventcom) will serve as both a tech consultancy to Marriott clients and a one-stop-shop for multi-property technical events. Services will include satellite broadcasting, ISDN videoconferencing, Web conferencing, Web streaming, and audioconferencing, as well as event management and production.

EventCom’s involvement in a program could be as minimal as helping a client figure out which Marriott in a particular city has the technical capabilities it needs, but the division was design to do much more, says EventCom director Tom Maguire, CMP. If, for example, you need to broadcast a videoconference to 12 cities, EventCom has the authority to facilitate each step of the process. EventCom would start in a consultative role, determining the technologies best suited to the job and which Marriotts in each of the 12 cities are suitable and available during the meeting dates. Once the planner decides the properties to receive requests for proposals, EventCom would takes all the meeting elements (catering, rooms, audiovisual, etc.), bundle it together, and submit it to the various hotels. Planners are able to work with a single contact right through the billing process.

The seeds for the program were planted seven years ago when Marriott installed 117 steerable satellite dishes in hotels around the U.S. as part of an internal training initiative. "The training initiative ended, but the 117 hotels were well equipped for remote meetings," says Maguire. Marriott marketed that network, but began thinking more stratigically about how they might create a companywide technology resource.

EventCom is working with five key vendors to bring technical expertise where it’s needed. "The partners we’ve chosen are global in nature as we’re global hotel company," says Maguire. These include Globecast North America, a division of France Telecom (satellite broadcasting), Genesys Conferencing (ISDN videoconferencing and audio bridging), McLeod USA (streaming media), WireOne (videoconferencing equipment and training), and STSN (high-speed data and virtual private network connections).