The personal touch, even with convention-sized groups, is a hallmark of Marriott’s Convention & Resort Network (CRN), which is comprised of 115—and always rapidly growing!—of the world’s largest brand’s biggest group properties.

Whether it be a JW Marriott, Autograph Collection, Renaissance, Marriott, Gaylord, Westin or Sheraton brand, the service is fine-tuned to the needs of conventions while still providing an experiential twist one would more commonly associate with a smaller group.

Meetings Today got to sample the CRN touch on a recent familiarization trip to four of its Southern California properties:

Besides learning about these thoroughbred convention hotels, our group also got a taste of each destination they’re in, from compact and convention-ready San Diego and ever-expanding Anaheim to the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles’ L.A. LIVE district.

San Diego: On the Waterfront

Our first stop was San Diego, where the group stayed at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina and toured the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina.

Both the Marquis and the Sheraton are blessed with a location on North San Diego Bay, which also came in handy for a tour of one of the most popular large-event venues in the city, the USS Midway Museum, nearby the Marquis.

[Meetings Today Podcast: Taking to the Water in San Diego]

The Marquis also boasts a location within walking distance of the San Diego Convention Center.

The personal touches began at the Marquis when I entered my room and was gifted with two personalized collars for my two dogs, Ruby and Willie.

Marriott CRN Personalized Dog Tags for Willie and Ruby
Marriott CRN Personalized Dog Tags for Willie and Ruby

Marriott CRN prides itself on its customer profile forms, which allow it to collect key data on VIPs and meeting planners for room amenities and other details, such as food allergies.

[Video: An Event Planner Tour of the San Diego Marriott Marquis]

This collection of data really speaks to the benefits of the CRN for meeting planners, in that once their personal information and group history is in the system, it is shared across the network for future meetings. What went well—and what may need to be improved—is all recorded so future meetings become more seamless.

Marquis sister property the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina is located across the bay in a stunning harbor setting. The property is comprised of two hotel towers, so meetings have a wider variety of venue options and room selection, as it offers more than 1,000 guest rooms combined.

The Battle of Anaheim

After San Diego, we boarded the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train for a two-hour journey up the coast to Anaheim. While the ride was indeed a relaxing respite, the arrival at the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center showed off some of the flash the CRN crew can deliver, with a Star Wars Rebel Alliance vs. Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers battle right in the station.

The lightsaber dustup was in reference to Disneyland’s new Star Wars attraction. I won’t ruin the ending, but you can watch the embedded video below and see how it transpired!

Our host in Anaheim was the Anaheim Marriott, which is blessed with close proximity to the recently expanded Anaheim Convention Center. A standout feature of the property was its F&B service, led by Executive Chef David Dulkis, whose crew prides itself on creating super-customized reception events for groups, including fabricating environments that rival movie sets.

LIVE, From L.A.!

Marriott CRN SoCal JW Marriott L.A. Live and Ritz-Carlton Properties
Marriott CRN SoCal JW Marriott L.A. Live and Ritz-Carlton Properties

The trip ended at JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE, which shares a footprint with The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles. Expertly overseen by General Manager Javier Cano, a 34-year Marriott veteran, the dual-branded property epitomizes the transformation the L.A. LIVE district has brought to downtown L.A.

[Meetings Today Podcast: Javier Cano on the Star Power of L.A. Live]

Sharing the eminently event-friendly L.A. LIVE with the glamorous, 7,100-seat Microsoft Theater, home of the Emmy Awards, and all manner of buy-out opportunities, the Marriott-Ritz combo is set to become even more fabulous via an expansion that will result in a whole new tower rising across the street from its convention space.

Our SoCal CRN immersion proved that even large groups get the personal touch­, combined with the efficiency and consistency Marriott is valued for.

Visit the Marriott Convention & Resort Network website for more property information.

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