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Hyatt got some very good press when, at the end of last month, it announced that all 19 of its resorts in Latin America and the Caribbean would offer free coronavirus testing for guests returning to the United States. Now Marriott appears to be joining in…albeit a little less wholeheartedly.
Marriott’s Free Coronavirus Testing
Marriott has announced that ten of its properties in Mexico and two of its properties in the Caribbean are offering complimentary COVID-19 testing to guests returning to (or traveling through) the United States following their stay.
The offer of a free coronavirus test is open to up to two registered guests per room per stay and only for guests staying a minimum of three nights at one of the following properties:
- JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa
- Marriott Cancun Resort
- The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun
- Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa
- W Punta de Mita
- The Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta
- The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort
- JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa
- Solaz, a Luxury Collection Resort, Los Cabos
- Zadun, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
- Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
- The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba
As US travelers flying to and from US territories like Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands do not have to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test before boarding, Marriott resorts in those areas will not be offering free coronavirus testing.
All the tests that are being offered are administered onsite and although the type of coronavirus test that’s offered can vary by property (the tests will be either rapid antigen tests or RT-PCR tests), they are all approved by the US Centers for Disease Control and are therefore considered robust enough to give eligible travelers clearance to enter the United States.
Marriott Offering Extended Stay Discounts
In addition to following Hyatt’s lead in offering complimentary onsite coronavirus testing (in select resorts), Marriott is also copying Hyatt by offering guests special rates if they “cannot complete their travel due to test-related reasons”.
Marriott says the rates on offer can be “up to 50% off” a property’s flexible rate but refers guests who require further information to its Global Customer Engagement Centers.
This is a sensible move by Marriott as one of the last things that people will want to worry about when they’re traveling is how to get a coronavirus test in a nation they may not know very well and whose language they may not speak. By offering complimentary tests onsite, the participating Marriott properties will look more appealing to a significant number of people and that should be good for Marriott’s occupancy rates.
Having said that, I do have two issues with this announcement.
Firstly, this announcement comes well over a month after we were told that the US would require international travelers to show proof of a negative coronavirus test before they would be allowed into the country, so why the delay?
Secondly, why is this being limited to just 12 properties across Mexico and the Caribbean? Marriott has over 60 properties in the Caribbean alone so why are properties like the Westin Grand Cayman or the various all-inclusive properties in Barbados, for example, not participating? Also, Why aren’t any of Marriott’s properties in Central America participating?
The idea to copy Hyatt is a good one, but the scope of the program appears to be considerably more limited than it should be.
Twelve Marriott properties across Mexico and the Caribbean are now offering complimentary coronavirus testing for guests returning to (or traveling through) the United States following their stay. The number of properties participating seems unnecessarily limited, but this is a start and it’s certainly better than nothing. Let’s hope Marriott adds more properties in due course as coronavirus testing is set to be with us for some time.
Featured image: Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino courtesy of Marriott