I recently spoke at an Association of National Advertisers event in Washington, D.C.. I had the pleasure of meeting executives from Marriott. I explained that I am not a Millennial, but travel every week and have a Millennial-mindset which means I embrace many trends started by Millennials. Full disclosure, I am Marriott Platinum member and have a bias in favor of the brand.
In my case, I’m both loyal and frequent to Marriott (note that a consumer could be frequent without being loyal). However, Marriott has not tapped their full potential for my brand love. I believe the brand gaps lies between great customer service and true passion for their entire brand ecosystem and what it stands for.
Opportunity #1: EMBRACE “USEFUL IS THE NEW COOL”
One of the main principles of Millennial brand love is being wildly useful often by making technology a marketing, customer experience and operational brand driver. Marriott has a healthy brand with the elasticity to achieve much more if they re-imagined their authority to enhance what happens prior, during and after my stay. Marriott could move from great hotel brand to trusted travel partner and a brand I love.
Marriott should be able to create a more personalized experience based on my expressed preferences – anticipate my needs and use technology to deliver on them creating higher guest satisfaction and passion.
Millennials as well as many older generations will trade information for perks so sign me up.
Marriott could be wildly more useful in many ways and I’ll name a short list:
- Prefer to re-confirm and check me in prior to arriving at the hotel then receive an e-invoice vs hearing someone slide something under my door at 3am. Basically, use technology to think about what happens before, during and after my stay.
- Give me a few restaurant ideas within “walking distance” of the property when I check in before dinner.
- Allow me to order my egg-white omelet when I wake up (to eat in the restaurant not in room) and ready when I said I would arrive vs getting a “less healthy” meal in the Concierge Lounge.
- Suggest ideas for how to use those hotel points I earned on a more-user friendly website customized to how I use Marriott.com – showing only the information I want and inspiring ideas tied to a short survey I would complete.
- Crowd-source content and curate it on a hyper-local basis. Marriott doesn’t even need to create the content but by knowing my preferences they could easily point me to the most relevant things outside of the property.
Opportunity #2: WHEN YOU STAND FOR MORE THAN YOUR BOTTOM LINE CONSUMERS WILL STAND WITH YOU
I really don’t know what Marriott believes as a brand despite staying at their properties every week. They obviously believe in employee training, as I did experience the benefits of good customer service.
What if Marriott shared more of their beliefs, in interesting ways- think Chipotle. Belief’s such as their brand purpose and how their actions are impacting me personally, our environment, their employees and our planet. Remember, most of the brands that command extra-ordinary brand love know that content is rocket fuel for their brand and I don’t see Marriott as a best-in-class creator and curator of fresh content that will enhance my journey and lead to brand love.
Opportunity #3: CUSTOMER INTIMACY IS OK
Now, I realize I’m talking about a hotel brand and intimacy. Get your mind out of the gutter I wasn’t talking about physical intimacy.
I suspect many consumers are creatures of habit. I certainly am. And Marriott should know that I may be willing to trade “private” information for a better experience.
Ask me fewer and much better questions. Then show me that you’ve listened and assimilated it.
When I arrive after New Years at the Marriott Marquis January 11th, will you ask me my resolutions? If I said increased exercise will you make suggestions? If I want to lose ten pounds, perhaps a discount on some “healthy” snack alternatives tied to that resolution?
When I fall in love with Marriott my word of mouse value will rival the thousand of hard dollars I spend.
By the way, I prefer dark chocolate on my pillow. Kisses until my next visit.
Photo Credit: Flickr via Karen V Bryan