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CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT

AT MARRIOTT INDIA
Submitted by:

PGP 2012-14 (Group 5)


Dheeraj Kumar (1211180)
Gautam Punj (1211186)
Parambrahma Panda (1211282)
Vishrut Shukla (1211314)
Ravi Purohit (1211049

Executive Summary

Marriott has long been preferred by its customers due to its exceptional services as well as strong
brand reputation. Marriott employs various CRM practices like Marriott Rewards, corporate account
management, guest satisfaction surveys and software solutions to deliver fulfilling and unique
experience to its guests. Marriotts hotel loyalty program serves as the foundation for companys
customer relationship strategy. It has more than 28 million members worldwide. This huge database
of customers helps the hotel in targeting marketing messages and using this critical data to predict
future business potential. Marriott has implemented strategic account management strategy
through which it deploys proactive sales efforts towards key top accounts to manage their complex
needs, travel plans and to deliver non-traditional business solutions. Marriott takes customer
feedback on ongoing basis through the sophisticated GSS, which is tailored for each brand. Marriott
provides innovative products and high quality services to enhance the guest satisfaction. These
products and services are continuously monitored and improved through their best practices and
quality assurance systems. Information resources which is Marriotts technical division provides
technology solutions to create memorable experience for its customers by actively soliciting inputs
from its guests.
The objective of this project is to understand objectives, structure & process of Marriotts customer
relationship strategy, identify the CRM practices followed by Marriott in various stages of the sales
cycle i.e. pre-purchase stage, purchase stage, usage stage and post-purchase stage and understand
the customer perspective on usefulness of Marriotts CRM efforts.
We have divided our study into four basic categories i.e. acquiring customers, servicingthem,retaining
them and finally evaluation of the customer relationship initiatives at Marriott. Acquiring corporate
customers differ from other leisure customers which is explained in this section. Servicing guests
includes activities like reservation, check-in, stay at the hotel and check-out. Under each of these
activities, we have included one section referred to as the enablers which includes the agents/hotel
staff/systems which helps in fulfilling that service. For example, during a guests stay at one of the
Marriott property, there are various departments like houseke eping, room controller, food and
beverages, recovery, front desk which are involved in making the stay of the customer comfortable
and delightful. Retaining guests at Marriott includes incentivising them through theirloyaltyprograms,
providing special and unique services and providing consistent services across their hotel properties.
In the final section of the report, we have provided a brief summary about how Marriott evaluates
their various customer service initiatives. Finally, based on secondary res earch and predictive
analytics, we have tried to identify the customer feedback on Marriott properties.
Marriott CRM initiatives have been fairly successful in driving their growth. Their customers have
shared that Marriott by way of identifying them and recognizing their statuses have made them feel
valued. Marriotts platinum members constitute 15-20% of their total guests and contribute nearly
50-60% of their revenues consistently through many years, which speaks volumes about successful
differentiation between their customers through robust CRM practices.
In the end, we also identify a few areas of improvement in their CRM operations which we have
recommended to increase cohesiveness and engagement with Marriotts trusted customer base.

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Introduction: Marriott International opened its first hotel Goa Marriott in India in 1999. Today, it is
represented by various brands like JW Marriott, Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott, Renaissance and
Marriott executive brands in India. Marriott has a long standing tradition of doing whatever it takes
to take care of its customers. i It is evident from the following words of the founder of Marriott
Corporation, J Willard Marriott: "When you take good care of your people, they'll take pride in their
work. And when they take pride in their work, they'll take good care of the customers and if you take
good care of the customers, the customers will come back and back and back. And the business will
take care of itself.
Primary Research: In order to understand the CRM initiatives at Marriott, we carried out primary
research by visiting the following two properties of Marriott Hotels in Bangalore.
i)

ii)

J.W. Marriott: Located in central Bengaluru next to U.B. City, this five star luxurious hotel
features contemporary guest rooms and is laced with the latest technology to provide a
unique experience to its guests. About 50% of its customer are business professionalsand
the other set are leisure travellers. On our visit to this property, we interacted with Mr
Suraj Singh who is an Account Sales Executive at J.W. Marriott. He let us observe the
CRM process, answered our queries and provided us an extensive tour of the property.
Marriott: Located in Whitefield Bengaluru, this high end property provides premium
accommodation primarily targeting the business travellers. Mr. Shivam who is a Sales
Manager at Marriott Whitefield, provided us with the tour of the property and also
interacted with us regarding the CRM initiatives at Marriott.

Based on our secondary research and inputs from our field visits, we have mapped the complete
CRM business cycle and process at Marriott in the form of the following framework:
Marriotts Guest Cycle:
Post-stay
marketing

Generating
leads

Feedback
Billing and
settlement

Acquiring
customers
Departure

Pre-arrival

Check out

Guest needs
(food, room
services)

Occupancy

Recovery/
Emergency
Maintaining
guest accounts

Reservation
of guests at
Marriott

Door man
and porters

Arrival

Room
allocation
Key issuance
Welcome by
hotel staff
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Acquiring Customers: Marriott serves both individual as well as corporate customers. Marriott
strategy to attract customers differs for the both categories. Further Marriott sales and marketing
team is divided along two aspects Proactive and Reactive. During our visit to the Marriott properties,
we found out that Mr. Suraj (J.W. Marriott) caters to the customers after they have made their
reservation with the hotel whereas Mr. Shivams role is to bring clients (corporate as well asindividual)
to all the hotel properties in the Bengaluru.
Corporate customers: Marriott follows Push marketing strategy for corporate clients.
i)

ii)

iii)

Property level services: Marriott has separate portfolio of hotels i.e. Marriott Courtyard
and Marriott executive apartments (presently only in Mumbai) for business/corporate
customers. These properties are for pure business purposes with no frills like swimming
pools or other amenities. Corporate clients who need to stay in a city for a long time could
opt for Marriott executive apartments which have separate kitchenette in theirroomthus
providing them the facility to prepare their own food.
Corporate account managers: Marriott has corporate account managers to deal with their
corporate clients providing a dedicated support to a portfolio of compani es. Their role is
to maintain business relationships with key buying influencers in the companies.
Corporate deals: Corporate account manager is responsible for tailoring the deals for
corporate customers considering their requirements. Deals might include special
negotiated rates, complimentary services like lunch and multimedia services.

Individuals/family/leisure customers: Marriott follows Pull marketing strategy for these guests.
i)

ii)

Property level services: For leisure travellers, Marriott has J W Marriott which is a luxury
hotel equipped with all the amenities like swimming pool, high end restaurants, services
like spa etc. Then there is Fairfield Inn which is a lower cost, economy brand of Marriott
and is targeted at those customers who require a place with fewer amenities.
Promotions via Brandworks: In order to attract customers to these properties, Marriott
uses various consumer channels like print media, digital media like Facebook and
YouTube, TV advertisements etc. Marriott has created an automated online portal
referred as Brandworks which makes it quick and easy for users at various properties to
create customized marketing content. With this system, each property of Marriott can
hone their marketing strategies to better appeal to their target customers.

Enablers: Marriott has a dedicated Sales & marketing team for each region for acquiring the above
customers. This team is headed by the Regional head who reports to the National S&M head.
At the city level e.g. Bangalore, the team is
headed by General Manager. This team is
responsible for all the properties in that city
and manages the marketing efforts for all the
properties. General Manager of each city
reports to a regional head who in turn reports
to the national S&M team. Further to that,
there is also a Global S&M team which is
responsible for integrating global marketing
efforts and handling global corporate accounts
for Marriott.

Regional
Head

General Manager

Director of S&M
National
S&M team

Associate Director
Sales
Manager/CAMM
M

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Siebel Sales Software: Marriotts sales professionals make use of Oracle Group Sales and Event
management system which enables them to respond quickly to customer inquiries by giving them
visibility over all the hotel properties. Further it enables them to provide better service and more
competitive pricing to prospective customers. This software was jointly designed and developed by
Oracle and Marriott, which equipped the sales professionals with all the information they needed to
respond quickly to customer inquiries. It has also enabled them to cross sell other properties of
Marriott hotels.
Servicing Customers: All the activities of Marriott after acquiring a customer are focused towards
providing superior personalized services to guests in order to retain them. In this section, we would
focus on the remaining portion of the guest cycles.
Reservation:

Enrolled into Marriott Rewards programme

Marriott website

Mobile
New Customers
Travel Agents

Call Centres
Repeat Customers

Marriott Rewards membership number

Marriott offers various channels for making reservation to its hotel portfolios. All the reservationsare
made through its central reservation system. New customers are prompted to enrol in the Marriott
loyalty program referred to as Marriott Rewards system, whereas repeat guests are prompted to
enter their membership number while making reservation.
Benefits of enrolling into Marriott Rewards before ones stay at hotel: Marriott Rewards provide the
foundation for Marriotts customer relationship strategy. Marriott Rewards membership is dividedin
three different levels - Silver, Gold and Platinum depending upon the points one has earned through
qualifying nights stayed at various Marriott properties. After getting enrolled to Marriott Rewards,
members enjoy several benefits like faster reservation due to preference remembrance bysystemand
other member exclusive offers. In addition to it, depending upon the membership level,guestsenjoys
following benefits

Silver Benefits Elite reservation line, exclusive guest service line, silver exclusive elite offers
Gold Benefits Gold exclusive elite offers along with above mentioned services
Platinum Benefits Guaranteed room availability (operationally possible since some rooms
are kept unoccupied exclusively for such members), dedicated platinum reservation line and
platinum exclusive elite offers

Check In: Marriott provides a smarter way to check in through mobile which simplifies the check in
process. Through a dedicated mobile app, customers can do check in up to 2 hours before arrival,
receive automated notifications when the room is ready, directly go to the mobile check in desks to
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collect their keys and can skip the front desk, thus enjoying an enhanced arrival experience. We came
to know that in case of no room availability, guests are referred to the other Marriott hotel or in some
of the cases recommended to other hotels chains also. Further Marriott Rewards memberscanenjoy
priority check-in facilities. Other benefits for members include:

Platinum customers: Priority, guaranteed platinum arrival gift, room upgradation uponarrival
VVIP Check In: Marriott welcomes these guests with aarti and tikka along with a special
welcome drink.
VVIP Corporate guests: Apart from the aarti and tikka, Marriott welcomes them with a
customized cake carrying their companys logo.

Enablers: Right from the security at the entrance to the front desk, all are involve d in providing a safe
and warm welcome to the guests. Further, we observed that all the front desks are equipped with
iPads which provides guests with a virtual tour of the hotel facilities and also nearby visiting placesas
per the guest requirements.
Stay at the hotel: For repeat customers, Marriott already has the details and preferences of the
customers loaded in their CRM software. Each Marriott customer can be identified through a unique

SECURITY
Advanced security
systems
Minimal time
consumed

DURBAN &
BELL BOY
Warm welcome
No strip searching
Hassle free entry

FRONT DESK
Warm welcome
iPad at reception
Soothing music
and art display

membership number which helps the staff to serve their guests with more personalized services.E.g.
information regarding guests food preferences, newspaper choice, and drink preferencesare already
available with the hotel. Thus repeat guests/members are greeted with p ersonalised services.
Marriott Rewards along with the CRM software helps the hotel chain to capture and analyse volumes
of customer data, because of which Marriott has built up a reputation for knowing what their
customers wants and needs.
While staying at a Marriott property, all needs of the guests are taken care of by the front desk,
referred to as AYS (At your service) i.e. it serves as a one point contact for every need of the guest.
Other facilities available to the guests are 24 hour concierge and room service, laundry, dry cleaning,
catering and banquet services, wireless and internet connection and other services.
Business facilities: Apart from the above mentioned services, Marriott business hotelsinclude meeting
rooms at every floor, conference centre with ballrooms, event space and exceptional event menus.
Further depending upon the membership level, guests enjoy the additional services which includes:

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Silver Benefits Discounts at gift shops, weekend discounts, free of charge access to lounge
Gold Benefits Free internet access, free liquor and light snacks in the lounge, discountedlong
distance phone calls
Platinum Benefits Room up gradation in addition to above mentioned benefits, VVIP
treatment, and birthday/anniversary celebration at hotel

A point worth noting is that for corporate clients, Marriott Rewards points are accrued to the clients
account and not to the organization.
Enablers: Marriott has dedicated teams like room controller, front desk, recovery managers, andfood
and beverages team along with their CRM system to make guests stay at hotel rewarding. Marriott
also employs latest gadgets to enhance the consumer experience throughout their stay at the hotel.
For example, the restaurants are all equipped with iPads in addition to regular menus through which
guests can surf through different food items along with their pictures and can order the same. Further
guests can interact with the chefs and can also customized their food, referred to as interactivekitchen
by Marriott. Marriott has also tie ups with leading food chains like Bangalore Bakery Cakes (BBC) which
serves the guests with their exclusive outlets at various Marriott properties. Marriott ensures that
their guest stays are a memorable experience for them and consistently tries to improve theirservices
at all the touch points with customers. Following are all the enablers which help in providing such an
experience to their guests during their stay at any Marriott property:

SIEBEL CRM SYSTEM


Visibility across all the hotel properties
Driving Marriott Rewards customer loyalty program
Developing customer itineary based on request & already stored
guest preferences from past visits

GUEST RELATIONSHIP TEAMS


Room controller - Coordinates all the room services
Front desk - First point contact for all the guest needs
Engineering team - AC, TV, Internet & other electronic needs
House keeping team - Cleanliness & other services likelaundry etc.

RECOVERY/EMERGENCY HANDLING
Guests complaints handled by the front office team
Policy of 'accepting mistakes first'
Complaints taken care of, other complimentary services free of cost,
extra reward points awarded to make guests feel delighted

EVERYDAY TRAINING
15 minute training every morning during daily stand-up meeting
Includes training on enhancing relations & managing customers
Disaster handling training
On property and off-site training classes

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Check out: At the time of check out, Marriott Rewards points are added to the guests account
depending upon the number of room nights stayed. Further, the number of reward points accredited
doesnt depend upon the type of Marriott property (JW Marriott, Courtyard Marriott, and Fairfield
Marriott). Guests will get the same amount of points for their stay per night irrespective of the hotel
property. Further minimum points required to redeem vary according to the hotel property. Certain
benefits like priority late check outs and bonus on reward points are available to the GoldandPlatinum
members. Guests can also avail of their mobile check out facility to save their time.
Guest Satisfaction Surveys (GSS): Marriott takes customer feedback on ongoing basis through the
sophisticated GSS, which is tailored for each brand. Marriott encourages their guests to provide them
feedback through their guest satisfaction surveys in order to evaluate their hotel and staff by
identifying strengths and areas for improvement. If a guest is not able to fill the feedback duringtheir
stay, they are encouraged to fill the same through e-mail after their stay. Marriott takes the feedback
of customers very seriously and always strives to score higher on all the parameters.
Enablers: The following enable a smooth check out process at Marriott properties:

FRONT DESK
Faster billing
Reward point
accredition
Reward point
redemption

BELL BOY &


TRANSPORT
Drop facilities
Luggage handling

Guest Survey
Collection of
feedback forms
Evaluation of
services, minimun
95% rating

Retaining Customers: Marriott carries out an extensive set of activities to retain customers once they
have visited any one of their properties:
i)

ii)

Loyalty programs: Marriott ensures that their gold and platinum customers remain loyal
to them by wishing them on their birthdays/anniversaries through gifts/vouchers. Further
invitation is sent to the members for various events held at their properties.
Consistent level of service across all the hotel properties: Marriott customers can rely on
Marriotts level of service, which is same across any Marriott brand irrespective of
location. Customers expect hotel chains to have same information and provide same level
of service which eases their decision making process.

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iii)

Cross selling additional services: Some Marriott properties provide Personal planning
service to their guests which creates personalized vacation itineraries for guests well in
advance of their arrival.

Evaluation of CRM Initiatives: CRM initiatives are evaluated quarterly at each of their property level
in terms of number of repeat guests and new guests. Further Guest Satisfaction Surveys (GSS) are
evaluated and analysed for each of the property. Parameter rating trends are evaluated for
improvement in services. Feedbacks are provided to each team for improvements. It is the job of
individual departmental head to ensure that their scores are high. Platinum members constitute 1520% of their total guests and contribute nearly 50-60% of their revenues. Thus, their focus and priority
is to retain these members.
Customer Feedback: We collected customer feedback both from primary and secondary sources for
Marriott Hotels. For primary data we interviewed various customers at the property itself. Some of
the quotes about their experiences with Marriott that we got from the customers at J.W. Marriott
property are as follows:

Facilities, room ambience and staff services are just mind blowing, I would recommend this
hotel to everyone in my company to try. - Saurabh Dubey, Businessman from Mumbai
Kitchen on the ground floor is a great experience and has a great variety of food except in
wines. - Samuel, Italy
They upgraded me to a suite as soon as they arrived which was a nice surprise. The hotel also
has a wide selection of cars if you want to go on business. - Mike, Platinum Customer

We tried to capture customer sentiments through secondary sources and social media to gauge the
effectiveness of CRM initiatives by Marriott.
At Trip Advisor, 140 people reviewed Marriott, Whitefield property and most of them liked the hotel
and the majority of feedbacks were from business travellers, the target set for that Marriott brand. A
snapshot summary of the results is shown below:

46 customers reviewed the J. W. Marriott property, the results of which, are as shown below:

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Zomato gives the restaurant of Marriott Bangalore a rating of 4.3 (Excellent) based on 58 votes by
customers and rating of 3.8 (Good) to J W Marriott on the basis of 167 votes.
On Social Mention, a free social media monitoring tool the results for Marriott (globally) were quite
encouraging considering the fact happy customers generally do not write much about the experience.
The search results include blogs, microblogs, YouTube and Facebook mentions.
Resuls at Social Mention tool:

Strength 3% - It is the likelihood that brand is being discussed in the social media. Caluclation
method is phrase mentioned in the last 24 hours divided by the total possible mentions.
Sentiment 9:1 It is the ration of the mentions that are generally positive to those that are
generally negative.
Passion 23% - It is the likelihood that individuals talking about he brand will do so repeatedly.
Reach 39% - It is the measure of the range of influence. It is the number of unique authors
referencing the brand divided by the total number of mentions.

One of the reason for such encouraging numbers lies in the fact that Marriotts relationship managers
are there on most of the social media and travel advisory sites and they answer the complai nts and
queries by the customers immediately and in a courteous manner.
Recommendations: Based on our understanding of the CRM processes at Marriott, the following are
some suggestions to further reap benefits from the customer relationships developed by Marriott
over time and make use of more opportunities to engage with its customers:

Digital Integration, Push Use of Lower Cost Channels: Social media and mobile
applications are becoming indispensable for hospitality industry. Marriott needs to have
an integrated strategy to tap these mediums for its properties for eg: smartphone controlled room service, instant feedback, complaints, bookings etc.
Social Media Marketing: Videos and photos are a great way to show rather than tell
guests what to expect. Blending this with social media use on sites like Facebook,
Instagram and Pinterest will increase interest in its properties.
Targeted Data & Behaviour-based Differentiation: Marriott currently doesnt runtargeted
marketing campaigns to attract corporate/leisure customers, which is ironic since it has
huge data on customer behavior and preferences.
Pull vs Push Marketing for Individual Customers: Marriott doesnt initiate any contactwith
regular individual customers who have not patronized its service in the last few days,
relying totally on pull from customers. To continue relation with such customers, Marriott
can drop a word occasionally or wish customers on their birthdays, anniversaries etc.
Use Customers for Referrals: Marriott is currently not running any Refer your
friend/colleague program for individual customers, which is opportunity lost.
Metrics and RoI Tracking: GSS is the only primary metric used by Marriott at property level
to oversee how CRM is performing. It must adopt the usage of more exhaustive
techniques such as balanced scorecards to understand full impact of CRM and make
modifications as and when necessary.

References
i

Source: http://www.customerthink.com/article/how_marriott_says_thanks_to_build_customer_loyalty
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