11.27.2010

Hotels & Beer: It's Not Just For Spring Break

Brand Loyalty
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am fiercely loyal to Marriott. I'm a brand loyal (BL) as described by Rossiter and Percy. (WVU P.I. Reed School of Journalism, 2010).  Partly because I used to work in the hospitality industry (and teach classes in meetings and conventions and hospitality marketing) and partly because my husband and I are hospitality snobs (my apologies to anyone who ever has to wait on us!), Marriott has me - forever.  Strong words, yes.  And here is why.

Marriott is a customer-centric company.  They take care of the internal clients (employees) and their external clients (you and me).  Still run by people with the last name "Marriott", their corporate philosophy about their employees is "the unshakeable conviction that our people are our most important asset" (Marriott.com, 2010). Unshakeable?! Wow. Their employees are the brand. Their philosophy regarding customers includes "Openness to innovation and creativity in serving guests" and "Pride in the knowledge that our guests can count on Marriott's unique blend of quality, consistency, personalized service, and recognition almost anywhere they travel in the world or whichever Marriott brand they choose." (Marriott.com, 2010). 

No detail is left untouched.  Everything excites me about the experience. From the decor to the bed to the in-room desk/office furniture to the lobby. Whenever I travel for business or leisure, I always stay at Marriott (if possible).  Their communications and product delivery is actually quite simple - it's personal. Whether I am talking with a reservation agent on the phone, checking in or out of my room, or connecting with them interactively via Web 2.0 or e-mail, my experience is the same.  I feel as if I am the only client that has ever mattered to them.  They stay in touch via e-mail (in which I chose to participate), and they are always, as they say, innovative in approach. For example, when I recently traveled to Oklahoma City for a conference with three colleagues, we were greeted at the new customer-centric check in stations.  They called me by my name from taking a cue from the name on my luggage tag! "Thank you for choosing Marriott Ms. Ennis, is your whole party here?"  One of my co-workers came bouncing down to the lobby exclaiming, "There's a robe in my room! My room is so nice! Is that because of your reward points?!" I laughed and said, "Nope.  That's just Marriott." 

Marriott has evolved in recent years.  They upgraded nearly 600,000 rooms in the U.S. to be more "Generation X Friendly". (Yang and Brady, 2005).  Its old position of being an exclusive place for Baby Booming male executives has changed to the business-savvy Gen Xer.  Gen Xers want boutique, upscale feel and they want to feel like "grownups" when they travel for business.  Marriott has done a fantastic job of hitting all of our sweet spots from Wi-Fi public spaces to upscale lounges to the design of the rooms themselves.  They also try to make the environment in the public spaces stimulate creativity so that brainstorming sessions and teambuilding can continue outside of the room or conference.  I will be taking a "girls getaway weekend" soon (also very popular among Gen X and Gen Jones) and my girls know where we will be staying.  I get a kick of showing a new comer the Marriott way!  Everything about Marriott is an experience.

Brand Switching

As much of a hospitality snob as I am, I can the same for beer but in a different way.  For the every day, football watching on Sundays sort of times I generally drink Coors Light.  I don't really know why.  I always have.  Ever since I was old enough to drink (which has been quite a few years!).  But I often switch. Usually it happens at restaurants, especially if I'm traveling and there is a local brew.  I'll drink dark beer, light beer, imports, domestic....the beer itself is inconsequential. What is important is what mood I'm in or what the environment is stimulating to me at any given moment. I might drink Corona if I'm feeling summertime, sit on the porch with the neighbor on a Saturday afternoon or I might drink Sam Adams at Halloween or I might drink....well you get the point. 

For a beer to cut through the noise and find me, I would say they should speak to me as an adult who's psychographics include median income, moderate house, moderate car, educated, shops at IKEA, likes to travel, and fun.  I'm not so old that I'm out of touch but I am far too old for spring break in Daytona (do they still go there?). 

I hope you enjoyed my rant about my brands!

1 comment:

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