Posts tagged “marriott”

Innovation commoditization reaches a new low

Earlier this week I stayed at a Marriott hotel. When I checked out, they were unable to get me a bill. My room service from 2 hours earlier was not in the computer. The clerk tried to raise someone on the walkie-talkie but it was to no avail. They offered to email it to me, but 36 hours later as I prepared to submit my travel invoice to my client, I still didn’t have the bill. I explored the website, dealt with several different types of support, and it still took another 12 hours to get the bill!

Today comes the inevitable customer-satisfaction survey. With the audacious subject line Help us innovate your experience at Marriott hotels.


Besides the horribly ugly phrasing (“innovate your experience”?) how hard must they be kidding here?

Someone has hypothesized that escalating the language of the invite they can increase their response rate, but outright lying is really not the way to start the dialog.

Customer satisfaction surveys are not a way to innovate. Sure, it’s possible that this type of tool could uncover unmet needs, but those are going to be the needs that they already know about, right? Honestly, when have you ever taken a corporate customer satisfaction survey that has done anything but treat you like an idiot? This sort of tool is only used for ass-covering, at best, and at worst for one group to preempt any negative feedback that might go to another group that oversees or funds them.

The word innovation has become a meaningless catch-all for any sort of improvement and here Marriott stoops even lower, using it as a proxy for any sort of customer interaction, despite the low likelihood of any change or improvement resulting.

Nice freebie

Our Courtyard by Marriott in Houston had a nice little freebie – they would take a business card and laminate it into a luggage tag, while you waited. I appreciated the free thing and I got a kick out of the fact that it was travel-related; it reinforced the experience you were having with them. Just a clever customer service thing that someone decided to do.

Marriott needs some UI and customer-centric help

Just went through an annoying hotel booking process.

I was hoping to get a corporate rate, for which I would have to call and ask for it. I finally gave up sitting on hold, figuring that the cost of me on hold (wasted time) was probably close to the discount I might eventually receive.

Went online, and see the the Marriott hotel we’ve been recommended have two different room styles for almost the same price (one has the word “spa” in the name) but there is nowhere easily found on the site with information about what these rooms actually contain, or hey, what they look like.

I pull the trigger on the fancier rooms. I fill out all the online forms to book the reservation. The UI has a little spot to send in comments. It’s nice and wide and is about three lines long. There is text that says “45 characters maximum, including spaces” but I see the box not the warning, and I put in a whole message about our arrival. Nope, they send me back several times until I get it down to 45 characters, which is less than 1/3 of the available space.

My confirmation arrives and buried in all the visual jargon is a little notification:
Promotional email unsubscribe
Periodically, Marriott Rewards sends email about your account balance and membership status, member exclusive specials, and other program information that may be of interest to you. If you prefer not to receive these promotional emails, you may unsubscribe here.

I click on that, and it takes two steps (including specifying which of all the possible newsletters they generate do I want to unsub from), and then they tell me Please allow 10 business days for processing.



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