The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Marriott Madness …
October 29, 2013, 6:06 am
Filed under: Comment

So a while back, I stayed at the Marriott hotel in Detroit.

I found Detroit really interesting.

Despite being basically a bankrupt city – while I was there, auctioneers were evaluating the value of the exhibits at the local museum – the people were warm, welcoming and friendly.

Anyway, this isn’t about the Motor City, it’s about the Marriott hotel chain, one of the most confused brands I’ve seen in a long time.

On the positive, when I went back to my room at the end of the first day, I found this:

OK, OK, so a couple of cheap chocolates, a crap drawing and a little message scrawled in a 3 year olds handwriting shouldn’t impress me too much, but it was a nice touch.

Admittedly, whether this was a living, breathing example of the brands ‘Leave a trail of genius’ positioning is a matter of opinion, but [1] I quite like the ‘leave a trail’ thought [even though the ‘genius’ bit is pure corporate ego wank] and [2] it’s still better service than I got at a very poncy hotel in Beijing recently … where a man woke me up by knocking loudly at my door AT FOUR IN THE MORNING, handed me a bottle of water then fucked off.

So you get the idea the brand is a bit schizophrenic … it has genuinely good intentions to make guests feel a bit loved but it also has delusions of grandeur, and nothing demonstrates that more than this sign that was left in their reception on September 11th:

Jesus Christ.

Now I honestly believe they weren’t trying to exploit the situation … like the crappy note and chocolates, I genuinely think they had good intentions, but in terms of utter inappropriateness and insensitivity, this is one of the crappest things I’ve seen in a long, long time.

Hell, they’re not even full sized muffins!!!

Rather than leaving a trail of genius, I can’t help but feel this leaves a trail of brand destruction … it’s bad, mad and more misguided than Harrison Ford doing the new Expendables movie with Sly Stallone.

So to Marriott Hotels, sort yourselves out.

You are not 5 star but you do make your guests feel a bit cared for when they’re away from home – which is more than most of the 5 star brands manage to pull off – so drop these over-the-top gestures, because it actually works against you rather than for you.

Worse, if you fall into the trap of ‘gesture inflation’, you could end up in a situation where you focus on the ‘news worthiness’ rather than the guest benefit and then all your hard work can disappear in the blink of an eye – like the career of the person at the Marriott that approved this idea.


19 Comments so far
Leave a comment

marriott? thats a fucking step down for prince poncy bastard isnt it. dan coming to his senses or thats all detroit can afford to keep open these days?

Comment by andy@cynic

Still free though.

Comment by DH

I. AM. NOT. A PRINCE.

[Or a princess]

Comment by Rob

and youre sounding like a brand consultant so quit with the shit before we all fly over and kick the shit out of your buzz word spouting gob.

Comment by andy@cynic

free mini muffins and a coffee in a polystyrene cup. that will make everyfuckingthing better. maybe the cops should offer it to the family of murder victims or the republican party for being vindictive fucking losers.

Comment by andy@cynic

Doing something to commentate that awful day is honorable, but good intentions aside, their execution shows a terrible lack of judgement.

I am with you on the “leave a trail” positioning. Adding “genius” does seem more self congratulatory than giving staff a bench mark to live up to.

Comment by Pete

Perhaps ‘leave a trail of smiles’ would be simpler and more deliverable for the staff?

Comment by Ian Gee

As opposed to Air France, which would be ‘leave a trail of destruction’.

Comment by Rob

The immediate reaction I had to the muffins/coffee was anger. I lost precious people that day and it still hurts. But they did something that wasn’t about wallowing in pity or promoting some contrived American pride so that’s good and it’s definitely more genuine than the AT&T stuff.

Comment by DH

Good point Dave.

I don’t believe any brand would intentionally try to exploit 9/11, but some have different interpretations of what is appropriate compared to the rest of us.

Comment by Pete

And most of them comment on this blog.

Comment by Bazza

Never a truer word said Baz.

Comment by Rob

Fair point Dave and if anyone has a right to say this, it’s you. But I still find what they did inappropriate, even if their intentions – as I truly believe they were – were good.

Comment by Rob

I like marriott there is something comfortable with knowing what to expect which is why gestures like this disappoint me (apart from the innapropriateness) they should stick to being predictable.

Comment by Northern

Why the hell are you up at this time????

Comment by Rob

My darling cherubic satanic daughter

Comment by Northern

Bless her.

Comment by Rob

Thank you for acknowledging that there are still people actually living in and around Detroit. Oddly enough, most of the friendly ones don’t even live in crack houses or burned out neighborhoods. Go figure…

Comment by Melanie Stern

hes from nottingham, compared to that, detroit is fucking utopia.

Comment by andy@cynic




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