Marriott’s loyalty program, Marriott Rewards, is key to guest retention and satisfaction, and therefore a central piece to the hotel giant’s strategic success. However, back in 2015, a lack of knowledge around the program among hotel staff meant that not enough guests knew the benefits of Marriott Rewards.
Aiming to change this, Marriott turned to agency Likefriends with a clear brief: develop a concept that stimulates and educates individual front offices to enroll guests into the Marriott Rewards loyalty program. It was a big ask, but one with great potential. Just handing out information and guidelines to your employees may help to improve their understanding, but it won’t create any real sense of ownership. And it’s well established how employees who take ownership are vital to delivering strong business results — and this is where the idea started.
Early on in the research phase, one fundamental friction was identified: While front office staff are driven to make every guest feel special, they often lack time to prioritize this among their many day-to-day tasks. Therefore, we set out to build a solution that would both encourage staff to deliver outstanding guest experiences that drive enrollments, and not feel like an addition to their existing workload.
After months of development, The Front Office Competition was ready for initial roll out across Europe in May 2015. A closed off, bespoke digital platform where hotel staff can sign up in teams to compete against other hotels within their region in tailor-made challenges was designed. Team entries are posted to a continuously updated feed where colleagues are encouraged to give each other praise with a ‘liking’ mechanism, while a leaderboard ranks the best performing teams from a points-based system. The highest scoring team in each competition are finally rewarded with prizes that range from exclusive dinners to weekend trips.
Less than three years after the initial roll-out, results have been promising: 416 hotels across four regions have generated 870 challenge entries, and enrollment goals to the Marriott Rewards program have been exceeded by 10 %. We are working with Marriott and to further evolve and expand the Front Office Competition across more regions. And with the inclusion of Marriott’s range of Starwood Hotels, there is the potential of the concept growing globally.