How To Sell The Marriott Way

Published on May 17, 2024

In 1927, JW Marriott opened up a root beer stand. That’s right, Marriott Hotels started as a root beer stand. The first Marriott Hotel did not open up until 1957 in Arlington, Virginia. Since then, you have 4400 Marriotts worldwide. What a success story.

Now, what was the reason behind that success?

Well, if you would ask Bill Marriott, he would tell you that they were very successful because they empowered their lower-level employees to solve customer problems up to a certain point.

In other words, bellhops were empowered to solve certain situations without the customer having to wait a long time or having their cortisol go up because they were getting upset.

Well, this is still true today.

Recently, I took a friend of mine down to the W Marriott Hotel in Miami, and it was during Formula One weekend.

She and her friend decided to rent a room during the biggest weekend in Miami to celebrate their friendship. It was a very expensive room.

Anyway, we get to the hotel, we deal with the front desk, and she gets checked in. We walk upstairs to the room. And it was not the suite that they were looking for.

So we went back down to the front desk who were very polite, and they said okay, they wanted to help and decided to switch the room. They switched it to the same kind of room, only two floors higher.

Well, now my friend is getting even a little bit more upset. As we’re unloading the baggage from the bellhop, he leans into my friend and says, “Don’t worry, this is not right. And I will make sure that the GM knows about it.”

Apparently, the GM had an open line to the bellhop, similar to what Bill Marriott had. It wasn’t to rat on fellow employees. It was for the GM to keep tabs on whether or not his customers are happy because, after all, what does Marriott sell? They sell experiences.

Lo and behold, 20 minutes later, the phone rings. They have a new room for my friend, and that is the room she rented.

My question to you is simple: Are your employees, especially the ones on the frontline, empowered to help your customers have a great experience?

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