When people think about the Marriott International hotel chain, they immediately think about consistency in luxury. That’s what customers expect and that’s what they get. Marriott’s secret to success isn’t a secret at all: it’s good CX that involves listening to customers, in person and through their digital footprint. Customer data tells the real story about everything that customers love and don’t love.
Keatext dove into over 4,000 customer reviews of Marriott hotels to discover the real reasons why customers book again and why they might stay elsewhere on their next trip. Applied to a voice of the customer program or any other CX initiative, these insights into customer opinions and choices represent an invaluable resource for tracing the customer journey and crafting CX strategies that work.
CX at Marriott, where technology enhances the customer journey
With over 7,000 properties and more than 30 distinctive brands worldwide, Marriott works to tap into localized industry trends in every country to attract new customers and grow, while also focusing on the global consistency that maintains loyal customers by exceeding their expectations, from online booking to check out.
Looking at CX specifically, it’s clear that Marriott International hasn’t shied away from exploring new technologies, as they have at every level of the company, while staying focused on the proven value of human interaction. In recent years, Marriott has explored both the physical and digital aspects of CX to create personalized experiences for its guests at every touchpoint, including guest rooms that accommodate Internet of Things smart devices and partnerships with tech companies whose tools enhance CX.
What Marriott’s data reveals about CX
Many companies already have an incredible amount of customer data at their fingertips — they just don’t always know how to use it. To prove this point, the Keatext’s team analyzed Marriott’s publicly available, unsolicited reviews from review sites where customers feel free to speak colloquially and in the language of their choice — in other words, much differently and candidly than they might when filling in a customer questionnaire or survey.
All insights start with data: Naming the sources for Marriott’s reviews
- Marriott hotels reviewed: The New York Marriott Marquis, San Francisco Marriott Union Square, Chicago, Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile and JW Marriott Austin.
- Sources of reviews: TripAdvisor, Booking and Expedia.
- Timeframe of reviews: 2016-2018
- Number of reviews analyzed: 4,101
- Number of separate comments analyzed: 10,245
- Digging into the findings: How reviews reveal actionable insights
- Positive sentiments, also known as praises, across channels: 5,327
- Negative sentiments, also known as problems: 4,454
- Number of customer suggestions found: 433
- Number of questions from customers: 31
- Main topics overall: Hotel, Room, Front desk, Service, Bed, Buffet breakfast, Bar, View, Bathroom and Restaurant
Breaking down these findings further by hotel, text analysis shows the specifics of every praise and problem. Each of these data-based insights has the potential to be addressed by CX strategists and reach across departments to address other concerns.
Out of 3,371 comments at The New York Marriott Marquis, 1,628 were praises and 1,576 were problems.
- Among the praises: guests find the hotel clean, convenient and well-located; the rooms are considered spacious; the gym is well equipped and the view from the gym is appreciated.
- Among the problems: a major point of contention is with the elevators, which customers say are too slow and often out of order; some customers note that the decor is dated and the food and drink expensive.
Out of 3,199 comments at San Francisco Marriott Union Square, 1,806 were praises and 1,289 were problems.
- Among the praises: guests find staff friendly and the service good; they also praise the food quality and portion sizes.
- Among the problems: Guests find the bathrooms small and parking very expensive; they consider noise pollution from the street to be heavy; they didn’t appreciate the union strike since services guest services were limited during that period; guests are not happy that the executive lounge is closed on the weekends.
Out of 3,558 comments at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, 1,858 were praises and 1,566 were problems.
- Among the praises: guests enjoy the location and the view; they appreciate that the hotel is located so close to many restaurants; the breakfast buffet has a good selection; the food served at conferences is excellent.
- Among the problems: some guests said that desk chairs in rooms are not easily movable and cannot be raised or lowered, and suggested that proper desk chairs for working would be appreciated; guests also would like to see refrigerators and microwaves in all rooms; they noted that electrical outlets are lacking and badly placed.
Out of 1,928 comments at JW Marriott Austin, 1,259 were praises and 605 were problems.
- Among the praises: guests said the staff is friendly and helpful; they enjoy the spa and the gym; they appreciate the warm water and the view from the pool.
- Among the problems: some guests considered the massage prices at the spa expensive; some noted that the pool space is too limited for the number of guests using it; and think the wifi is too expensive or should be free.
How Marriott can take the next steps to CX success
Considering the scope of this customer data and what it reveals, what could Marriott do next to address every insight? Customer reviews like the ones Keatext analyzed above reveal more than any star-based review system could. These reviews, understood as qualitative data that is too often gathered but not used by companies, help CX leaders and other departments understand the true reasoning behind customers’ opinions and sentiments.
Seen through the lens of CX, these insights pinpoint the exact steps in the customer journey that need more attention or need to be changed. In that way, Keatext’s insights can go far to address guest satisfaction, customer retention and even how to gain new customers along the way.