Overcorrection: How Marriott has won my life-long business
In August of last year, Candace and I got married. We haven’t had the chance to do an actual honeymoon yet, but we did spend a couple of lovely nights at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs. The stay was great, overall, with 2 minor problems. First, Candace found fish hook in the carpet, but she found it with her foot. No harm was done, but it happened. Second, an order to room service wasn’t exactly right when it arrived.
We notified the hotel of the fish hook. It wasn’t because we expected something in return, but more from the standpoint of “hey guys, you should really be more careful when cleaning rooms”. For the room service, we were given a follow-up call to ask how everything was, and we told the caller of the mixup.
This is where Marriott went above and beyond. We were put in touch with the corporate office, which directed us to the local manager. We didn’t ask for this to happen, but Marriott nearly insisted that they be given a chance to “redeem” itself.
We were offered a complimentary night, and I was told by the hotel manager that I should call him when we were planning to come because he wanted the “opportunity” to see if he could make an upgrade available. Tonight, we’re going back, in a Concierge-level room. If you’re not familiar with Marriott, this is their higher-end accommodation, typically directed at white-collar business travelers.
Now here’s the kicker - The hotel in which we stayed books for around $140 per night. We got the room through Priceline’s name-your-own-price option, and paid a bit over $60 per night. Yet at no point during our talks with Marriott did that fact ever get raised.
If you’ve ever done a name-your-own-price deal through Priceline, chances are that you’ve been stuck in the least-desirable room in the hotel. I absolutely have, numerous times. But not at this Marriott. We were in a beautifully-appointed room, not located near an ice machine, the elevators or any other distraction. That was a pleasant surprise in and of itself. But then to have Marriott go above and beyond, to hear them speak as if they were genuinely let down by what happened? That’s earned the company a customer for life.
There’s a lot to be said for under-promising and over-delivering. But Marriott never under-promised. We expected greatness, and we got it (for the most part). At no point did the company owe us anything, yet they acted as if we were the most important customers they had. Maybe this isn’t the right answer for every company, but it sure wouldn’t hurt to try.