I have the opportunity to stay in Ritz Carlton properties from time-to-time. I was surprised when Marriott purchased the Hotel group, but took a wait-and-see attitude. Several years later, I am happy to announce that I have seen no change at all in the Ritz Carlton experience. That is the good news. The bad news is that I have seen no influence whatsoever from Ritz on the Marriott experience. Seems to me that Marriott had a golden opportunity to learn from and truly understand what makes Ritz a "ritz". Instead, it's no mare than a trophy on a mantle for Marriott. What a shame.....
I had the pleasure last evening of checking into the Ritz Carlton, St Louis, and once again treated as royalty. I cannot state strongly enough the difference in the experience between what I enjoyed last evening and what I will face tonite checking into the Marriot Hotel and Spa in Stamford Ct. Interestingly, I will be paying MORE for the Marriott in Stamford than I payed for the Ritz in St. Louis.
Does anyone else have any thoughts on the subject? For all the discussion about the ramped-up training to improve customer service, has anyone seen a noticeable difference?
A friend on mine has used the Ritz and when he contacts Marriott, he is put through to the Ritz line and he has been pleased with the care they give him. For example: he lost his gold and was wondering if he would re-earn it this year to have it for a stay next year. They told him if not, to call before the stay and implied that they could make him gold for the one stay.
shoeman, I think this is a great question and topic. Since I've never stayed ata ritz Carlton hotel, I can't personally appreciate the level of service that they offer, but I take you at your word that it is over and above. And since I'm not in the big business world for a living it's difficult for me to realize just what an undertaking it must be for Marriott to implement a training program that moves them to the top next to Ritz Carlton. My experiences are that service is still site specific. If the hotel has a strong GM, service tends to filter down to the folks that have day to day contact with the customers. And even then, occasionally there's a hiccup in that. For instance, I've always enjoyed my stays at the Fairview Park Marriott, but recently an Insider posted about service that left them unappreciated as a guest. From what I gather, those situations don't happen at Ritz Carlton. So, my bottom line is I don't know what the answer is. I certainly got the impression from the three people I met at Marriott HQ recently that they are well aware of why they have a job and seem committed to making things better for us. Just not sure how far up the chain you have to go to get the right person who can get it all done. So what's the answer?
Yes, great topic, although I am asking myself, "Where have I been?", since I've not read any discussion about ramped up training. I wish, as training makes all the difference in the world. And certainly agree that a GM's values indeed filter down. I agree with nuhusker that service seems to be site specific, for whatever reason.
Forgive me for twisting the topic just a little bit, but I've been giving some serious thought to a tropical vacation in the near future, so perused all of the Marriott properties in Hawaii just yesterday. Not having been completely seduced by any one Hawaiian Marriott property (at least not by it's webpage), I then began to search the Caribbean, which is not my first choice in terms of ease of travel from the west coast. What I found quite honestly, is that the only properties that really grabbed my passion were - The Ritz-Carlton properties, and in fact, just about nearly every one of them! We do get the full Marriott points, nights stay credits, and other elite benefits for those, right?
It's a great question. A catch phrase "best practices" has been overused, but the theory is still correct. The objective of consistent great customer service may look like this:
Current Situation: 1) Ritz Carlton has been able to execute the customer to associate interface at a consistently high level.
2) Marriott brands have been good, but do not Consistently execute this same high level as Ritz.
Hypothesis IF Marriott can implement the Ritz Carlton training and follow up process for excellent customer service
THEN Marriott clients will be treated at a higher level of customer service consistently. The client will benefit
with a better stay and Marriott will benefit through increased revenue from additional stays. This will add
to the bottom line with more stays through additional word of mouth advertising.
Execution 1) Marriott brands import Ritz trainers for all levels of management. Once upper management is indoctrinated, a hotel staff
training program for all new hires is implemented. All existing hotel employees will be trained and incentified to deliver.
2) Regular follow up training is put in place.
Maybe every Marriott associates should stay at a Ritz once per year to experience the feeling in person. (Probably not doable, but I like the idea)
There is a property here where I live that hired an entire executive team from a Ritz Carlton location. The employees were all given a copy of something called the 'Ritz Carlton credo' just after these 'execs' arrived. It is basically a training program that ALL employees at Ritz Carlton must follow to remain employed. According to one of the 'execs' this credo becomes a part of each employee's personnel file. If they violate the rule (any rule) they are subject to termination (at least that's the way they explained it).
Based on the information as told to me (by these 'execs') the Ritz Carlton does 'extensive' training to insure that each employee is ready to implement the 'credo' before they are unleashed to the public on their own ('the Ritz has a standard that must be kept'). I don't see this from Marriott when I run into associates who can't process a gift card or Marriott cheques when I check out.
I ran into a current exec from the Ritz Carlton in Miami Biscayne Bay who was up here for a visit (with the old 'execs' she knew who introduced her to me) and the manner in how she talked about how they treat their guests was just overwhelming. When she heard we had just been in Miami, she asked us to come and stay there on our next trip, gave me a card and asked for me to personally contact her when we came to the area again because we just 'had' to stay there and, if we did, we'd 'never stay anyplace else' when we come to Miami.
Now, the last time I ran into someone from Marriott outside of a hotel setting (in Orlando) the discussion wasn't about my staying, or anything, about Marriott.
And by the way....I didn't meet that Ritz Carlton exec in a work setting. I ran into them at a local bar and she came over to us at a later point. We were passing and we said hello to the 'execs' she knew and they introduced her to us. She must have been told by them we were Marriott frequenters since she mentioned it to us, but it was a nice gesture and a real compliment to her and her obvious 'feeling' about being a member of the Ritz team to come and be so diligent to get business with the idea that they would make us the 'stop of choice' for future stays if we stayed there.........
I agree the ability and knowledge of how to process a gift card is important. I see that more as technical than interpersonal. I don't mind when an associate politely and professionally tells me that they need to get help to be able to assist me...what's more important to me is their desire to assist and the attitude that they carry around all day while on duty. Then, the follow up to make sure the issue was addressed satisfactorily is a nice bow on the experience.
I agree it's technical when handled professionally.
But, I'm guessing I'm 50/50 with the transaction being handled professionally or as me being an aggravation. When I'm treated as an aggravation....that's poor training. I'm not the problem.
The Marriott cheques are the worst handled transaction. I've yet to have an associate who knew how to handle them. I now bring them to the desk associate a day or two before I am leaving the location because they are such a problem. The last time the associate just told me they would put a 'cash credit' on my account for the amount because she didn't know what they were and if the hotel had an issue with her doing that they'd probably take the credit off my bill before I checked out.............hmmmmmm.
tef6178 Jul 10, 2012 4:00 PM
You might ask them to call the 801 # on the back of the cheque next time. The notes at the bottom are for the clerks to get info on how to use them. They aren't coupons as some desk clerks seem to think since you don't have to be a registered guest in order to use them.
CS doesn't seem to arbitrate on the side of the customer, either. At least not the last several we've gotten.
I have written about my experience with Ritz Carlton before and I will say it again: for the amount of money I paid for several stays at
different sites, it is NOT worth it. Sure every employee is conditioned to greet you with a smile ( to a point where every "may I help you"
is annoying and sickening), and those personalized welcome letter waiting for you on your pillow, dimmed lights, soft music and turn down service are special touches, etc etc, but I can get the same service at a much lesser price at a really good Marriott hotel.
In addition, to access their concierge lounge, you will have to pay an arm and a leg (gold or platinum does not give you access to
the c. loung). In my experience, resolving issues at the Ritz is no different from Marriott (some are good, some are not).
Interesting topic....and very timely for me. I'll be checking into the Marriott in Tysons Corner tomorrow and then into the Ritz Carlton in Lower Manhattan NYC in two weeks. Did reserve the RC via the Amex Platinum card as it was a much better deal than through the Marriott website. I should have an interesting comparison to post the end of July.