If you want another example of what a blog can potentially do for an organization’s outreach to its customers, look no further than Marriott on the Move, the new blog launched this week by Bill Marriott, Chairman and CEO of hotel and hospitality company Marriott International.
In his introductory post on January 16, Marriott writes about what he hopes to achieve with his blog and concludes:
[…] Bottom line, I believe in communicating with the customer, and the internet gives me a whole new way of doing that on a global scale. I’d rather engage directly in dialogue with you because that’s how we learn and grow as a company. So tell me what you think, and together we’ll keep Marriott on the Move!
So far, nearly 50 people have told Marriott what they think through leaving comments.
There are a couple of things about this blog that are quite interesting.
First, the ‘About’ text makes it a welcoming place:
The purpose of this blog is to give you a forum to interact with Bill Marriott. We believe Marriott is more than just the world’s largest lodging company with nearly 3,000 hotels around the world. […] This blog allows us to hear from you and build on the community that we’ve nurtured for 80 years. We are delighted you have decided to visit us, and we will do our best to make it a valuable experience for you.
No heavy legal hurdles about rights and responsibilities and conditions for commenting.
Then there’s Marriott’s post itself. Lengthy and polished. My first thought was whether this was the result of some editing before it was published. Probably, but I believe the words are all Marriott’s rather than a ghost-writing job as this item in the Washington Post’s story about the blog indicates:
[…] He is dictating his entries into a tape recorder. A transcription will be placed on the Web, and audio of the entries will also be available. Though chief executives in other industries have blogs, some have been criticized as being just more corporate PR. But Kathleen Matthews, Marriott’s spokeswoman, insists: “This is going to be Bill Marriott’s blog. It’s not going to be the corporate blog. He’s going to decide what he wants to say.”
It’s early days of course, with only one post so far, but the approach to this blog by Marriott’s communicators looks to be a good one in terms of it being a means to develop effective engagement with customers in the long term.
The other example I mentioned at the beginning of this post? That’s FastLane, the GM corporate blog, where GM vice chairman and chief blogger Bob Lutz is on record with this statement about his company’s blog:
[…] We’re learning on the run, but now we have an unfiltered voice, a direct-line of communication. It has become indispensable.
Add Marriott to the list of CEOs with blogs who start out with ‘it can be done’ as their watchword.
Thanks for sharing this, Neville. I especially like the idea of audio posts along with the text. Looks like the Marriott CEO blog will be one to watch.
That is another very interesting aspect, Donna. I agree – a blog to watch.
Marriott on the Move – Joins the conversation…
It is great to see that Bill Marriott has started his own blog and is doing it right. Comments are open and his staff is actively reading and responding to them. Marriott recently went 100% non-smoking and looks like the…
My daughter just got married on the terrace at your Renaissance Worthington Hotel in Fort Worth and as we were dancing she said ” this is the best day of my life”
Thank you for building a hotel in Fort Worth.
Unfortunately the Banquet Staff was Horrible and I have been trying to have the Hotel Manager call me so other fathers will not have the same issues.
How can the Banquet staff give good service if the Hotel Manager wil not even return a call.
Based on our service we assume no one will ever read this…
A call woud be nice
Rick, sorry to disappoint you, but it’s not really likely either Bill Marriott or someone from Marriott’s customer service will read your comment here – this blog is nothing to do with Bill Marriott or Marriott Hotels.
Mind you, if they’re monitoring blog conversations, you never know.
Still, I suggest these places are likely to be more appropriate for your comments –
Bill Marriott’s blog: http://www.blogs.marriott.com/
Marriott Hotels contact form: https://www.marriott.com/suggest/suggest.mi
I don’t have much faith in this message reaching somebody who cares but we just spent a night at the Wentworth Inn by the Sea in Castle Island, NH. This was a special event for our family of six adults and two little girls…what a nightmare for me (Edie). My husband and I had spent our 49th anniversary there in June (we have been to the Inn seveal times with wonderful results). This was another nightmare. Having already made the reservations for our family gathering come August I was careful to make sure we would avoid the problem of the June event. Instead of going into further detail I would like to hear from the Marriott’s to see if they really do want to hear from their customers.
Thanks so much and look forward to hearing from somebody soon…and not from the Wentworth Inn staff. Needless to say we will not stay at the Wentworth again…it really was traumatic — I have high expectations and this really took the cake.