Marriott introduces virtual concierge

Marriott International rolled out its online AtYourService (AYS) pre arrival planning service across 2,500 hotels in January. The new service focuses on the total guest experience from point of reservation to check-out. As part of the pre-arrival planning service, guests receive a personalised e-mail prior to check-in that includes local transportation, weather and restaurant information, as well as directions and maps.

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By  Sarah Campbell Published  April 20, 2005

Marriott International rolled out its online AtYourService (AYS) pre arrival planning service across 2,500 hotels in January. The new service focuses on the total guest experience from point of reservation to check-out. As part of the pre-arrival planning service, guests receive a personalised e-mail prior to check-in that includes local transportation, weather and restaurant information, as well as directions and maps. “The email is automatically sent to the guest. The pre-arrival planning email is sent 14 days prior to arrival for resort properties and 5 days prior to arrival for all other property types, such as downtown or airport hotels,” says senior vice president of marketing, Marriott International, Rita Cuddihy. Guests can then respond to the email to pre-order a number of services, such as room service on arrival, spa treatments or restaurant reservations direct with the hotel. AYS agents will then make the necessary arrangements, so that the guest’s needs are met prior to arrival. Still in the initial stages, this service will eventually be offered at nearly 2,500 hotels worldwide, including Marriott Hotels & Resorts, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Renaissance Hotels & Resorts, Courtyard, SpringHill Suites, Fairfield Inn, Residence Inn, and TownePlace Suites. “At the moment, this service is available at a limited number of properties but will be available at a growing number as the program rolls out. For resorts, the most popular requests are in reference to specific services and activities offered such as spa, golf, and special occasions,” Cuddihy says. At a growing number of hotels and resorts, the service will be expanded as a ‘virtual concierge.’ Guests will be able to reserve spa treatments, room service for delivery upon arrival, and other amenities specific to each hotel. They may also request to receive complimentary amenities that each hotel offers, such as extra pillows, miniature refrigerators and early check-in/late check-out. Marriott plans to continue adding useful and timely information and services as it expands the virtual concierge. “The pre-arrival planning service and virtual concierge are based exclusively on feedback from guests, who asked for information about their stay that is personalised, reassuring and timely,” Cuddihy remarks. “According to our research, more than 80% of guests said they’d be more likely to book their next trip with Marriott if they received this type of service.” The pre-arrival planning service and virtual concierge build upon the success of the AYS system already in place at full-service hotels. Rather than calling various numbers to request different services, guests simply press the AYS button from their in-room phones to speak with guest services. The AYS telephone service at the property level is used by 100% of guests during their stay. Cuddihy predicts that around 20% of guests will also choose to use the AYS Virtual Concierge. The system will undoubtedly boost the sales of secondary services at Marriott properties, including room service, as well as increasing guest satisfaction. Also recently implemented as part of the AYS program are enhancements to the Marriott.com website. An additional 20,000 new photos of hotels and resorts have been added to the site.

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