Although I do spend quite some time out of the office doing Marriott related things, I spend a majority of time working in the office on my intern project-SWAGS.
On my first day, it was my mission to leave my impact on the office by improving it. I did not know what exactly that would entail from the get-go, so to gauge areas of improvement, I talked with each director and asked what the office needed the most help with right now. It was when I conversed with my supervisor and the GM that we determined the selling process was not as efficient as it could be.
Right now, the sales managers use “M-Drive,” which is a database containing folders for each region and property, with even more folders within that. The problem with M-Drive, however, is that there is so much information for each property, it can be difficult and time-consuming to navigate to the document you are trying to find. Due to the current drive not being the most organized, it can be hard for sales managers to locate the information the customer wants at the moment, over the phone. A lot of the files also contain a ton of information that is out of date. Ultimately, the group this effects the most are those sales managers working after hours or cross-selling properties that another person usually represents. It is difficult for them to find the information because each region also has its own section set up completely different than the rest.
In an effort to improve this, the intern team and upper management decided the best idea was to create a SharePoint in order to make each region’s properties a standardized “wiki page.” We also wanted it to have a fun acronym so we called it SWAGS which stands for Southwest Area/Group Sales. After much collaboration with my team and sales managers, we were able to narrow down the elements that were the most important for the selling process. From there, we made a template to use for each property that contained these elements and a quick glimpse of the hotel. This includes selling strategies specific to that hotel, meeting space dimensions/floor plans, catering and local restaurant menus, property photos, amenities, ownership information, etc. Making the template was a major feat since each hotel offers different things and is a different size and brand. To combat this, we decided to make a modified template for each type of property based on if it was a resort, full service, or select brand hotel.
From there, we had to scour the M-Drive to find the existing applicable information and manually input it for each page. We also had to comb through all the inaccurate and out of date information. Even after doing that we were still missing a lot of information for each property so we compiled a list of all the missing information we needed to complete the template for that hotel and then sent it to the leader of that region. After that, the leader would contact that hotel and have the property send us the missing information that we would input on the second time around.
Some properties, like resorts, are still gathering the information and will not be able to get back to us before our internship is over. To overcome this, we worked with the GM to select a cadre to carry on the project so that it can stay on track and officially launch for the entire office to use by the start of Q4. We will train the cadre on how to input the supplemental information, create pages, the process of collecting new information going forward, and how to edit the homepage. Prior to training the cadre, in order to collect the new information, we created a cadre email so properties can directly send the cadre information in the future. This will help the SharePoint remain up to date. The homepage contains resources other than property information that are useful to employees such as access to punching in/out, metric measuring tools, HR, and work-a-versaries, just to name a few. To prevent inconsistencies, only the 5 people on the cadre have access to editing it.
Since there were 3 interns and over 100 properties, this has taken a considerable amount of time thus far and is our main project. We also started with the more intensive properties to get the hard ones out of the way. This will let us end on select brand properties which share many similarities.
To break up this giant task, we also took on a philanthropy project as well. Since Marriott has a close partnership with Children’s Miracle Network, we conducted fundraisers for the annual Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) Walk. With the money that we fundraised, we sponsored volunteers from Marriott to walk in honor of the kids. Participants in this event get to walk around and have early/discounted access to Disneyland. All proceeds benefit this hospital and its good works. To raise money at our office we held several fundraisers including a 50/50 drawing, a trip to a Marriott in Hawaii raffle, BINGO for cool prizes, and my favorite: a penny war to pie the leader with the most money in the face (which ended up being my boss!). We also coordinated cool prizes such as free Marriott stays in San Diego, LA, and Arizona, movie tickets with candy, and even our GM’s VIP parking spot. In two weeks, we raised over $2000 to benefit this wonderful cause!