Marriott vs Jet Blue, lessons for all

20 Feb

Marriott[by Todd]
Bill Marriott I love you. In clear, compelling terms you have built the case for every CEO in the service industry to invest the time in talking directly with customers online. Marriott’s new blog Marriott On The Move is a rich mix of corporate message, individual humility and a willingness to be controversial.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with Marriott’s own introduction to his blog.

I’m venturing into uncharted territory as I launch this blog. A year ago, I
didn’t even know what a blog was — until my Communications team began telling
me about all the blog traffic on travel and tourism. Now I know this is where
the action is if you want to talk to your customers directly.

Blogging will allow me to do what I’ve been doing for years — on a global
scale. Talking to the customer comes easily to me… At
every hotel, I talk to associates, from housekeepers to general managers, to get
their feedback. I call it "management by walking around." Like my parents, I
value the input from our associates at all levels. I make lots of notes — and
my best ideas almost always come from our people in the field.

Just two weeks after launching the blog, Marriott used it to herald the staff at the Islamabad hotel that was hit by a suicide bomber. He’s jumped into the debate over immigration reform and mixed it up with smokers over the company’s ban at all properties.

So what? Well talk to the folks over at Jet Blue, where they are running their CEO ragged trying to balance the message of their missteps of the past few weeks. Ask them how much it would have helped if there as a running dialogue with David Neeleman that started on the day of weather fiasco? Want to bet his humility and candor would have been in every story from the very first piece?

For all those who fret over the value of a blog on the corporate site, I’ll point you back to Marriott’s fundamental argument for his.

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.

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