Customer Story

How Marriott Uses Real-Time Data to Anticipate Guest Needs

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Background

Bethesda North Marriott is a hotel and conference center located minutes away from Marriott Headquarters just outside of Washington DC. It boasts 10 floors, 441 rooms, and a 56,000+ square foot conference center complete with ballrooms, meeting rooms and full catering services that can serve over 2500 people at a time. Simply put, this Marriott location hosts a lot of people every day.

We were completely vexed with how we were going to accurately count people.

Mike Wilson, Director of Operations

Challenge

Marriott prides itself on “hosting brilliantly,” and Mike Wilson, Director of Operations at Bethesda North, is no exception to that principle. In order to provide brilliant service to loyal Marriott guests, he had to find a way to track the real-time occupancy of his most important locations–from the fitness center to the M-Club lounge. 

Wilson believes that reacting to the swells and dips in foot traffic is key to providing a positive guest experience. Knowing how many people visit each location helped answer questions like, “Does the lounge need food refills?”, “Does the fitness center need extra towels?” and “Are additional staff and resources needed in select areas?”.

As Director of Operations, Wilson would visit each location to make sure each space was operating effectively. Wilson wanted to automate the process but didn’t know where to start. “We were completely vexed with how we were going to accurately count people,” he says.

Solution

Wilson found Density after searching for “people counters” online. After meeting the team, he was convinced that Density’s Depth Processing Units (DPUs) would be a perfect fit for tracking occupancy in both the Fitness Center and the M-Club Lounge. Within minutes, Wilson was able to track the real-time occupancy of these spaces via the Density dashboard and mobile app.

It’s beyond real-time. Density gives us an anticipation of what’s going to happen in the next fifteen minutes so we’re not just on time, we’re actually early.

Results

Since installing Density, Wilson’s approach to operating his Marriott has changed. Wilson has been able to get ahead of his guests’ needs; he uses Density to take a proactive approach to managing their experience. Wilson explains, “It’s beyond real-time. Density gives us an anticipation of what’s going to happen in the next fifteen minutes so we’re not just on time, we’re actually early.”

Density helps Wilson do his job more efficiently and takes the guesswork out of hotel foot traffic in amenities spaces. Wilson uses the Density mobile app every day to plan his staff agendas according to how each space is used. Over the course of the day, he and his staff can respond to real-time changes in foot traffic throughout his hotel without having to visit each space. 

Density tells me where people are, when they’re there, and it helps me to understand which resources I need to deploy and at what time.

Density’s alerts enable him to ensure each space is serviced based on how many guests have visited each location. Wilson receives text message alerts whenever the gym or lounge nears a set number of visits. He can deploy staff and resources to each location so an overflow in traffic doesn’t result in an underserved guest. Wilson explains, “Density tells me where people are, when they’re there, and it helps me to understand which resources I need to deploy and at what time.”

Imagine if your building could talk to you and tell you what it needs. Density does that.

With real-time and predictive data, Wilson is able to guarantee each space is never understaffed and amenities are never in need of service. Staff is present when guests are present. Food and towels are always replenished. Trash cans are always emptied and relined. These seemingly simple details can make or break the experience of any building, and Wilson has figured out a way to understand what his buildings require in order to operate effectively. “Imagine if your building could talk to you and tell you what it needs. Density does that. Density creates a portal for the building to give you intelligence about what it needs from you,” says Wilson.

In keeping with Marriott’s standard of “Hosting Brilliantly,” the gym is always clean and ready for motivated hotel guests. The M-Club lounge is a streamlined, exclusive experience designed specifically for elite Marriott members, and Wilson’s staff guarantees service to match.

Our hotel is not unlike any other business. We’re a large operation with very stretched resources.

What’s Next

Wilson now sees Density as an invaluable tool for operating any large building. “Our hotel is not unlike any other business. We’re a large operation with very stretched resources.” Wilson plans to deploy Density in other areas of the Marriott that are stretched for resources. Namely, he sees a need for real-time data in the conference rooms, ballroom, and the in-house restaurant. The hope? Wilson and his staff will never have to waste time walking to and from an area in his hotel just to see how many people are there.

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