Life is a collection of moments; so, our wish is to make those moments unforgettable. At Marriott we don’t just host events, we make memories.
With so many missed occasions and micro-celebrations, consumers are looking for an excuse to celebrate more than ever. Fuelled by social media and celebrity celebrations, there has been a rise in the size and variety of milestone celebrations, including baby showers, intimate weddings, 1st birthday “cake smashing”.
Competitors now extend beyond traditional event venues, with consumers increasingly searching for “Instagrammable” settings, such as converted warehouses, barns and outdoor spaces. Therefore, we identified the need to reposition our events concept to remain competitive.
Prior to the launch of our new events concept, the only Marriott UK event strategy was for weddings and Christmas (seasonal only). Our challenge was to create a new concept that extended beyond just weddings and Christmas to meet the demand for emerging milestone celebrations.
Launching in July 2019 after extensive market research into the emerging events landscape, key competitors and a full internal audit, we developed a new, unifying strategy and positioning for events at our portfolio of 55 Marriott hotels in the UK - Memories Made at Marriott.
The development, repositioning and launch of Memories Made at Marriott was led by our UK Senior Marketing Manager Meetings & Events and UK Director Segment Marketing, working in collaboration with design agency, The Ideas House.
Although launched in 2019, we are submitting Memories Made at Marriott for the 2021 Hospitality Awards due to it being in its infancy in 2019, and being paused during 2020 due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
Increase event revenue for our 55 UK hotels by 4%
- Launch a concept that positions Marriott as an industry-leading events expert
- Develop a consistent yet flexible, consumer-focused offering that competes with unique venues
- Leverage brand power to centrally develop the concept, but locality is key; spotlight the individual hotel, not the brand
- Integrate the concept across sales, marketing and operations to deliver an all-encompassing experience throughout the customer journey
- People buy people; events teams are our key asset. Motivate and elevate our teams, and equip them with tools for effective enquiry handling and experience delivery
At Marriott we don’t just host events, we make memories
- Tailored & flexible: no two guests are the same, so why should events be? Our flexible packages are designed to be tailored specifically to our guests and their occasion to bring their unique vision to life
- Memory Makers: we’re not just a venue; we’re a personal event planner. Be inspired by our imaginative and resourceful experts with their unrivalled connections to craft bespoke experiences and long-lasting memories
Grouping event types into distinct categories, we introduced six standardised packages:
- Celebrate (<30 people)
- Party (>30 people)
- Children’s Party
Each package has three tiers, led by an all-encompassing top tier based on research findings for demand for a “one stop shop” and supports our new sales strategy of ‘top down’ selling vs traditional upselling. All packages are priced locally by each hotel.
In a world of Pinterest and Instagram, guests want a unique experience that wows their guests. Therefore, we created our Wish List of event extras (e.g. flower arches, donut walls, videographers) for guests to personalise the standard packages. The Wish List features local items to offer individual destination experiences, and includes partnerships with beverage suppliers, e.g. Hendricks’s Gin bar, Moët & Chandon Champagne bar.
To enhance the experience further, we redesigned our event menus taking inspiration from new trends, e.g. grazing tables, carvery theatres, sharer boards.
Working with our UK Sales Director and UK Operations Director, we embedded Memories Made at Marriott into marketing, sales and operations, and developed comprehensive resources to integrate it into every customer touchpoint, including:
- Photography, videography and marketing collateral
- Fully optimised website, MemoriesMadeMarriott.co.uk with a simple enquiry submission form
- Localised organic and paid social media strategies
- Enquiry handling scripts and showround tools, e.g. ‘save the date’ invites, personalised brochures
- Event operations resources, e.g. table menus, place cards, signage
- Standard operating procedures for Wish List items, e.g. popcorn bar, burger bar
We embedded a culture of Memory Makers across the whole hotel, training 250+ people from sales, marketing and operations with a series of internal webinars and face-to-face sessions. Continuous training is delivered online and through our comprehensive Memories Made at Marriott guidelines.
We developed tools to elevate their role (e.g. business cards, thank you notes) and feature them on MemoriesMadeMarriott.co.uk.
Investing £140,000 into the rebrand and relaunch, Memories Made at Marriott delivered a year-on-year growth of 5.3% in enquiries and 4.9% in revenue within its first six months (July 2019 – December 2019), delivering an ROI of 74:1.
We continue to invest in “always-on” marketing campaigns and continue to evolve the Memories Made at Marriott concept in response to the changing event market, e.g. the extension of our wedding packages to include our Happily Ever After-Party package to capture demand for belated celebrations after COVID-restricted intimate weddings.
Memories Made at Marriott deserves to win Best Marketing Operation because it has not only revolutionised our UK event offering, but has been completely engrained within our culture – uniting and motivating our teams of Memory Makers to create a bespoke, memorable and industry-leading experience for all of our guests, whatever their special occasion.