Marriott International Delivers Group-Event Pricing Faster and Improves Function Space Use with Integrated Group Sales and Event Management Solution
 
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Marriott International Delivers Group-Event Pricing Faster and Improves Function Space Use with Integrated Group Sales and Event Management Solution

Marriott International, Inc., a leading lodging company, has more than 3,800 properties in 74 countries and territories. The company operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts under 18 brands, including its full-service Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, and Gaylord Hotels brands.

The company’s culture embraces excellence and change, and this includes technological innovation. Marriott was growing quickly and wanted to better leverage the sales force across its brands and hotels and continue to expand its group events business. To support this model, the company looked to move many salespeople from specific properties to offices closer to the customers they serve. Marriott required a group sales and event management solution that could enable this innovative, distributed approach.

The hospitality leader partnered with Oracle to design a new solution, Oracle’s Siebel Group Sales and Event Management, which the company is rolling out across the organization. The solution enables Marriott to locate its salespeople closer to customers, equipping sales professionals with the information they need to respond more quickly to inquiries. Today, Marriott uses the system to capture more than 5,300 sales opportunities each day and generate more than 7,300 quotes per day.

As it rolls out the solution, Marriott is seeing higher utilization of its event space. Sales professionals also have visibility into a customer’s historical relationship with Marriott brands so they can provide more personalized service. In addition, the system provides better insight into what customers are buying across Marriott brands, enabling the company to adapt and tailor marketing initiatives to increase the occupancy of function space. As important, the company has integrated the system with Marriott.com to offer the industry’s first self-service, event-booking portal for small groups—gaining a powerful competitive advantage.

 
Seeking a Consolidated View of Inventory and Customers

A word from Marriott International, Inc.

  • "Customer responsiveness is one of the core drivers for group sales effectiveness, and Oracle’s Siebel Group Sales and Event Management gives us a leg up on the competition when it comes to providing rapid and accurate information on rates and availability." – Tony Reid, Senior Vice President Information Resources, Sales, Inventory, and Event Management Solutions, Marriott International, Inc.

Marriott did not have a single, consolidated view of its 30,411 active-function spaces across all properties and brands in the United States. Each property managed its event space separately, as there was little integration between sales systems. As a result, it was difficult for sales representatives to respond quickly to inquiries, especially if a potential customer wanted information on more than one location.

“Approximately 30 years ago, we centralized our sleeping-room inventory into one reservation system. Our function-space inventory, however, remained in siloed databases, making it nearly impossible for us to manage in the way we manage sleeping rooms, from a pricing and availability perspective,” said Marc Levy, vice president Information Resources, Enterprise Development, Marriott.

In addition, there was no way for Marriott sales professionals to understand the value of a customer across multiple hotels or brands as information was stored in separate, hotel-centric databases, preventing use of this important intelligence to close a deal.

As Marriott’s network grew, so did its IT management burden, as it had to maintain a growing number of on-site systems. In addition, there was limited integration between aging group sales systems, the event execution system, and revenue management systems—leading to complex and manual handoffs and information rekeying. As a result, Marriott could not effectively manage events through the lifecycle, from initial sales call, through to billing.

The company required a single, global platform designed specifically for the hospitality industry that could scale and perform to support its global business needs. Besides being able to support hundreds of properties and more than 20,000 users worldwide, the system needed to be robust enough to handle a range of hotels from smaller, single meeting room hotels to large convention hotels, which may have more than 800 function spaces and execute hundreds of events a day. It also required a solution that could support and integrate with the company’s existing ecosystem, including revenue, property management, and central reservation systems, as well as outdoor readerboards. Further, the solution had to provide appropriate access to customer and inventory data at any level for a specific property, global sales office, or regional office and had to be web-based to reduce the onsite IT management burden.

 
Partners in Innovation

 
Extending Industry Leadership

 
New Options for Small Groups

 
Streamlined IT Management

 
 

 
 

Challenges

  • Enable group sales professionals to respond quickly to proposal inquiries, especially when a potential customer seeks information on more than one hotel property
  • Gain a single, consolidated view of function space across all hotel properties and brands in the United States to increase utilization and sales
  • Enable sales professionals to provide more competitive pricing and better service to customers
  • Streamline IT management and reduce IT costs and complexity

Solutions

  • Worked with Oracle to jointly design and deploy Siebel Group Sales and Event Management, enabling the company to locate its sales professionals closer to customers and equipping them with the information they need to respond more quickly to new business inquiries
  • Ensured a scalable system that enables the hospitality leader to capture more than 5,300 sales opportunities each day and generate more than 7,300 quotes daily
  • Gave sales professionals visibility into the value of a customer across multiple hotels or brands and the entire relationship lifecycle to provide more competitive pricing and more personalized service
  • Gained better insight into how, where, and what customers are buying across the Marriott brands, allowing the company to adapt and tailor marketing initiatives to increase occupancy of function space
  • Developed the industry’s first self-service portal for booking small events, offering customers new levels of convenience and speed
  • Integrated the group sales and event management system with third-party e-proposal and event management sites, providing a powerful competitive advantage for Marriott
  • Deployed a web-based solution and eliminated the cost, time, and human resources required to make on-site updates and refresh hardware across 500 locations
  • Integrated Siebel Group Sales and Event Management with the company’s revenue management, property management, and reservations systems for visibility into group sales and event management processes and to automate and align them

Why Oracle

Marriott had deployed Oracle’s Siebel CRM applications and used them extensively throughout the organization. “It was an ideal choice to partner with and build on Oracle’s industry-leading Siebel solutions, using as the foundation for a group sales and event management a solution that is specific to the hospitality industry,” Levy said. “We’ve been very pleased with our choice. I would say that imitation is the best form of flattery, and several of our large competitors are starting down a similar road. We have the strategic advantage of being much further along with our initiative.”

Implementation Process

Marriott is approximately 65% through its rollout of the event inventory management component of the solution in the United States. It has already implemented the sales component globally. Oracle Consulting and Oracle Advanced Customer Support Services have played an integral role in the implementation. 

Marriott worked closely with Oracle Consulting Services as its primary application integration partner. Oracle Consulting Services developed several best-practice business processes, providing Marriott with a customizable solution that is scalable to accommodate future changes. The Oracle Expert Services team within Oracle Consulting also conducted architectural and configuration reviews for enhanced usability and performance.

Marriott worked with Oracle Advanced Customer Support Services, Oracle Technical Account Management, and the Oracle Solution Support Center using the Oracle implementation best practices methodology during all phases of the project. This support included strategic guidance during project planning, review, and implementation, personalized technical support, and expertise, such as application configuration, performance benchmark testing, and high availability system design.

“Being the charter customer on this product, it was important that we have direct access to the developers and product team. Oracle Advanced Customer Support Services has the highest level of expertise in the application we’re running. There are several members of the Oracle team that know our environment as well as we do and have been critical to our success,” Levy said.