I have felt genuinely appreciated by the hotel staff and management at a number of properties that began with my first stay in March. Prior to then, I had experienced what I considered my normal check-ins at former Starwood properties (welcoming, warm, friendly) and those more perfunctory check-ins at the Marriott brands (professional, business-like). I received my usual welcome emails and upgrades at the Starwood brands: top-floor rooms or suites and small gifts. At the Marriott brands, I learned I would be notified by app that the room I paid for was going to be exactly what I was getting (with one or two exceptions). But something changed that first week of March. I had booked a weekend stay at the Dallas/Fort Worth Marriott Solana for myself and my partner (who promptly rolled his eyes when I told him we were staying in a Marriott, having been unimpressed with our other Marriott-branded stays) and, honestly, wasn't expecting anything more than what I'd already experienced. I was shocked when the front desk agent looked genuinely happy to greet me, stepped around the counter to welcome both me and my partner, asked the nature of our stay, noted my elite status and thanked me for my continued loyalty, explained all aspects of the property, offered to get someone to take our bags, and noted that we'd been upgraded to one of their suites. While walking down the hallway to the elevator bank, my partner looked at me and said, "That was an SPG welcome." And it was!
And that suite was only the beginning! Inside, staff had left a box of chocolate truffles, fresh fruit, water bottles, and a card thanking me for choosing their property. I was floored. I immediately wrote a thank you email to the general manager. Since that first stay in March, I've received similar thanks and small gifts, including:
- Upgraded room at JW Marriott Indianapolis; discounted meal at in-house restaurant as thanks for staying with them
- Upgrade to a spacious suite at DFW Airport Marriott South; personal welcome email from management
- Upgrade to luxury room at Sheraton Princess Kaiulani; fresh flower leis at check-in; bottle of sparkling wine, fruit plate; personal welcome email and meeting at property
- Upgrade to suite at Sheraton Dallas Hotel by the Galleria; bottle of sparkling wine, charcuterie plate; personal welcome email from management
- Personal welcome email from management at Aloft Tulsa; follow-up email after check-out
- Handwritten thank you card from management at Courtyard by Marriott Kansas City Shawnee; snack bag, bottled water
This is by no means a comprehensive list of the hotels I've visited during this timeframe, but these small things have definitely made me feel appreciated by Marriott, and I make sure to let the management at each location know this. I sincerely hope that others are benefiting from similar excellent customer service; it really makes a difference.