In September of 2016, Marriott International officially announced the acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts creating the world's largest travel company. At that moment, Marriott Rewards' vision was simple: We must provide frictionless experiences powered by tech, allowing the program to easily engage with members during what was one of the most historical moments in the hospitality industry.
1. Help existing members understand the benefits of linking their Marriott Rewards and SPG accounts
2. Identify breakthrough initiatives and first-to-market opportunities
The Intersection of Man and Machine
Messaging apps now boast more active users than social networks, and this shift from social media to social messaging will redefine how we, as marketers, will approach connecting with consumers. When Facebook launched Bots for Messenger in April, Marriott Rewards quickly assembled a team to define how the intersection of man and machine would impact the guest experience.
Marriott Rewards' social media channels are monitored daily by Marriott's Social Media Alert & Response Team (SMART). The team responds to member inquiries, resolves customer service issues and assists in enhancing the member experience before, during, after, and in-between hotel stays. The team is actively listening to and responding to guest messages from 9am-12am EST.
Launched in September, the Marriott Rewards bot works in partnership with the SMART Team, making it possible for the loyalty program to be more personal, more proactive, and more streamlined in the way we interact and communicate with our members.
Marriott Rewards chose to use artificial intelligence to help its guests and millions of loyalty program members with one of the biggest travel questions of the year: What will happen to their points now that Starwood and Marriott have officially merged? Marriott Rewards' bot helps answer that question and more.
The bot uses a simple guided response interface, whereby members can review the benefits of linking (unique to their member level), explore FAQs related to the merger, and easily link their Marriott Rewards and SPG accounts through Facebook Messenger and WeChat – all in less than 45 seconds. Should the bot be unable to answer a member's question, they can easily connect to a live SMART Team member.
Marriott Rewards is the only major hospitality loyalty program with a Facebook Messenger bot, and one of the only major brands in the hotel category engaging with guests in such a way.
Bot functionality paired with human response helped Marriott Rewards achieve a 97% response rate with an average response time of just four (4) minutes, earning Facebook's "very responsive" customer service badge.