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Posted by on Mar 14, 2017 in Announcements

Meet Lindsay Gonitzke

In 2016 the Digital Services team doubled in size, with no plan to slow down any time soon! To keep everyone in the loop and put faces to the names, I will be introducing various team members on the blog.

I recently conducted a Q&A interview with Lindsay Gonitzke, Director of Client Services, who oversees the entire client management team. Lindsay has been on the Digital Services team for many years, and has seen the team significantly grow and evolve over time. In the interview below, Lindsay shares her history with Digital Services and where she sees the team heading in the future.

LINDSAY GONITZKE, Director of Client Services

Q: Tell us about your career at Marriott: Lindsay Gonitzke
A: I started with Marriott in 2010 as a SEO Account Manager servicing domestic and international hotels. I began working with many properties in Europe, and helped to grow our program roots while developing specific offerings to meet the demands of the region. From there I continued to service our hotels through SEO while overseeing a team of Account Managers. I eventually lead the Luxury/ Lifestyle group within Client Services and helped to develop unique programs and initiatives to meet the demands of our Luxury and Lifestyle brands. From there I took on the role of Director of Client Service.

Q: How would you describe your role as Director of Client Services?

A: I oversee a team of talented digital client service managers, providing best-in-class service and digital solutions to all Marriott brand hotels, globally.

Q: What projects are you focusing on right now?

A: Creating scalable solutions for future growth within the US and APAC regions.

Q: Where do you see the Digital Services team/Marriott going?

Continuing to evolve our programs and services to provide a wide-range of digital solutions for our hotels, globally. Additionally, I see us continuing to develop services to support our new Starwood family brands.

Q: What is your favorite part of working at Marriott?

A: The people! Hands down Digital Services and Marriott has the most talented and hardworking individuals I have ever worked with.

Q: What do you like to do for fun outside of work?

A: Preferably like to be outside at the beach, paddle boarding, running, hiking or playing with my son.

Q: Can you share your best travel experience?

A: I am a beach lover, so I would have to say Hawaii. I have been a few times and just absolutely love the scenery, culture, water sports and mai tais!

Lindsay Gonitzke Family Picture

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Posted by on Jan 3, 2017 in Announcements

Meet George Corbin, Marriott International’s Senior Vice President, Digital

Happy New Year from Marriott’s Digital Services Team!

In honor of 2017, we recently sat down with Marriott International’s Senior Vice President of Digital, George Corbin, to learn more about why he loves hospitality, how Marriott is connecting with millennials and how mobile is changing our industry. Big things are in store for 2017! Check it out below.

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Posted by on Dec 22, 2016 in Announcements, Social Media

Using Social in a Different Way

Make location the heart of your marketing with geofencing. What is geofencing you ask? Picture an invisible line surrounding a hotel or a storefront, where you can capture public User Generated Content* posted within the set boundary. This enables hotels and brands to identify with customers on property and engage with them in real time. Geofencing makes it easier to find, collect and engage with user generated content, without requiring the user to use a hashtags or mentions. With geofencing, you can tell who is geographically in the hotel. Engagement as well as surprise and delights from social posts are designed to make the customer feel special, not spied on. Various marketing teams throughout Marriott have found people are delighted to have brands and hotels engage, which in turn amplifies our company.

Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hyper Image

(Image Source: Shawn Paley)

How businesses can use geofencing technology to benefit their social media strategy:

1.) Engagement

Have real time conversation with guests, via their public social channels. When leaving a personalized comment on a guest’s picture, the user will often come back with positive feedback about the hotel. As a result, all of their network can see this comment.  The engagement is not supposed to be sales orientated or pushing an offer, rather elevating the experience and forming a personal relationship with guests.

Example: When a guest posts a picture of a property, engage with a welcome post to spark conversation and spread excitement among the user and their friends.

CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa Hyper Image

(Image Source: Shawn Paley)

2.) Content

JW Marriott Austin Hyper

(Image Source: Shawn Paley)

After requesting permission for rights and the user approves, brands and hotels are able to utilize user’s UGC in future uses for their website, social channels and marketing collateral. When users are looking at images, they resonate better with UGC vs. stock photography. When UGC is repurposed in social media content and advertising, UGC yields 88% more engagement on social and 25% higher ad performance.

3.) Control Reputation management

Research is being conducted on the connection between engagement on social and Trip Advisor/other review platforms. As of now, marketing teams throughout Marriott have seen positive reviews result in return on engagement from personalized and additive conversation.Hyper Engagement Example

(Image Source: Shawn Paley)

4.) Influencer identification

Determine which individuals have an engaged audience, and recognize them with surprise and delight moments. In return, influencers often share hotel’s personalized treatment with their following via social channels, which leads to increased awareness about your property.

Example: The Ritz Carlton Hong Kong team surprised an influencer with 16,000 followers to thank her for capturing and sharing highlights from her stay.

Hyper In-person Engagement Example

(Image Source: Shawn Paley)

5.) Listen to users on their platforms

The benefit of this is brands and hotels are able to see what people are saying organically on their own channels. They aren’t asking customers to fill out a survey or go out of their way to hear their thoughts.

6.) Be involved in special moments

Make someone’s special moment even better by engaging in the event, or sending surprise and delights for the special occasion. Whether it’s a birthday, engagement or anniversary, hotels and brands are able to be involved in it. In addition to engaging in the post, the hotel can send a surprise and delight selection of chocolate, or a bottle of champagne to amplify the guests’ special moment.

Hyper Wedding Proposal Example

(Image Source: Shawn Paley)

Everyday more than 300,000 guests post from Marriott International properties. Previously, engaging with fans on location has been a challenge, and hotels miss the opportunities to engage with fans while experiencing Marriott hotels. HYP3R is a geofencing platform that enables hotels to identify everything that is shared from their location and engage with their customers at specific locations on a personal level, in real time. HYP3R has an easy and efficient user interface which allows users to easily access a variety of features which include: utilizing insights and analytics, requesting permission and collecting UGC in an assets bin, setting up alerts for certain key words (engagement, wedding, anniversary, etc) and identifying top influencers and collectively view their information and follower base.

*User-generated content (UGC) is defined by Wikipedia as, “any form of content such as blogs, wikis, discussion forums, posts, chats, tweets, podcast, digital images, video, audio files, advertisements, and other forms of media that was created by users of an online system or service, often made available via social media websites.”

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Posted by on Dec 6, 2016 in Announcements

Thank You! From Digital Services

As 2016 is quickly coming to a close, the Digital Services by Marriott team would like to extend our sincere thanks to you – our hotel clients – for entrusting your digital marketing needs to our team. We clearly realize you have multiple options for your hotel-level online marketing needs. Please know that we consider it a privilege and an honor to be able to work with each of you to help you meet your property’s goals.

On behalf of the entire Digital Services team, thank you for your business! We appreciate it very much and are grateful for it.

Best wishes to you and yours for a very enjoyable holiday season. We wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.

Thank you!

Phil Schmidt, Sr. Director, Digital Services by Marriott

MDS 2016 Team Photo

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Posted by on Dec 5, 2016 in Announcements

Reflections on My First Movember

I had just began my career with Digital Services when I was asked to be the captain of our department’s Movember team. Our team’s involvement in the charity has become a tradition the last few years and I believe my nomination for captain stemmed from the somewhat large beard I had at the time, which I suppose seemed rather fitting. Without hesitation I agreed, not fully understanding what Movember represented.

Upon further research, I learned the Movember Foundation was a global nonprofit charity, founded thirteen years ago. Beyond just focusing on one aspect of men’s health, the foundation strives year round to create a positive change for men, addressing the major issues facing their health; prostate cancer, testicular cancer and suicide/poor mental health.

Although Movember educates year-round, our tradition of involvement is dedicated to their 30-day fundraising challenge every November. Along with collecting donations, individuals on our team are encouraged to grow facial hair for the entire month of November in hopes of turning their faces into a billboard for men’s health. For individuals not blessed with an ability to grow a mustache, individuals can also participate in a month long physical fitness MOVE challenge.

It seems kind of funny to think donning a mustache for a month could cure cancer or reduce the rates of men’s suicide… but it just might. Throughout the month, I was approached by a large number of individuals complementing and asking about my mustache. After having a beard for all of last year, seeing me with a mustache was a constant topic of conversation and often laughter beginning with “why the stache?” I would then take the opportunity to explain some of the problems that are causing so many fathers, husbands, brothers, sons and friends to experience health troubles at a young age. In a few instances, I was able to persuade my friends or family to donate, but most importantly, I had a conversation with them. It was through these experiences that the goal of Movember, starting a dialogue, began to resonate within me. Too many men suffer in silence, starting a conversation is the only way we are going to change the face of men’s health.

So let’s meet the Digital Services Movember Team at Bethesda this year. We also had several other team members participate from our remote offices in Omaha and London.

Below is Phil Schmidt, Senior Director of Digital Services. New to the team, and this was his first Movember. I cannot thank him enough for all his support and participation. Without senior leadership involvement, the fun Movember activities and funds raised would not have been possible.

Phil Schmidt

Next we have Josh Cutter, Senior Content Analyst and all around great guy, although his photos may appear otherwise. This was Josh’s second time participating in Movember.

Josh Cutter

Up next is Fred Schaub, Senior Manager of Global Strategy. Fred is new to the team as well and new to facial hair. Fred had never let his beard grow out before, when I asked what the hardest part was, he responded no longer being able to kiss his 2-year-old son goodnight, as his son thought his face was too scruffy.

Fred Schaub

Captain of last year’s Movember team was our Senior Social Media Analyst, Ryan Sanecki. Ryan passed the torch to me this year and set the bar pretty high, raising over $700 dollars last Movember. Ryan was delighted we were able to pull in such a large group of MoBros this time around compared to years in the past. “A good mustache grows every year. And this year’s group was no exception.”Ryan Sanecki

Next on the team was fellow Digital Analyst, Josh Vogel. Josh had never grown out his beard before and sadly was quick to shave it off once the month was over.

Josh Vogel

Mike Jozaitis, Senior Manager of Digital Strategy, started and captained Digital Services’ Movember team 2 years ago and has been championing the cause since. The first MoBro’s raised $300 dollars for Movember.

Mike Jozaitis

I learned a lot this November, a major component being that a mustache is surprisingly pretty hard to maintain. Beards allow a bit of luxury and cost-friendly benefit of not shaving, with a mustache you have to shave/trim daily. Most importantly; fundraising is hard work. I know I would not have been able to do or raise even half of what we did this month without my MoBro Team, so I thank you all.

David Menzen

In total, this year’s Digital Services team raised $1,200 dollars for the Movember Foundation. A number we knew that required a large amount of effort. When first we setting the goal of $1000 dollars, I felt a focus on surpassing last year’s amount of $700 by any dollar amount. Although, our initial campaign started off a little slower than we had hoped, we created awareness through a mid-month “Week of Treats.” Each day, a different team member prepared a homemade treat for the Digital Services team, ranging from salted chocolate s’more truffles, chocolate dipped bananas to chocolate croissants. Continuing the motivation to fundraise and through Marriott’s generosity, we followed up with a Stache Bash pizza party, where we introduced the wonders of Ledo Pizza to some of the non-Maryland Digital Services members. As a final push, we made our way over to a nearby restaurant to host a Movember Happy Hour which landed us over our goal.

Movember was an amazing success this year and if we keep going down the same track it looks like we will reach $1500 next year – and I can’t wait to see it happen.

MDS MoBros 2016

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Posted by on Nov 1, 2016 in Announcements

Digital Services by Marriott Goes on Team Outing to Rocklands Farm

The Digital Services by Marriott team recently went on a team outing with our  Europe team members for a day of team building and fun. Located on a 34-acre historic property in Poolesville, Maryland, Rocklands Farm is a winery and market that focuses on farming in a sustainable and holistic manner. The farm grows a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and pasture-raised meats, in addition to producing wine onsite.

The team toured the gorgeous farm and learned about the creation of small-batch wine. Afterwards, we participated in a wine tasting and indulged in delicious wood-fired pizza from Pizza Brama. As a team that works with hotels, it was insightful to spend the day finding out more about another side of the hospitality industry. The Bethesda MDS team also thoroughly enjoyed spending time with our MDS Europe team.

Rocklands Farm

Rocklands Farm, where we enjoyed our team outing

Digital Services Pumpkins

The team was greeted by a lovely sign and carved pumpkin with the MDS logo

Digital Services Tours Rocklands Farm

The team listens to CEO and Farm Manager, Greg Glenn, speak about farming

Rocklands Farm Cow

Mike Jozaitis interacts with a cow during a tour of the farm

Rocklands Farm Winery

The Rocklands Farm market set up for the team’s wine tasting

Rocklands Farm Wine Tasting

The team learns how to properly taste a glass of wine

Alex MacClellan

Alex MacClellan poses for a caricature drawing

MDS Wine Tasting

Ashley Wade, Erin Layshock, Jessica Fisher and Sonal Shah enjoying a glass of wine

On behalf of the MDS team, thank you to the remarkable team at Rocklands Farm for your warm hospitality and a wonderful tour and tasting.

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