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Posted by on Aug 1, 2017 in Announcements

Fresh Views on Travel and Hospitality: An Interview with our 2017 Summer Interns

Michael Rosenblatt and Mary Grace Cooney are the 2017 Digital Services summer interns based in our Bethesda HQ office. We asked for their perspective on travel, Marriott and what their favorite destination has been thus far.

MDS 2017 Interns


Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself!

Michael: My name is Michael Rosenblatt and I am a rising senior at George Mason University (GMU). I have received an Associate’s degree in Digital Marketing along with two certificates in Marketing and Social Media. I am currently on track to graduate GMU with a bachelor’s degree in Leadership and Organizational Development. My interest in marketing dates back to when I was a freshman in high school. My older sister encouraged me to join FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) and DECA. Although, at the time digital marketing wasn’t as prevalent, but it was obvious to see the new marketing direction from businesses and consumers. Since then, it’s been an exciting ride to see how things have evolved. It’s even more exciting to think digital is still in its pre-stages relative to how long it’s going to be embedded in our culture.

Mary Grace: My name is Mary Grace Cooney and I was born and raised in Oakton, Virginia, which is where I currently live. I am a student at the University of Mary Washington, majoring in Marketing, where I will be graduating from this coming spring.


Q: What has been your favorite travel destination so far? And if you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Michael: My favorite travel destination would have to be back in 2012 with my stay in Hawaii. I stayed at the Waikiki Beach Marriott so that in itself was an incredible experience. The most memorable take away from that trip was when I went sky diving over the northern part of the island. Jumping out of a tiny plane overlooking a combination of the Pacific Ocean and Oahu was something surreal! I highly recommend everyone experience sky diving, but especially if you are on a gorgeous island, such as Hawaii.

Mary Grace: My favorite destination I have been to was London for sure! I stayed for a week at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London, and I highly recommend it to everyone. The travel destination currently at the top of my bucket list right now is Greece. An opportunity to go there cannot come soon enough.


Q:  What’s your favorite travel website/app?

Michael: I must say prior to this internship I was unaware of the website Skift, a hospitality focused website. Being that digital marketing is a focus of mine, and hospitality is a new-found interest, Skift seems to be the one-stop-shop for anything relative to those topics. I would say as a student I find the “How-To” articles under the EDU section extremely informative.

 Mary Grace: My family has always been firm believers in booking through (to get all those rewards points 😉), but if I had to pick another site, I would pick TripAdvisor because they give great suggestions on what to do during your stay.


Q: What’s your best travel tip?

 Michael: My most recommended travel tip is to definitely invest in the Eagle Creek products! Particularly, the Pack-It Systems. As a business traveler, it can often be difficult to ensure your clothes stay in proper shape. The Pack-It folder is the easiest, most convenient solution to keeping your dress clothes folded, pressed and organized. I guarantee if you try any of the Pack-It solutions you will amazed at how much more prepared you are for any trip.

Mary Grace: My best travel tip would be to always keep a copy of your passport on you. As soon as you get to your hotel, figure out how to use the safe and stick your real passport in there. This way, if you are out and about and you get things taken from you, your original will be safe and sound back in your room.


Q: What do you like most about Marriott?

Michael: Since I started travel hockey at age 7, our organization always put us in Marriott hotels. I would say that certainly has exposed me to such a high level of hospitality from a young age. Whether that be for the best or worst, I was spoiled to that expectation. The random occasions of staying at somewhere other than a Marriott made me really appreciate all the personal details Marriott provides. With that said, what I love most about Marriott is their attention to detail on so many levels.

Mary Grace: My favorite thing so far about Marriott is definitely how welcoming and nice everyone has been. Everyone is super willing to help me out at all times, and provide assistance on whatever questions I may have. The people who work in MDS are the most down to earth people I have ever worked with, and I learn from them so much every day!

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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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