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Yesterday I got an email from Monique Washington. She’s the Marriott Rewards Specialist/Rooms Controller for the New Orleans Renaissance Pere Marquette Hotel. I’ll be staying there tonight. I’m a Gold Member with Marriott which means I stay at least 50 nights a year at one of their hotels. I love Marriott.

She noticed on my personal profile that I had no special requests. She is there to make my stay more comfortable. Wow. So I replied. I told her my travel plans. I’m speaking in Baton Rouge today (also at a Marriott). I’ll be done at 5pm, will drive the 80 miles south – hopefully not hitting too much traffic. My plan is to check-in, have a nice New Orleans dinner, and get to bed early because I have a ass-crack-o-dawn flight on Thursday.

My question to her was “Could she recommend a restaurant within a safe walking distance?”

I haven’t heard back from Monique, yet. But I’m very hopeful. This is the first time I’ve ever received an email from my hotel chain of choice. I really dig this kind of effort – especially in this economy – because it shows they are trying to differentiate.

According to my new favorite book, Flip the Funnel by Joseph Jaffe, Marriott is taking a risk.

Risk is the ability to do things that have never been done before, to boldly go where no brand has gone before. In marketing speak, to differentiate; in business speak, to lead.

I sincerely hope this risk pays off. I’ll keep you posted.

UPDATE: Sadly there was no reply from Monique. But, the front desk acknowledged my Gold status, I did get access to the Concierge lounge, and to be fair, when I signed up for my free internet, it took me to a welcome page with a link to local restaurants.

Still…..wouldn’t it have been amazing if that information was waiting for me when I checked in. I’m just sayin’…..

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April 2010