Marriott functions in three main areas: lodging (Marriott Hotels and Resorts, Marriott Suites, Residence Inns, Courtyard Hotels, and Fairfield Inns), contract services (Marriott Business Food and Services, Education, Health-Care, In-Flight Services, and Host International, Inc.) and restaurants (family restaurants, Travel Plazas, and Hot Shops). It is probably best known, however, for its lodging operations.
Marketing research at Marriott is done at the corporate level through the Corporate Marketing Services (CMS). CMS’s goals include providing the management of the different areas of Marriott with the information they need to better understand the market and the customer.
CMS conducts many different types of research. They use quantitative and qualitative research approaches such as telephone and mail surveys, focus groups, and customer intercept to gain more information on market segmentation and sizing, product testing, price sensitivity of consumers, consumer satisfaction, and the like.
The process of research at Marriott is a simple stepwise progression. The first step is to better define the problem to be addressed and the objectives of the client unit and to develop an approach to the problem. The next step is to formulate a research design and design the study. CMS must decide whether to conduct its own research or buy it from an outside organization.
If the latter option is chosen, CMS must decide whether or not to use multiple firms. Once a decision is made, the research is carried out by collecting and analyzing the data. Then, CMS presents the study findings. The final step in the research process is to keep a constant dialogue between the client and the CMS. During this stage, CMS may help explain the implications of the research findings or may make suggestions for future actions.
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