While many hotels are suffering from an abundance of empty rooms during this tight economy, the Greenbelt Marriott is showing that old fashioned face-to-face contact is helping to keep their hotel full.
On most mornings and afternoons at the Greenbelt Marriott, you won't find General Manager Robert Allen or Assistant General Manager Derwin Swann at their desks. Instead you'll find them in the lobby or walking the halls of the hotel greeting guests and asking for their feedback on their stay.
"Our guests like our Lobby Tradition Hour, and it's become a staple of doing business for us at the Greenbelt Marriott," explains Mr. Allen. "It gives us a chance to greet our hotel guests, hear what they liked about their stay and what we need to do better. It gives us a chance to correct anything they may be concerned about while they are still in the hotel and make it right.
"Mr. Marriott, our chairman set the standard over 50 years ago by taking great care of our associates, so they will take great care of our guests," said Mr. Allen. "That philosophy works for us here at the Greenbelt Marriott, and we believe that's partly why our guests keep coming back."
What is the secret to keeping rooms full? Mr. Allen says it's the repeat business that they get from government and corporate travelers and families. In fact, government travelers make up almost 30 percent of the hotel's business, with other work-related guests making up about 64 percent.
"Employers have learned about the value we offer," says Mr. Allen. "The Greenbelt Marriott was named Marriott Hotel of the Year in 2007. Corporate staff can enjoy their stay with us in our newly renovated rooms, with our new plug-in technology that allows for easy connectivity for iPods, MP3 players, and computers for less than the cost of a room at many lower quality hotels. There also is complimentary wireless internet within the lobby for those who enjoy working outside of their room."
According to Mr. Allen, the Greenbelt Marriott offers the most generous government package in the DC metro area with numerous perks for the hotel's guests from NASA, the IRS, FDA, USDA and others. These are travelers who commonly stay for long periods of time, so the hotel staff has gone out of their way to provide a family-like atmosphere, including homemade cookies in the evenings.
The Greenbelt Marriott has also carved out a niche for itself among families. "Our vacationing families tell us they come to the Greenbelt Marriott because of our larger rooms, in-room technology, and refrigerators in every room. We also offer free shuttle service to the Metro for easy access to downtown," says Mr. Allen. "We even put together information for our families on free attractions to see while they're here, such as visiting the Goddard Space Center where they can see a moon rock, which is especially great since we just celebrated the 40th anniversary of the moon landing. And it's nice to see the kids enjoying our swimming pool at the end of the day."
The Greenbelt Marriott has become a destination for those coming to the Washington, DC, area for vacations, local attractions, sport competitions held at the University of Maryland and many other things. Special rates on room blocks for family reunions and other types of events, and special hospitality rooms to meet and greet family members have kept families returning to the hotel. Kids under three eat free. Kids 10 and under eat for $5.95, with desserts for only $1.50.
The Greenbelt Marriott received the Marriott 2007 Hotel of the Year award for all of North America's full-service Marriott hotels. The hotel is conveniently located off I-95 and I-495 and is nearby Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, and within a two mile radius of the Metro subway system. The hotel boasts 14 meeting rooms and 10,000 square feet of event space. The hotel's 284 guest rooms were recently renovated in August of 2008, offering the latest in-room technology.