Marriott has laid off several members of their Ambassador customer service team, and will no longer provided dedicated agents to their best customers until “returning to business as usual.” Instead, Marriott tells me, the remaining group of their best customer service agents will be “dedicated to Ambassador Elites.”
Aside from Marriott’s secret Cobalt status Ambassador is the highest elite tier. It requires 100 nights and $20,000 spend to reach. And in addition to standard suite upgrades and breakfast benefits (and even watered-down 24 hour check-in privileges) members receive a dedicated Ambassador to take care of all of their needs with Marriott.
Marriott’s Ambassador level requires $20,000 spend and 100 nights in a year. Their dedicated agents already were servicing as many as 300 of these top customers. Now the highest revenue and frequency customers are losing their biggest benefit, since many members of the team have been furloughed. Here’s what Marriott shared with Ambassador members,
As an Ambassador Elite member, you are among our most loyal and valued members. As such, I wanted to reach out personally to keep you updated on the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on our company and our program. You may have seen a message from our CEO, Arne Sorenson, in which he shared his thoughts about how much our hearts and thoughts go out to the people who have been affected by this unprecedented event, and how much we appreciate the healthcare workers, local communities, and governments around the world that are on the front line working to contain this coronavirus. I hope you and your family are taking precautions and remain healthy.
Today, governments around the world are making decisions to halt nonessential business activity, and many of our Ambassadors work from contact centers around the globe that have been required to close. As a result, we have adapted the way we deliver the Ambassador Service to you, while enabling us to protect the health and safety of our associates worldwide.
As we continue to react to the unfolding situation, your personal Ambassador may not be available to assist you directly. To preserve the level of service we strive to deliver to Ambassador Elite members, we have engaged our global Ambassador Service team to respond to and address your needs, just as we do after-hours when your personal Ambassador is not working. This approach will help us ensure you get the timeliest response to any travel needs you may have.
We know many of you will miss the one-on-one relationship you may have built or were looking forward to building with your Ambassador this year. While this decision was necessitated by the fight against COVID-19, please know we are committed to returning to business-as-usual when it is safe to do so and permitted by governments. Expect to hear from us again soon, with news about program updates, including 2020 Elite status requirements.
Whether you are traveling now or in the future, I want you to know that your safety, as well as that of our associates, is a top priority. Despite these current hardships, our Ambassador team around the world is waiting to serve you.
The hotel chain is laying off staff across the board. In a gradual recession, companies may cut back by shedding their least productive workers or their most expensive staff relative to productivity. However when they just cutting costs, period, they may do so indiscriminately.
- Companies cut commission-only sales staff or contractors. That would seem to make no sense, since they only pay out revenue that generates even more business, but when the mandate is ‘cut costs’ and commissions show up as a cost (and sales performance is basically excused) that’s one way to meet the target. Dysfunctional organizations operate that way.
- They lay off without respect to the abilities of each ability, or how much value they bring to the company. Sometimes it’s seniority, sometimes favoritism, or there’s little attention given to what talent to retain to make the business as effective as possible both in the near-term and longer-term.
Marriott could have said ‘we recognize that our Ambassadors aren’t fully occupied right now, besides processing cancellations so we’re going to give them additional customer service duties’ (and choose to lay off more general customer service staff). In other words they could have chosen to retain the agents that are ostensibly their best, who they are going to need again later (and in roles where there’s significant training time and expense). Instead they took the meat cleaver.