Scottsdale Marriott at McDowell Mountains
The Scottsdale Marriott at McDowell Mountains is an all-suite property in Arizona located right next to the TPC Scottsdale golf club. Its 266 guest rooms are complemented by 36,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space and an onsite restaurant. With the rooms having little to differentiate them, though, the team struggled with upsells, as well as overall efficiency in the room-block process — until they started using Cvent Passkey effectively.
The Scottsdale Marriott at McDowell Mountain started using Passkey early on — but it wasn’t being properly utilized. The team would try to enter rooming lists on their own, which was difficult and time-consuming, says Brett Hindi, the hotel’s director of event management. “A lot of times — especially if it was a larger group — we would send it to our corporate partners to have somebody enter it,” he says. Not only did this severely slow down the process, it also added up to a lot of unnecessary expenses, since the hotel had to pay for each room list that was handled remotely.
Once the list was entered, the team relied on Marriott eTools to manage group bookings but didn’t find that sufficient, either. “They just powered through,” Hindi says. “When they had trouble, they’d just send stuff to corporate.”
Hindi found himself making excuses for not having room lists ready for customers. Often, he didn’t even know where the list was in the process or how close it was to being finalized. “I just knew I didn’t have it,” he says.
Another major problem was trying to sell shoulder nights, which was a nightmare of group guests with multiple confirmation numbers and phone calls to adjust rates.
Then, Terrie Teutsch joined the Scottsdale Marriott’s Group Housing Department. The “Passkey guru,” as Hindi calls her, had extensive experience with the software, a room-block management technology that allows hoteliers to fill room blocks faster, minimize attrition risk, receive real-time data on pickup rates and other essential metrics, automate time-consuming tasks, and much more. “I’ve been using it since day one” at other properties, Teutsch says.
In the beginning, some meeting planners were leery of the new technology, but Teutsch says that trend is shifting, and her team doesn’t offer another choice for group bookings. “Now, pretty much all the planners I work with are familiar with Passkey.”