JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa

In an effort to improve its group business model, JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa in Costa Rica implemented hotelier-specific technology that helped its staff develop a stronger and more effective company strategy.

71%

increase in RFP value year over year

5

hour average decrease per RFP response

24%

increase in unique planner organization clients

Spreading Awareness to Bring in New Business

Even though JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa’ boasts oceanfront views and hacienda-style accommodations, the sales and marketing teams felt as though they could attract more qualified planners to book their Costa Rican meeting space. One of the main challenges was strategically positioning their property against competitors in neighboring countries and cities. To stand out planners around the world, the resort needed to spread awareness about its extensive group accommodations and packages. “"When you don’t have access to the clients",” “you don’t know who you’'re reaching and who you'’re not, explains Frederique Naffrichoux, the hotel's director of sales and marketing. Frederique and her team were determined to improve by understanding the hurdles that meeting planners face, as well as outpacing and out-marketing their fiercest competition.

The JW Marriott Guanacaste team believed that a new technology and marketing strategy could better position the resort to attract many types of meeting planners. They specifically wanted to target U.S. planners, along with those searching for venues in similar destinations. The sales and marketing teams needed to first identify planner pain points, and then differentiate their property as a venue that could fulfill and exceed clients' needs while making them feel like valued guests.

Challenges and Goals:

  • Pressure from the rise of competition in surrounding markets.

  • Properly positioning Costa Rica as a meeting destination.
  • Building a US customer base and growing group business.

Increasing Visibility with the Right Audience

Aerial view of JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa

After Andrea Segura, JW Marriott Guanacaste's group sales manager, became Cvent Certified, she was able to easily navigate the Cvent tool. She updated the property's online profile to include more information and targeted messaging for planners. In addition, live events such as Cvent CONNECT and the MPI Exchange helped Andrea and her team book new business and build relationships with new clients. They were able to increase visibility online, in person, and with branded collateral; strengthening their group sales marketing efforts; and streamlining their day-to-day processes. "The Cvent tool made it easier for us to respond to proposals more quickly, easily, and completely," Andrea says. "It also helped me assist my colleagues in their responses," Andrea explains.

“JW Marriott Guanacaste went even further, though. "I believe in the technology world," Frederique exclaims. "When you're using technology, you have to use everything in your power and everything within your reach for the platform to really work your way. That's something we've been doing across the organization." And their hard work has truly paid off. By taking advantage of an extensive suite of Cvent's Group Marketing Solutions, the resort saw a 71% increase in total RFP value in one year, and the average awarded value nearly tripled. The marketing team developed a more strategic, thought-out approach to keep the resort top-of-mind and navigating the market. Major jumps in RFP volume and return on investment has proven the technology's value and strengthened enhanced the property's brand from the inside.

Better Tactics and a Stronger Strategy

View of the interior of a room at JQ Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa

Better Tactics and a Stronger Strategy In the future, JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa will continue to spread awareness and deliver award-winning service to new and returning clients. Since introducing the sales and marketing technology to its group business model, management has seen drastic improvements in both departments. But Frederique is still reaching for more: “We want to increase our market share, so whoever comes to Costa Rica and is within our property standards, we would love to have them stay with us.”

While pursuing more prospects, Andrea uses her experience from Cvent CONNECT and the Certification course to increase adoption and simplify the RFP response process. “"We understand that not everything will work for us, which is why the partnership is important, along with the feedback we get from the account executive,"” Frederique adds. "“The more exposure you have, the closer your property will be to the top, which is why we’re using technology to get us there.”

The hotel market continues to change, and JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa is determined to stay up with industry trends. By maintaining contact with their prospects, accommodating current clients, and appealing to the planner universe through an integrated business model, the property will easily surpass its competition.