Scottsdale Marriott at McDowell Mountains

Even at this small, all-suite hotel, Cvent Passkey made a big impact by creating efficient processes, saving time and money, and generating upsell revenue.

 

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 Problem

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.

 

The Solution

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.”

 

 

The Outcome

Once the Scottsdale Marriott team had both an efficient tool and someone proficient in using it, it made a huge difference in their day-to-day work.

“There isn’t really a comparison,” Teutsch says. “With Passkey, it doesn’t matter if the list is 20 names or 1,000 names — you can enter it in 15 minutes and have the confirmations downloaded.”

Everyone on the team has noticed the efficiencies and reduced costs. “We immediately saw a cost savings,” since they were no longer paying for someone else to enter rooming lists, Hindi says. “Everyone also realizes that Passkey is a huge timesaver for us.” Not only can they load lists more quickly, but they field fewer calls from meeting planners, who can pull their own pickup reports from Passkey without the hotel’s help.

In addition to the cost and time savings, Passkey has also helped the Scottsdale Marriott bring in more revenue from group bookings, despite limited upsell options. The property has only three room types — a suite, a suite with a view, and a premium suite with a view and a balcony — but upgrades through Passkey have been very successful. With just a little bit of extra work to load the inventory, the team immediately saw great returns. They have turned $20 and $40 incremental upsells into more than $30,000 of added revenue each of the past three years.

Extended stays are much easier as well. Again, the team can load the primary inventory into Passkey, so guests reserve extra nights directly during the booking process. This simplified process has brought in nearly $200,000 in revenue from shoulder nights.

 

What's Next

Teutsch is an active partner of Cvent, always looking for better ways to utilize Passkey’s features and reports — and making much-valued suggestions for improvements. “I can’t imagine doing this job without Passkey,” she says. With it, though, the Scottsdale Marriott at McDowell Mountains continues to work toward increasing its upsell revenue and managing group bookings as efficiently as possible.