ON24 Solution: ON24 Virtual Environment
Needing a more efficient way to deliver training to hotel managers, Marriott worked with ON24 to create a virtual learning environment that cost-effectively provided training and resources to thousands of hotel managers spread across the globe.
Delivering comprehensive training to a geographically dispersed employee base
Marriott International is an 85-year-old worldwide operator and franchisor of hotels and other lodging facilities. It includes more than 3,700 hotels managed and franchised globally in 73 countries and has 15 distinct brands and approximately 300,000 associates.
Marriott created the “Breakthrough Leadership Program” with the goal of providing training to 733 managed hotels in 23 countries in the Americas. The program provided a consistent set of effective leadership behaviors around areas such as guest satisfaction and helping to boost the performance of managers throughout hundreds of hotels. Participants needed to complete the training in order to become certified.
The program was initially delivered entirely through live, location-based instruction. Trainers were flown into different markets, and managers of hotels were brought together to engage in the training. The program ran into challenges related to executing the training in secondary and tertiary markets, which often meant that associates had to fly or drive for hours in order to participate. It became difficult logistically and very costly. As a result, Marriott’s leaders looked for more efficient ways of implementing the program.
In response, Marriott searched for a platform that had all of the functionality needed to deliver a comprehensive virtual distance learning solution. Eventually, it chose ON24 to build a customized virtual learning environment that could be easily accessed by all Marriott managers. Participants could engage in real-time learning, including live webcasts and question-and-answer periods; they could also watch on-demand recordings after the fact. In other words, the virtual environment allowed for both synchronous and asynchronous learning.
The Marriott “Breakthrough Leadership Program” virtual learning environment also provided a networking lounge where managers could interact directly with each other and high-level executives through scheduled chats, one-to-one interaction, and the exchange of e-cards. Each manager was also provided with a virtual briefcase to which they could download training materials and resources directly from the environment.
Cost-effective training, increased productivity
In the end, according to Marriott’s vice president of talent acquisition, the leadership program provided training that affected hundreds of hotels in many different countries and yet was accomplished in 18 months. Marriott was able to certify more than 5,000 managers in a short period of time, allowing them to train others in their hotels. It also hosted overview and “big picture” training for approximately another 10,000 managers via the virtual platform.
Without the program, Marriott reports that it would have incurred much more expense and travel, both for participants and facilitators; it could not have accomplished the task nearly as quickly and effectively without the virtual approach.
Aside from cost savings, however, Marriott also benefited from a greater ability to engage managers in an experience that was “cool and cutting edge.” As a result, the virtual learning environment was able to dramatically boost productivity.
Although the initial phase of the “Breakthrough Leadership Program” was a one-time event, the virtual learning environment will be used in the future to host “virtual summits”. These summits will continue to provide training as well as a common sense of purpose among a widely dispersed group of employees. Marriott plans to use their virtual learning environment not just as a learning tool, but as a culture-building opportunity