This week, Arne Sorenson, President and CEO of Marriott International, sent out a comprehensive email that I thought was worthy of sharing and learning from. He is someone that I, and many CEOs look up to for his business sense, leadership style and community involvement. This email exemplifies how we all should strive to lead, in both good times and challenging times.
Here are five leadership best practices that I see reflected in Arne’s email:
1) Communicate regularly with your constituents
Arne’s email begins, “It’s been three weeks since I last communicated with you about the dramatic impact of COVID-19 on our business. Sadly, since that time, we’ve all borne witness to how this insidious virus is impacting our families, our communities and our very way of life.”
Too often, hotels shy away from engaging with guests because they worry they’re sending too many emails. The fact is that guests want to hear from you when you have information that is helpful and timely. They do business with you because they like your brand. If your emails are segmented, personalized and on-message, they will be well-received.
2) Show empathy and compassion
Arne says, “What we’re facing is daunting, but I am heartened by the moments of triumph in everyday acts of courage, humanity and love.”
Whether you’re the CEO or a front-line worker, this pandemic affects all of us. What’s important to remember in your communication is that everyone is going through their own personal battle and compassion matters.
3) Stay positive and encouraging
Even in the hardest times, we have to remember that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Arne says, “Although these are trying times for us all, I remain optimistic that our world will thrive once again.”
4) Continue to operate according to your values
It’s clear that Arne operates with Marriott’s core values in mind. In the email, he’s exhibiting Marriott’s core value of serving our world: Marriott strives to be a force of good.
In the email, Arne describes how Marriott is aiding in the fight against the pandemic. He says, “As we all watch the news unfold about this unprecedented event, it’s clear that there is a need to assist and bolster healthcare workers and community caregivers who are on the frontlines working to contain this disease.” He then goes on to describe a program to provide $10 million worth of hotel stays for healthcare professionals and a program to offer discounts for healthcare workers helping in the community.
5) Listen to feedback and adapt policies as needed
Arne says, “We remain committed to ensuring our customers experience flexibility during these challenging times, so we have further extended our cancellation policy and I wanted to give you an update on those changes…. Please continue to visit our website for the most up-to-date information.”
Through this email, Arne shows that he’s an incredible leader, not just for his employees and guests, but also the community at large. He has shown that his business can quickly adapt, as needed, to support the changing times. I, and everyone at Revinate, look forward to the day when healthcare workers can check out of Marriotts, and all hotels, and travelers can check in.
To see other examples of COVID-19 emails and campaigns we love, visit our resources page.