The moment you walk in the doors at the JW Marriott on Adams you notice something different. You are greeted not by someone at the reception desk way at the back of the lobby but by the smiling face of a happy associate posted near the door. One who is standing tall, shoulders back, poised stance and who looks like he or she has been waiting just for you. Your experience at the hotel has just been elevated. This is no coincidence. JW Marriott has once again partnered with Chicago’s world-famous Joffrey Ballet on a program called Poise and Grace.
The two organizations have partnered several times since the Marriott property’s opening four years ago. This latest joint venture, however, is revolutionary in thinking. Teaching associates (as all Marriott employees are referred to) to interact with customers with practiced poise and posture changes the type of experience the customer has. The program began at the JW Marriott property on Adams but will be rolled out to all the JW Marriott properties globally and all associates from management to housekeeping will participate.
Working in a hotel and being a ballet dancer are “very similar,” said Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director Ashley Wheater. “We didn’t want to teach the JW Marriott ways to be ballet dancers, but I think there are great disciplines that come out of there, and if we can apply them, it then just becomes part of your discipline in the workplace and makes it a lot more enjoyable,” Wheater said. From posture to gestures to eye contact, this will be a more “conscious form of service,” he said.
From a hotel brand that presents an “approachable luxury” (said Steve Conklin, Director of Sales and Marketing of the JW Marriott Chicago) comes a whole new way to approach customer service, one that certainly feels like it has hit the mark.