Maybe it is only me but it seems as if Marriott Rewards is mired in neutral: No structural changes to the program that we can see as beneficial to the membership--which I would guess is nearing 40 million as I write this. The 2008 changes, establishing a fifth night free for four points nights and rollover nights were big news. Now there is a temporary elimination (we hope) of BOGOs, points devaluation cause by category shifts, continued lack of distinction between Platinum and Platinum Premier, and other subtle changes.
When I view the program I guess I am comfortable with the way it works, but uncomfortable with the benefits, many of which have remained the same or actually declined in value. I notice that the treatment at hotels (in my experience) is virtually the same--which is good, but not exceptional. Platinum recognition is hanging in there at about 50%, for example. Room upgrades at a lower rate. The economy is improving in terms of revenue per room and that pushes the ability to be more generous in the opposite direction, which is too bad.
So where am I wrong? Is this just one person's opinion? Do you agree or disagree?
Happy May Day as well.
I pretty much agree with your assessments. The 2008 changes to include the "stay 4 get 5" were downgrades for me. The points needed for many of my "dream trips" went up significantly when these changes were instituted.
The number one thing I would like is for an attitude change at "floor level". Marriott does so many things right. They deserve the lofty praise they have garnered over the years. They do fall short on making the client CONSISTENTLY feel like a welcomed guest. The snafu's that occur with the hairy eyeball at check in can ruin a stay. The clumsy, awkward handling to process a Gift Card or Marriott Cheque at point of service level is inexcusable. The inconsistent recognition of MR Elite members is poor business..mainly because it's misses a great opportunity to solidify that loyalty that is so hard to develop. Everyone appreciates a warm greeting and recognition. It simply says "We acknowledge you have choices and truly appreciate that you've chosen us again and again".
I would if I ran the world, have a full stop for all Marriott associates, a time when they would go back to what made them what they are today--excellent service, great quality and a fair price. This would certainly impress the new associates and might engage the older ones.
How many like this idea?
you, wrong??? never. However, I have a different opinion (surprise). After having been warned by someone that Marriott could end the program at any moment, I am just tickled pink it is still standing. Seriously, inflation is hurting us all and reduced value is the norm. Heck, even the cereal manufacturers have figured out how to squeeze us by making the packages smaller. Even at a slightly reduced value, I, for one, appreciate the Marriott Rewards program, and would be pleased with even some minor tweaking of the program. No, I do not get the upgrades that many on this site profess to get, and I don't understand why that is. Al suggests that he gets upgraded almost all the time. Why him and not me???? Who knows? What I do know is that Hotel companies are like airlines, almost everyone thinks the grass is greener on the other side. Most often it isn't. I do know that, as a group, we have identified far too many benefit enhancements for Marriott to seriously consider. In fact, they probably are at their witts end wondering how to prioritize our wish list and figure which ones would likely increase revenue for them.
Bottom line, I like Marriottt. And most of the time, I find that my experience per stay is positive. I don't see any deterioration in the Marriott experience. I can live with that.
SS - as is yours. I guess I am just weary of all the whining (not necessarily from you). I feel as if we, as a collective group are like the 'occupy' movement. There are some real concerns in there, but they get lost with all the excess clutter.... And at the end of the day, nothing changes.
Right on SS, but here's the twist that I, as a shareholder for several decades and loyal customer, am observing; we (the frequent customer) may no longer be the core focus of their strategic efforts.
One could argue (as I'm certain some do on Fernwood Rd - I go back to River) that as Marriott hits their 12 month high on stock price and garners additional Wall St. support for their efforts, that they are doing just fine and perhaps there is more value in entering Macau and continuing their superb off balance sheet financing than 'catering' to a group of 'whining' elites. Whether or not, that's why this forum is so valuable to me, hearing from travel pros of the best deals, best techniques, and trip enhancers and experiences - consumer protect thyself and this forum is terrific towards that aim (like Jasper's great post of United and the January post about buying gift cards).
As Shoeman stated, some real concerns (BOGO, CL on weekends, upgrades on low occupancy properties, even wifi etc) have been concisely and temperately presented without much of an impact, so perhaps we are trying too hard to view the situation through the Marriott of old. I happen to agree with those that think this apparent lapse of customer service focus will eventually be harmful, but in the interim, I remain vigilant for maxing out my travel experience and greatly appreciate this forum - BTW, Renaissance in Vegas in November, buy two nights get third free - Book 'em Danno, pretty sweet!
Just as Marriott had zip code issues (remember the kerfuffle of DC versus Bethesda?) there have been issues since my affiliation (only as a customer and never an employee) with them, I long for a simpler and some might say, kinder Marriott, where brand standard was not the driving force, where being generous to all guests the norm, and the company stood for fine service. In fact, a GM once me that the Marriott motto in the 80s was "no guest leaves unsatisfied!) ala Deming.and company. Let's try to get back to that era. We are in fact the reason that Marriott does as well as it does, and we have been given the privilege of peeking inside the inner workings of MR with Insiders--for that I am grateful. But as I am sure you all know, the ability to know brings with it the ability to complain and suggest in these kinds of fora. First Amendment and all that. So be it.
My concern is that, knowing as much as we know, we are seeing a decline in what we can expect, and that is too bad. Off my soapbox now.