We stayed at the Courtyard Ocean City, Md. 2 years ago on a level 5 free stay cert. We had a very bad experience but, as always, the manager made it "right" and we decided to NOT make it the 1st Marriott brand to never visit again. I checked the website several months ago, looking for a room for this past weekend airshow, and noticed Marriott raised the rating to a level 7. Come on. Really? There is no way this Courtyard will ever compare to even some of the level 5's at the Florida beachs, let alone the level 6's like Marco Island or Harbor beach in Lauderdale! I stay exclusively at Marriott or Marriot brand hotels always and other than NYC, I have never seen a misrepressented rating such as this one.I understand the demand for Ocean City in the summer months, but to maintain the level rating in the off season is a joke. Do others feel the same as I do?
I understand your disappointment with this rating and the comparison to hotels in FL that are certainly better in appearance, amenities and location. There was a lot of discussion about new categories assigned to a number of properties. But, as we found this year when the 'new' category ratings were done, the category a hotel is assigned is driven by the number of 'free' stays that a location has during the course of the year. It would be a natural assumption to think that hotel category assignment would be governed by the 'grandeur' of the property, but, in the case of Marriott, it is the 'freebies' used at the hotel that is the main driver of the rating.
The fact that they do not lower the rating during the off season is probably a function of the work requirement to do this as many more properties would probably merit the same 'off season' downgrade. Would be nice if they did do that though........
I hear what you are saying, but that sort of makes little or no sense to me from a business / profit standpoint. The only way I could understand that would be for a case such as myself. I am sure there are many many other northeasters like myself that have several free nite certs, and OC, being a primo beach location for the Pa/Md/Va area, would be swamped with non revenue vacationers. I know I would use the 4 free stay certs here if it were still a level 5. But Marriott could exercise blackout dates for the entire summer, in which case I could use my certs for Sept and Oct. OC in the "off off" season is deserted and level 5 cert holders might be enticed for a winter getaway if it were not for the level 7 rating. Like I said in my previous post, I have never ran across a misrepresentation such as this with the only exception of NYC. Anyways, it is another quirky business decision from Marriott. I have been seriously considering deleting my entire Marriott visa personnel and business cards and "setting up shop" with Hilton. I am a owner of HGVC and could take advantage of that. Maybe nows the time to switch.
tef, as usual, hit the nail on the head - Marriott explained to us that ratings were determined by points usage. mgeez, I and several other east coasters agree with you, that courtyard is nowhere near a cat. 7 in terms of services, even location. So, it would seem to predict that the points redemption at 35k a night vs. 25k (plus no certificates go to 7) would reduce the usage and therefore according to the Marriott scale, lower the category next year. We'll see.
Category changes are made "every year based on average daily rate and the member uptake of redemptions in those properties. That’s what drives the formulas on our side to determine what the category level should be."
So sounds like Marriott members drive these changes. Everyone just stop staying there!
I am quoting Thom Kozik above.
Makes you wonder, doesn't it?
I stayed at this property in November 2014. I was able to snag a room for just over $100 with a balcony overlooking the ocean. Granted, hardly anything else in town was open, but I had a nice stay.
I've been to quite a few category 7 and 8 properties. To date, this is the only cat 9 I've tried. While it compares favorably to plenty of hotels in the category 4 and 5 range, most category 6 and above properties are far nicer. I'll admit the place does have a nice restaurant (The Captain's Table). Sure beats the Bistro.
Makes you wonder how many redemptions this property gets each year. I'm guessing not too many, even during peak season.
As someone who is a participant in a program where the owner (Marriott) can cancel the entire program anytime they want, I certainly don't question their ability to assign values however they want to whatever they want. What irritates me is when they feed me lines as if they think I'm wearing my 'stupid clothes'.
The beauty for Marriott of a forum like Insiders, is that membership turns over every few years, so new members come along and believe the baloney they tell us. What Big Thom said about certificates is true, but it's also a bunch of bunk as long as we don't know (like Plat Premier) how the criteria are used to determine increases in categories. The implication is that Categories only go up when there is (heavy) redemption - what's not stated is how much redemption sets off the alarm. One year we had 28 pages of increases and 3 pages of decreases. We also have had brand new hotels go up one month after opening, and we've had 3's jump to 7's in two increases. As far as the OC CY is concerned, it certainly isn't their average rate (as Big Thom mentioned) since like bejacob noted, rooms can often be snagged as late as April for less than three figures a night and during their peak season they still don't approach the price of a European Cat. 9. But like I said, it's Marriott's world and we just stay in it, so no big whoop, just don't drink the Kool Aid or you'll get caught off guard when they change the rules (like MegaBonus registration or 135k for $1000 gift card quiet cancellation).
As tker from Baltimore (btw, thanks for the tips on Punta Islita - had a great stay, saw the macaws and the growler monkeys) and myself from DC can tell you, the OC CY ain't no Cat. 9 in luxury, but oh well, we don't write the rules (try the Res Inn in Bethany, much nicer with breakfast included).
Still my all time favorite "hey if you believe this, you'll love our Ask Arne and win points" where Marriott (not Nathalie) promoted it for weeks, got over 150 worthwhile topics and finally, as if forced to, only answered one question, which many of us shareholders already knew the answer, "How do you pick your locations?" and then promptly killed the concept - https://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/blogs/exclusive-news/2013/09/24/follow-arne-sorensen-s-insights-and-perspective--receive-1000-points-if-he-addresses-your-topic
ha ha ha. From Camelback Mountain, your traveling rabble rouser, erc.
To be fair, if you want to book 5 nights at this location from mid-June to Labor Day in 2017, it will cost with taxes about $2,700. So a redemption stay at 180,000 points for the peak period is a pretty good deal at 1.5 cents per point.
I stayed here two Novembers ago and I think paid under $100 a night for Ocean View rooms and felt that was a great deal. So, cash at non-peak times, points at peak times - like virtually every other location.
Oh heck oz, if you're going to be fair, you're going to take all the fun out of me barking at the multi-billion dollar corporation; but you're right, OC CY is a good summer point value, given what they can get for cash.
My beef was that given the years of examples of increases, I don't believe that Categories are based heavily/mostly on redemption, but rather demand oriented pricing, as in what they can get for it (which as I say, more power to them).
Now explain to me why Marriott sometimes has two sets of AAA advanced pay rates, and senior rates and AAA rates higher than (on an apples to apples, exact same room basis), the standard rate.... that's only a rhetorical question; but if you have an answer, send it to Marriott, because they haven't been able to answer in the four years I've asked them (the answer; because people will sometimes pay it).
I don't know why this forum features so many complaints about increases in the number of points that it costs to stay in a hotel while ignoring increases in the number of dollars that it costs to stay in the same hotels.
In both cases we are dealing with inflation. What we should concern ourselves with is the following question: How many nights must one stay in a typical Marriott property in order to get a free night? If that number is increasing, then the program is losing value. I have not done the math though it seems that there has not been an increase in this number.