With my belief that Marriott is feeling their financial performance oats and thus making it more and more challenging to find significant deals or rewards perks, this show may be helpful in providing us with some insight into the corporation's thinking. The program shows the impressive worldwide operations of this highly successful firm, their effective Asian development strategy, and of great interest to me, "will explore the strange science of hotel pricing and explain why guests can pay wildly different prices for comparable rooms".
Pricing has become more segmented each year. Yesterday we discussed the Residence Inn Times Square offering prices for the exact same room ranging from the $269 AAA "Special" rate, $179 Standard, $152 Rewards Offer, and a before the scheduled time period, Seasonal Awards points discount; so it can be the wild west out there when it comes to pricing - buyer beware. Hopefully the show will better equip us as Insiders in helping each other maximize our travel dollars.
I have only used hotwire for car rental.
The rates were quite good, but the car companies will not honor your privileges of upgrades or time extensions.
So now when I see an attractive hotwire price, I check vendor websites 1st to see if I can get it directly from the vendor and preserve my loyalty status options.
Not certain how the hotel end works as I have yet to find a better rate on hotwire than I find through marriott checking all my rate options
Watching Fast Money on CNBC I just saw an ad for the upcoming Wednesday night profile on Marriott. The ad showed host Scott Wapner asking a Marriott executive "when was the best time to book to get the best rate?". After the mathematical gymnastics I just had looking at the rates for the Marriott Custom House in Boston for the January 12-14 weekend, I'm going to need all the tips possible (especially after Choice CEO Steve Joyce earlier in the morning was touting how 2013 would be a great year for hoteliers due to the lack of property growth and the growing demand for rooms).
Here's some of the fun that awaited me on the marriott.com pricing matrix for the Boston Marriott's Custom House -1 BR villa;
AAA "Special" Rate - $224 - In what world is this 'special', when the standard (non-prepaid,for the same room/terms) is $183? Why is this price even listed, if not only to catch the unsuspecting traveler at an inflated price? AAA doesn't have a points program, so even the crazy point collectors among us, would not benefit by paying this much. Although, this clearly doesn't qualify for the look no further guarantee, it certainly points out that when pricing with Marriott, you'd better always look further. I've got no beef with discovering Priceline, hotel.com, or other sites beat Marriott,(that's not apple to apples) but at Marriott.com I was hoping for more consistent integrity in their pricing.
Standard Rate - $183 - Winter Break Offer 20% off Leisure (compare to the Special AAA price)
Leisure Rate - $219 - which leads one to ask what economist priced the "20%" off Standard Rate (compare to Special AAA price)
Ending on a happy note - what actually drew me to the site;
Marriott Rewards (Elite) Offer - $164 - No complaint here, a good deal and the infamous "from" price - actually located (after several date searches, but that's fair enough; we must earn our deals). Rewards (Member) price was $175.
Don't even get me started on the Renaissance Boston Waterfront where the Marriott Rewards Offer is $144 (pre-paid) and the Standard rate for the same 325 sq. ft. room is $139 (pre-paid), ouch, lucky us for being Rewards members. I've learned not to confuse 'Offer' with 'Deal'.
Ok, that's my last pricing integrity complaint - until my next one, apologizing to Insiders in advance
erc, Please don't apologize. I like seeing what you and others turn up.
Regarding that NFL package deal I "bought" at the Tallahassee, FL CY; it has been a headache, to say the least.
First of all, the $50 bonus and 15% NFL merchandise coupon are supposed to be given to you at the desk when you arrive. They had been locked up for the weekend. (Must not trust the weekend staff, it would seem to us.) The customer service guy at the property didn't know anything about it. I called the Marriott Elite line and they called me back with the info that it would be mailed to us on Monday.
This is Thursday and we still didn't get it, and with reservations coming up this weekend in Cola., SC for 2 days including a Friday or Saturday, I was really wanting to use it then since it would net $27 off the stay. That means it wasn't mailed on Monday, at least.
I called ME again, 3 times. You have to ask for customer service to handle this one. The reservationists on the first 2 calls put me on hold for more than 10 minutes and also got so confused, one (I think it was the 2nd one who honed in on the fact that we stay at RI) called the RI we stay at and asked to speak to the mgr. here, then told me the mgr. was in a meeting and would call me. I got a call, and thinking that it was CY Tallahassee, told them they were supposed to have mailed it Monday and then found out it was an in-house call. :-) She was glad she had called me so she didn't have to burden the GM with the problem after all.
CS got in touch with CY Tallahassee, and she was told he'd FedEx it to the CY in Cola., SC. Then he sent me an e-mail to call him or e-mail him as to where to send the package. Come to think of it, I'd better call him to make sure.
Called, and the clerk told me that he's FedExing it now. I hope that where he's gone to be leaving for the day.
It should certainly lead to some lively discussion. CNBC is generally pretty balanced when it comes to portraying corporations. The difficulty Marriott may face is; what pleases me (and a huge segment of CNBC's audience) as a shareholder, may rub me the wrong way as a Platinum. Marriott, often by being so effective in the revpar and margin management, sometimes can take what might appear to us loyalists to be short term strategies that may prove counterproductive in the intermediate term, but so far, they're rolling along financially (can we say Asia, Asia, Asia?).
No problem, lone6star. We need as many Insiders as possible helping us find deals. Marriott continues to flex their market share muscles. We're playing in the 'bigs' when it comes to pricing and Marriott is one of the best at revenue optimization - a formidable opponent, who, as a shareholder, I greatly respect for their ability to increase earnings (unfortunately, I'm also a customer).
Wednesday night (tomorrow). 9:00pm and repeated at midnight - Eastern Time.
If you watch it at midnight; at 12 on 12/12/12 you'll get 400 points as a Platinum check in bonus next year at US and Canadian Courtyards, a 200 point Platinum bonus increase from current policy. So if you stay 350 times with this enhanced benefit, you will be able to make up the increase from the soon to expire 135,000 points for a $1,000 gift cheque to the new 205,000 points for a $1,000 gift card.
iestrikesback as much as I enjoy your west coast write ups (what's the scoop on the Capitola Fairfield - it looks pretty neat), sadly, I don't share your optimistic confidence that "they will find an acceptable replacement" (bogo, weekend breakfast traded for cash/points program). I envy your gov't rate; staying at a Ritz what it costs me at a SpringHill, you lucky dog, you.
The good news, Marriotts are still great places to stay and they're everywhere I want to be (love those Canadian props).
Thanks for nice words about my write-ups, erc! As far as an "acceptable replacement" for the Gift Cheques, I'm generally an optimist, so all I can do is hope for the best! No scoop on the FI Capitola yet, but it sounds intriguing. Gov't rates are nice, but they can't be combined with points in the new Cash/Points program (neither can AAA rates either, per the fine print), so that was kind of a downer. Next stop - San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina for the Holiday Bowl! Best rate so far is AAA - $204/night + free parking! I'm checking every day for gov't rates or other specials, but no luck so far!
I watched it. I found it interesting. From it, which I had known, Marriott does not own it's hotels. It manages them and some use the name and manage them themselves. This probably accounts for the differences in amenities and treatment. Marriott must set a minimum standard and it is up to the owners if they want to offer more to lure us to stay at their hotel.
I also think it lends some insight to lose of amenities and treatment at some properties, as their are apparently many lawsuits over 'unexpected' expensives per the franchisees.
Intereesting that all these folks are willing to put in big bucks to buy or build properties with Marriott managing them cause they want a piece of a market leader's business, but are unwilling to honor customer obligations that made them a market leader cause they want to nickel and dime customers.
In the segment it said they would never turn away a platinum, but I certain got a call the day of canceling my reservation, and I am lifetime platinum.
As to the show on CNBC, I wasn't necessarily surprised nor particularly informed by anything they reported. Most of it is common knowledge or common sense.
The one thing that did stand out to me was that Mr Sorenson, for whatever reason, either didn't know how many hotels Marriott actually owns, or is closely guarding that info. His response was something to the effect, oh it's 5 or 10. Maybe he's at such a position that he doesn't trouble himself with such minor details.
Last...the subject of how many hotels Marriott owns, manages, and franchises came up on Insiders 2 or 3 years ago, maybe longer. I found that info then on the Marriott homepage at the bottom under the Marriott profile. The number owned then was substantially more than 5 or 10, but I can't find that info there now. So maybe it is a trade secret.
Anyway, I'm still loyal to Marriott
I haven't any idea of when you might see it over there. I do know that the CNBC site says it will also air on:
Thursday, December 13th 8p ET and Sunday, December 16th 9p ET
So you might look around their website and see if you can find anything out. I looked under the TV Europe briefly, but didn't see it scheduled to show in Europe at all. NathalieF Andy, do you think there's any possibility of getting Marriott to approve posting a video link here, once it has finished airing on TV?
Typing this from a pleasant enough SpringHill in Tempe, Az (where of all things, we just had a gully washer), I share your view that not much new was disclosed and had a similar, somewhat puzzled feeling about the answer of how many properties were owned by Marriott. This coming from an organization that by its own recognition had every price of every competitor, every day and from the feel of it, had enough info about all of us that would make some of the three lettered organizations here around town (DC) proud. It's the same feeling I get occasionally from some (not all of course) Marriott answers in this forum - why not just from the get go, say, "it's proprietary that we'd prefer to keep under wraps" or something to that effect. Perhaps it comes from living too long Inside the Beltway.
I too, love me some Marriott. I'm just hoping we don't go down the path of another beloved Washington institution, the Redskins, where by attempting to squeeze every last penny out of the value of the franchise (I'm all for optimizing value of assets), some hard feelings (threatening to sue longtime season ticket holders my mother's age, selling unannounced obstructed view seats, etc etc) were created and festered until the arrival of RG III.
Ok, off to the Grand Canyon, so no doubt Andy, Michellel, JohnL and the rest of the gang will have a joyous, erc-free holiday
ERC, those who missed it can view it online here: Watch CNBC Originals | Hotel: Behind Closed Doors at Marriott online | Free | Hulu
And here: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100230965
I enjoyed the show. It confirmed what I already knew, that they appreciate and respect their elite clientele, but they are a business first and foremost. The comment about them never turning away a Platinum member I'm sure is always true, until it isn't- there will be times where they just can't help a guest out with what they are demanding. I have picked up a tone from some MRI folks here that some of us can be very demanding, expecting a hotel employee to move mountains because of one's status. I've seen it myself during my stays. As a not-so-demanding guest though, not being Platinum, I sometimes feel bad for the clerk when they encounter overly-demanding guests. I know Marriott is sincere in their desire to do whatever they can, but sometimes they just can't.