What if there were no loyalty program at Marriott? What if Marriott simply extended its best and most welcoming hospitality to you as a guest? What if there was no race for points or status? What if the savings from not having the programs would actually result in lower rates for all?
Assuming other hotels kept their loyalty programs, would you still choose Marriott or would you not?
If all lodging companies dropped out, what would you do?
I am asking this in an unscientific survey to see what part of loyalty to Marriott hinges on the extras that come with Marriott Rewards and what part of your choice hinges on the reliability, the reputation and the quality of the Marriott brandwide?
I would most likely choose Marriott because I know what to expect. But each of us has different views. I would love to hear yours.
I would still stay a good portion of my trips at a Marriott, only because I'm familiar with a lot of the properties and people at those properties - a benefit of being loyal without a rewards program. However, I would be more selective based on each city or locale in my travels. I would shop more, look for advice on boutique properties, and would not go out of my way to stay at a Marriott brand. I would say that I am programmed to maximize three different aspects of my lodging experience: Comfort, Point-earning, and Experience (including amenities). Because I stay at a hotel 100+ nights per year for business, I can maximize points earned to use them for personal and family vacations for which I would either have to pay or not go. Using points from rewards programs is a rebate for having to be away from home and using it on family. Not having a rewards program would either limit these personal activities and probably drive me to a program that will reward my family for being on the road so much.
I chose to stay at certain Marriotts even before I was a Rewards member. I agree that it helps my decision where to stay by knowing what to expect. As for having lower rates if there were no loyalty programs at all, in today's corporate bottom-line way of thinking I personally think no brand would never adjust their rates downward. I would still choose Marriott for most travel if there was a indeed a Marriott property where I'm visiting because I'm happy with the quality of serivce I receive. Interesting questions, anadyr!
This is an interesting question which for now, must be answered hypothetically since there are Loyalty Programs in which we all participate. That said, my best guess is that I would become a free agent and stay at the property that best fits my needs at the time. Of course, the decision would be based on Location/price-value/experience with the company as well as the property itself/and finally, recommendations. I do not think I would blindly remain Loyal to a company that chose to eliminate their Loyalty to me. So, if Marriott ceases their program but others did not, I would have to weigh the price/value equation to see if the absence of a program meant better pricing for example, to decide if Marriott could earn my business despite the lack of the program. My guess is that it would not.
However, I would stress the Hypothetical nature of the question and would feel with great confidence that no one company will make this decision, lest they become uncompetitive, and I just cannot see a collusion amongst the industry to collectively cease the Loyalty Programs. They may very well follow each other through ups and downs in the program, but these programs are here to stay.
Hi Shoeman and others,
I think I have been becoming a free agent for the past year or so. Some of it started when I was having to stay at places where there are no Marriotts (Andalusia, most of France outside of Paris, countryside Italy, and the Greek islands). That's when I got a taste of the good life that could be had (often quite inexpensively relative to what I would have expected and what I got) by untying myself from my loyalty chains. My business has not gone to any significant extent to any other loyalty program (except maybe BW, because they have tons of properties in France and Italy and to a lesser degree Accor, which granted me highest level status for two years) but to the boutique and independent hotels. (I actually don't know the difference, but since people talk about boutique hotels, I'm using the word.)
There are two conditions under which I will always or mostly always stay at Marriotts: 1) if it's the Ghent Ledra, one of my two favorite Marriotts in the world -- and there could be no place better in Ghent in my view. Trouble is I don't expect to be going there again much. With the Athens Ledra I will almost certainly stay there each time, because of their rates and their exemplary treatment of customers (and the CL open 24/7 with breakfasts and what amounts to dinner and all kinds of extra perks) -- though a tiny part of me, having now experienced staying in a different part of Venice, wonders if I won't try closer to the Acropolis some time, since I expect to go back to Greece frequently. 2) If I'm going to a country where I don't know the language and have never been there before. Then a Marriott (or a Hilton or Starwoods or whatever) can be an oasis as you're starting to learn about the country. That's why I first stayed at the Renaissance Polat in Istanbul (a wonderful hotel on the Sea of Marmara) but the second time stayed at a BW Premier downtown in the oldest part of the city.
So I guess I have already cut the cord, so to speak, within those limits. I feel fairly certain since I'm not going to give up 40,000 pts to maintain status that I will become one of the lower tiers again, so I am just going to see where these new adventures take me. But Athens and Ghent -- and I should add the downtown Brussels Marriott, because they have ALWAYS given me an upgrade every time I've stayed -- have my loyalty. The others will need to earn it back, since staying in a 15th C. palazzo in Venice on the Grand Canal was an unbeatable experience. I wonder how many of those I've lost in my pursuit of points.
Thanks all for the insightful answers, much appreciated. It is a hypothetical for sure, but one to consider as being remotely possible. Think of the analog: making loyalty programs so feeble that we stay with them out of habit, lack of enthusiasm, or reckless faith that they will get better. Or all of the above.