I have spoken with many MRIs on and off the site, and we are talking about what loyalty means and how it needs to be a two-way street. Too many of us feel we have given loyalty to Marriott and in return we have lost upgrades, CL privileges, weekend breakfasts, and most recently more points to stay at increasingly-difficult-to-stay-at properties that are now Category 9. Polls, such as those conducted by Jasper100, have ignited a huge number of responses but no result. To me, that says it all. They don't care what we think or need.
Of course some hotel chains like Hilton and others have also made life more difficult for its most frequent customers, but while I'm not a fan of Hilton, it counts rewards stays as stays and its threshold is lower for elite levels.
I am only one person, but when offered the possibility of using 40,000 pts (1 Cat 8 hotel night) to maintain my Platinum status, I said an outright no. Within a few days I got my Gold card in the mail, though it told me I could still maintain my status by sacrificing those points. Not gonna happen.
I have seen too many MR Insiders devalued, treated poorly, (sometimes possibly) censored, and have most of all seen the value of my loyalty be ever more devalued as Marriott's bottom line seems the only thing they care about. Do we as clients/customers count anymore, even if we spend or stay a lot? I think not.
I will be staying at fewer and fewer Marriott hotels as time goes by since I have gotten great deals from better independent/boutique hotels the past year even as I was devalued as a Marriott customer. And yes, Marriott is right that I did not spend the requisite number of nights but I did spend thousands of dollars because of where I travel.
All I can say is
Listlessly and sadly,
Prof, you hit the nail on the head...You expressed my feelings better than I have been able to. Marriott Insider representatives have been very quiet about the discontent of many of their most loyal customers and understandingly so because they must feel they cannot defend the new Marriott culture effectively. It is amazing how deaf they have become.
My own musings on this forum mirror your own. We all have differing specifics, but end up at the same conclusion: Marriott (corporate) doesn't listen or care about our business, for whatever reason. It could be as simple as the bean counters running the shop since Bill retired, or as conspiratorial as their purposely choosing to eliminate the "grey hairs" from their ranks. Whichever, they are reaping the fruit of their choices for many of us.
As others have asked of me in my post about my choice to move business to alternative providers, I also ask of you to keep us up to date on where you're finding the "love". At the end of the day, it's not how many years we've been chosen to be Platinum Premier (for all that's worth), but who recognizes the value of our business and and where we are treated right. Brand or marque loyalty is as dead to me as my Rewards status is as meaningless to them.
'we are talking about what loyalty means and how it needs to be a two way street.'
Very good point. And as I said in a previous post..........
In looking at the past year I have continued my loyalty to Marriott (93 nights last year and I'm retired so it's all leisure) while they have devalued multiple areas of their loyalty to me. I have always said on this forum that I will remain loyal to Marriott as long as they want me to.
I look at the past year and I have to question whether they want me to continue that loyalty. On review, I think not. Now, I'm not just going to throw out the years of time with them in haste, but I am going to now look at other possibilities for a stay with other chain hotels or individual properties when I travel to an area in the future. My better half has been after me for years to stay at some boutiques and other places (Fairmont and Four Seasons being among them) when we travel but I have always remained loyal to the Marriott brand.
Their continued and consistently bad changes are becoming too much. What do I get now...a free breakfast from Monday to Friday...and everything else is gone or a struggle (real upgrades, etc). I can get breakfast at so many places now I wonder what value it really brings to the table.
So, I'll see what this year brings. I already have 50 nights now with the rollovers and have stays booked to 80 or so in my reservation folder. I'll keep my Plat, but I'll look at every place I have a reservation coming and evaluate other options. I owe it to myself to see if I get a better 'bang' elsewhere and at places I (we) might have wanted to stay during travels in the past.
Who knows what it will bring....but I'll be finding out.
But, that's the point here......I never would have considered those options before this past year of disappointments and devaluations to our status.
All: I really hear you and understand the issues you state. I already have 20 nites this year (no rollover from 2012), given that its only 60 days into 2013, that means 1/3 of my year so far is away from home and family and in a Marriott. I will probably requalify for Plat this year and also make Lifetime Plat (the points arent the issue, its the # of nights). My better half has said the same thing to me, why do we always go to a Marriott, why can't we stay somewhere else, etc. I discussed with her that once I am lifetime Plat, its a new game. I have the Am Ex Plat card, so I can get starwood gold automatically, and can probably do a status match for 2014 into SPG and get to thier highest tier, and then rack up SPG points and not worry about Marriott except as a source of free stays, devalued or not.
If Marriott doesnt listed to us, the heavy spenders, the frequent stayers, then who are they listening to? How are they making intelligent decisons when the voice of the customer says so often - why are your treating us so?
Believe me, I have had this happen with airlines, I used to be a 1K (pre CO merger) with United, and after three years of poor treatment, no upgrades (even for a 1K!), lack of customer service, I stopped flying them 5 years ago, went to AA (where I am now Ex Plat, and who knows what happens with the US Air merger) and have flown me and my family (4 in total) all over the world on my now utilized 3 million points in UA.
I haven't been on a paid UA flight except for the FF awards in a long time. So Marriott - look at your future real hard. Your loyal customers will slowly fade away, those who spend $25K, $50K or more a year at your properties, and we will just live off our points until they are gone, and then what is left, well, I am sure we can all guess the answer.
Happy March to all and lets hope Marriott Brass read what we say and they think long and hard about it.
Well said Stelzer, and UA well I won't go there.
My plan for Marriott is to take a wait and see attitude in 2013 as I pay for a couple of stays and use some points for others.....(wow just got my rollover nights, yawn). I will however; check out others such as SPG to see what status I am able to pull from them. Don't think I'll boycott Marriott completely, just see what else is out there while using up a few million points.
iah and all others - that's a solid response and most likely our most effective overall approach as individuals and as a group. As market traders learn early, "don't fight the Fed" (when the Fed wants the market to move one way, it usually gets its way), we loyalists must realize how difficult it is to 'fight the trend' - higher revpar (revenue per available room), adr (average daily rate) and occupancy has been rising for several quarters now and with the ever so slowly recovering economy and the catching up of room supply development, we have very litttle leverage to barter with - as it's been shown, we're currently not needed (desired, sure; needed, Marriott has so far indicated otherwise).
Taking a page from my home town who's commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Fairfax raid, (tourism dollars - don't you know) we could draw from the Gray Ghost, John Mosby who, by using speed, surprise, and shock, could often upset much larger forces.
Business travelers like iah, jk, and others testing the market for other providers; leisure travelers like myself, checking out new venues like VRBO, airbnb, and yes, even the non-point giving B&Bs. All the while seeking throughout Marriott, the best deals, property stays, and most effective point expenditures with the new cards dealt to us. Each of us sharing back significant discoveries, (and hopefully as Insiders, we do hear of Marriott program changes as they are released) as we continue to focus on maximizing our travel experiences (be it professional or recreational) rather than 'stinging' Marriott.
We've had our good and well deserved vent, it's time to get down to business and play the game the way the hoteliers do, or else we'll be caught off guard again when the next profit maximization tactic drops. This group likes pop songs, how about Won't Get Fooled Again as our theme.
We're here and absolutely listening - even if we sometimes blow it.
one of michellel's earlier comments:
True - sometimes we (Rewards / Marriott International / individual hotels) shine and sometimes we totally blow it. If we must - another time - illuminate the total failure to replace BOGOs....ok. that's fair. We need to take the heat. Change does not come quickly to any big company - our competitors included. Oftentimes, the changes that are announced or show up on property, have been many moons in the making. So - YES - we do listen to you, but some of the things you say need to change can take longer than "a yea"r to bring to market. And - holy cow...when we do make a change we think will be so great, but turns out to be a stinker - well, it's like giving an appliance to someone on their birthday - the best of intentions but totally wrong on so many levels. One thing is certain, there will be changes this year just like there are every year. Some you'll love and some you'll hate (nope, NOT talkin'...).
No whining here, just stubborn truth. No excuses either...gawd knows, if there was a way to speed things up, we would be on it lickety split!
I realize you're looking for more concrete examples of change based upon Insiders feedback, but please trust me when I say we are advocating on your behalf each and every day. Your input does make a difference and is seen by senior leadership. We recognize the sentiment towards upgrades, CL access and weekend breakfast and because you are our most engage and loyal members, we promise you will always be the first to know of any changes.
With the exception perhaps of "your input does make a difference", I'm willing to stipulate that all of the above is true.
1) You're not the problem - I do though, appreciate and respect your efforts
2) Please continue your excellent recent momentum of the statement regarding us being the first to know of any changes
3) Be sure to highlight those "some you'll love" changes. Just so I can see that we are coming from similar perspectives - hopefully Courtyard check-in bonus of 200 points and Cash + Points don't fall into that category, but if they do, it will give me a better feel for the future.
Like others, I appreciate your efforts and no disrespect to you and what you do.
I am in a service business, and the voice of the customer counts for a whole lot around my company (Promotoer score, brand health Index, etc.) We do client surveys and if there are detractors (read negative comments), we do personal follow up, seek to address core concerns, in short, a detractor can hurt business not just thru own action but word has a way of getting around - ya know what I mean?
The people on this board are the most loyal, caring, dedciated members of a frequent stay program. Go check out flyertalk.com if you want the real vitrol.
I think what Profchiara stared with is what we all feel - when loyalty is not respected, when we get devlaution ,loss of Plat e certs for $1K at a lower level of points (the reason, "the vendor discontinued" really???? - this is the Marriott program, print your own certs, tell your hotels to honor them, the reason was so weak, it ranks up there with the check is in the mail on the believeability scale), when there is no gold/plat Bfast on weekend in USA, when the FD clucks dont recognize Plat or Premier Plat or Lifetime Plat (or gold, or silver), then its becoming more clear that the two way street is heavily tilted against Marriott loyalists.
Please give us some good news, tell us what we might get back, what enhancements might be coming, give us some hope. Otherwise, the attrition curve will kick in and then, like UA did to me, Marriott will call or email one day saying, come back, we really want your business, but at that point, it's too late. Buisness has to be earned every day, loyalty built in every way, and rewards given to recognize those who spend to give you revenue. It just seems like the equation is not working, and all we hear is the drumbeat of take away, take away, take away.
I take Michelle and Andy at their word that they are repeating our views to the people in corporate. I think, however, that Marriott has made one of the greatest mistakes at that level since loyalty programs were created. The airlines (at least the one I fly) are tweaking things in ways that I think are either generally fair or actually benefit the most loyal customers (Delta will have done that by 2014 from how I read it). What I think Marriott is doing is thinking short-term from a business model. How can they accentuate their profits even more? Simple -- devalue rewards, make it costlier to stay, take away benefits like CLs and breakfast, and create a new and higher category. I know many on the site either like or dislike Hilton, but it's always been easier to make highest status (by about 15 nights if I recollect) and you get credit for rewards stays, which Marriott has never done.
I don't know who the collective honchos are at Marriott now, but I think as Californian, Jerry and others have said, they are not showing vision. Maybe they're all planning to retire in a year or so and collect a huge reward and don't care about the brand. I don't know. What I do know is that there has been extreme alienation expressed on this site over two years now as these loss of benefits have continued (without, to my knowledge, any increase in benefits). We are the people who are frequent flyers, frequent stayers, and on the whole have money to spend to afford Marriotts or equivalents.
Again, this is not directed at Michelle or Andy, but to a corporate structure that has undermined its brand. Randy Peterson has written about the loyalty programs in InsideFlyer many times and has argued basically why loyalty programs will not go away--because their competition will immediately pounce. I predict that is exactly what will happen in this case unless Marriott gives us some compelling reasons to stay.
Professor, the problem is as I see it (through a glass darkly) that our good advocates in Mariott are working in a corporate environment that seems to be moving in a hundred directions at once: designers want to redo rooms, not necessarily mindful of costs and delivery schedules; accountants and numbers crunchers bemoan the costs of all and the revenue that is either dropping or not progressing fast enough; the senior management sees the big picture and often it contradicts everything else. Marriott is not alone in this--every corporation tries to maximize profits, reduce costs, or just remain a step ahead of the competition. Where do the most loyal customers fit in this equation? Hard to tell, since the voice we have is carried not by us but by others, and I agree we must take them at their word, that they advocate for us.
Now the facts: Not every suggestion gets approval for any number of reasons. Some ideas run into buzzsaws. A few make it and sometimes not for a reason that we understand.
Tis true--we have advocates, they advocate, we may or may not get what we want. At this point in time, however, we seem as a group, to be getting less and less. I leave it to others to decide why that is so, but my sense is that an improving economy, the need to be able to accommodate everyone is less.
Prof, et al
Last evening I had the misfortune of sleeping on a very old, soft mattress. It drove me crazy, and made me wonder for a moment why on earth do I continue to stay at Marriott? The soft mattresses are not to my liking, the food offerings in the CL are boring me, and the rates keep rising. All that, along with the information in this thread, makes me wonder why any of us continue to stay at Marriott properties. Surely, all of our complaints are real. Devaluation of points cannot be denied, crickets in response to our disatifaction with lack of guaranteed breakfasts every stay, every day, no more free coffee in CY, not enough upgrades, etc., it's amazing anyone stays at Marriott's......
yup, much of this is tongue-in-cheek, but not all of it. Why do we keep coming back? Yeah, it's more fun complaining, piling on if you will. Heck, I bet human nature is such that complaining is just more fun than praising. So, in an effort to change the trajectory of this comet, here are some of the reasons I stay at Marriott:
1. The best vacation in my life was a 2 week stay at the Ritz on the isle of Maui.
2. By and large, some of the friedliest folks I've met at hotel properties.
3. Until recently, the BEST loyalty program in the industry.
4. The CL lounge.
5 A feeling of security while staying.
6. Location. There seems to be a Marriott property in most of the locations I need to stay.
7. Far more updated properties than old ones.
8. Flat screen tv's , mostly with HD programming. (several Hilton properties I've stayed at had the flat screens but the programming was analog).
9. Rates that seem fair for the value received.
10. Finally, in honor of Mick and the Gang at 50, I don't always get all that I want at Marriott, but I think I always get what I need............
Why do you stay at Marriott?????????
One reason I like to stay is dependability. Last summer, my son and I went to Arlington, TX to visit with my uncle who just died last week and to see other family members.
I always try to stay at the Ren. Dallas Market Hall on weekends when we're there because the rates are lower and I love the place. When the rates go up more than I want to pay, I find another place to stay. This last time, we found a Choice motel in Arlington for abt. $45 / night and planned on staying 3 or 4 nights while we went to the national archives with him in Ft. Worth. I wouldn't have known they moved without his knowledge of the area so we went to the 7th St. location where the old Mont. Ward Dept. Store used to be across from Radio Shack hq.
Choice was offering their stay 2 nights or times and get one free, as they are now. The place wasn't all that good, but the price was right and it was just a few miles from my uncle's house and it was convenient to I-20 and Cooper St. When Choice has these promotions, you have to go through there reservations line in order to get it and the coupons are a walk-in rate only, so no credit for points or stays. We ran into this before when we stayed at some Choice hotels in the Grand Canyon area and then in Amarillo on the way back. No credit because we just walked in and got coupon rates.
With Marriott, I get credit even when using coupons with special rates and we've gotten extra promotional points, too, like the 2500 we got in Homestead, FL last Nov. Great new hotel there, and it's a CY besides.