Anadyr (sorry, I cannot get used to calling you that) raised a serious point in another post about corporates crunching numbers. I am not some wild-eyed liberal professor (despite our sad reputation) and I follow CNBC and Wall Street as well as InsideFlyer etc.
For the number crunchers, all I can say is get what you can while you can, because the way you seem to be crunching numbers will end up crunching stays and driving away loyal high-spending members in droves. These people already seem to have pushed many of us in that direction.
My question: I can stay at the following choices in Venice: 1) a low priced nice hotel out of the way (example BW Sant' Elena) but which gives me free breakfast, wifi and amenities; 2) a fabulous hotel on the Grand Canal or the Lagoon which gives me great free breakfast, free wifi, and fabulous views (example Pesaro Palace); or 3) a Marriott that is out of the way, nice, but has little in the way of amenities. I will choose 2 first then 1, but would not choose the Marriott after having stayed there once. The Autograph Marriott in Venice is not a bad hotel, but it is way overpriced for what you get.
That is why so many of us are looking elsewhere. We realize we have other options now that Marriott is taking away our rewards repeatedly, one by one until it has reached a critical mass. Michelle and Andy, if you have influence with corporate, you need to communicate these issues. They are not going to go away, and they are driving us away.
And just a cautionary note to number crunchers in the tourist business: my students would not consider staying at a Hilton, Hyatt or Marriott. Even though I teach at an 'elite' college, the students want either a boutique hotel, a foreign family experience or a bed and breakfast. So if corporate is looking to the next generation, I suggest they look again.
Part of the problem here is not many Insiders seem to complain about the new Marriott. But what Marriott is missing here is that although a group of us here have registered our concern about the new Marriott, many of the silent ones also feel the same way and will just move on to new adventures with other hotel chains resulting in more lost business and revenues to the Marriott than they realize. The "Bean Counters" and new Marriott Management will wake up too late and will have lost many of their most loyal customers before they realize it..
If I may professor, let me send myself way-back to my former career in another decade, one where I studied loyalty and disloyalty at length from a social science perspective.
In cases of enforced loyalty the rewards and punishments were very clear and spelled out. In speaking to offenders they mentioned the clear bright line they crossed after they crossed it, not before.
Here we are speaking of voluntary loyalty, a type that is rarely studied since it involves the fickle free choice paradigm. But here's my take: Voluntary loyalists make their choices because they enjoy the benefits, but are slow to abandon a brand when there is a winnowing of those benefits. And there being no punishment for not being loyal, the whole risk/gains calculus is thrown off its rails.
Advantage to the vendor, the points-giver, in this case.
But is it advantage to the vendor or points-giver? To me Marriott has made their point spending worthless, so I am going elsewhere. I sense others areas well. Yes, it's my voluntary choice and except for Ghent and Athens it will be elsewhere. Marriott has lost my loyalty, though MRI has not. So I'll keep posting, but will almost certainly not keep staying.
Prof, I couldn't have said it better myself! My fear, though, is that perhaps this is what all companies want? Maybe they want to have their rewards program to disappear... This could very well be only the beginning... Of course, that's the pessimist in me talking, but it could be true. If the number crunchers know that my generation don't care about loyalty (not true for all of us, case in point me) then perhaps the aim is to make the rewards program (eventually) so unattractive that people just abandon them altogether... I really, REALLY hope this isn't the case.