Notice that some chains are resisting change.
You may not watch much television, but to me, you're the Walter Cronkite of hotels. As Wally once said, "To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past". I see a Best Western Status Match...No Catch coming my way. If jerrycoin says they have some very nice properties, that's more than enough for me. I'll add a Best Western option for possible savings at the lower level (Cat. 1-5) and use my points for the higher end Marriott properties providing a nice stay and the pleasant thought of upending the rocket scientist's plans (us leisure, self pay travelers must take our simple pleasures where we can);
"Industry occupancy is rising. So for an owner or operator, giving up a room that could be rented by a cash-paying guest to let someone redeem points has a rising cost in terms of giving up the opportunity to make more revenue," Loeb wrote, in an email interview.
Oh yeah baby, having some fun now. Bring it on. Thanks for the recon work anadyr
ps - several cnbc hosts have moaned on air about the program changes and whereas you certainly can't (nor shouldn't) expect them to bite the hand that feeds them as program content/advertising partner, we may see more when/if the next shoe drops; you know, the remaining upcoming changes that we were told will have some 'favorable changes' that we will like". Probably like the IT folks at their Town Meetings
A great buy with points or certificates to me would be the Ren. Riverview Plaza in Mobile, AL. Cat. 3, but rents for $144 with the sr. rate on every weeknight find I saw and $127 on Sat. night. There is no breakfast comp. on weekends that we got this past weekend, but they didn't charge us for the self-park listed as $12 / nite or the $6 upgrade for wifi. Wifi is free for everyone at this site. Great things to do. View of bay from higher floors was really great. I would not want to be on a lower floor because of the train whistles across the street, the tug boats, and the fog horns. Look for my review and razorbacks under Mobile, AL. I couldn't get into the hotel review section and use the search engine for it, so I just had to use the regular sites and search engine.
Thank-you for you kind words! I really appreciate them.
There are a lot of wonderful contributors to MRI, and all of us have our strengths and know our limitations and interests.
Like others, I really enjoy helping people find their way to their chosen locations, as easy and economically as possible. I have had to do it, and when you have loved ones with you it is twice as difficult!
It doesn't happen to me much, but to show up in a new situation, and really not know "Which way is up" ( I am not kidding} is frightening. It happened to me taking a train from Warsaw to Krakow, Poland. I was "Saved" by a good guy, Bob, who heard me speak English, and drove me to Auschwitz and other memorable locations. I hope no-one ever experiences that feeling of really being "Alone and lost"!
erc, Thank-you again!
I forgot to tell you, Walter Cronkite and I have only one thing in common. We were both born in the same town, St. Joseph, Mo! He on11/4/16, me a whole lot later than that, a whole lot.
Appreciate the comment though. Hope to make it back to DC someday, maybe I can treat to have a refreshment at The Occidental Grill!
"You should evaluate your loyalty. Loyalty should go both ways," he said. "You shouldn't be blindly loyal to a hotel chain because it may make sense to switch to a different chain or maybe even start using sites like Priceline."
This is the conclusion that many insiders have come to, the key driver should be price with the devaluation of points.
For example, Best Western is promoting a program where it matches members' elite status in any other hotel loyalty program free of charge as a unique benefit.
Thanks, Anadyr, for posting this article. I wasn't aware of this even though I ttune regularly to CNBC for market info (as well as Fox Business).
With the recommendation of jerrycoin and the status match, I will certainly give BW a look....as well as others. Keep the info coming everyone!
I really get this message from the folks at Marriott. I'm thanking them by having no further paid stays until my INDY 500 junket in May at the JW downtown (which I've had booked for a long time). I haven't stayed at a Marriott property since my Feb junket to NYC. I've put the Chase Rewards card in the drawer since we learned of the program points downgrade. I've pretty much put a complete 'hold' on any points earnings. After all...what's the 'point' (OK, bad pun).
I'm exclusively using my Fidelity 'cash back' card (and no airline cards either) because I'm pretty sure that my Platinum status with USAir will get drummed into the ground when the merger with American is complete.
So, all in all, I've received the message about the loyalty thing not going both ways anymore...and I've replied. I'm a free agent now. Like erc said....us leisure, self paid travelers have to look out for ourselves.....and I am. I liked the points idea...and bought in with a lot of us to the scheme....and now we're being 'rewarded'.
Happy Travels to all.
I didn't mean to imply that I'm leaving the site. Sorry if I did. I've met and made too many good contacts here who provide so much travel knowledge that I'll still come to get it. I'll chime in on stays (wherever they may be) and keep posting, just probably not as much since I can't talk to the Marriott mantra when I'm not staying there regularly.
I'm going for the spot that gives us the best 'feel' for a stay now (since I don't consider breakfast a game keeper since that's all we really get with Marriott...and we don't get it at the new Autographs, et al) and if Marriott has the best 'feel' where I (or we) go, I'll stay there. I'll keep my Plat. status with Vacation Club stays at my usual Palm Desert and Orlando and this year Park City on a points transfer so I'm not concerned there.
I'm also looking at the Fairmont posting you did as it looks intriguing and we'll also be staying where my better half wants to....like Four Seasons properties wherever they may be and The White Elephant on Nantucket later this year.
We're not going to stop traveling as we both enjoy it, but we'll see what 'stays' come our way as we look at ALL options for lodging and airlines now.
I had no idea where to post this, but since tef6178 mentioned the airline merger, I'm thinking this might be a good place.
American businesses as a group are losing their loyalty to anyone, customers and employees, in search of more dollars. Here's how it's being handled by Emirates Airlines. If I need to delete this, I will.
That looks like the ONLY way to fly . Not sure I'll ever get to that status, but it's really great to see what each of the levels looks like. It helps a lot when making booking decisions. Thanks for posting this. I take it that was you getting to enjoy the great treatment? Hope you had a wonderful trip, and if that was the start of it, I'm sure you did.
No. Not me. It was sent to me in an e-mail this A.M. and the difference in U.S. planes and Emirates was startling. In that wmv, even the regular seating was roomy. I might even enjoy flying if the airlines were like that and if there was no TSA to treat citizens even more like cattle. Bush did us no service by establishing that injudicious authority run by uneducated, power throwing government employees of the lowest caliber.
I haven't looked at any of the other wmv's that were at the end of that one. They also look interesting.
I definitely believe that, but then, Amtrak and our RR's are subsidized by the government and look at how far behind most of Europe, Japan, and even China (with at least one train system newly built in China), Amtrak is. Union wages probably takes a big part of any subsidy given to our industries, don't they? Several of our airlines have been bailed out by our government. As far as ticket sales go, I know our airplanes used to have more room for everyone and airlines don't have to oversell to the point that a serviceman flying on standby has to sit in the bathroom stall the whole flight as my brother once had to do.
I once rode the Starlight Amtrak with my son from SF to LAX in '93. We had to ride in the back smoking car because of all of the commuters who rode that train when the train was pretty much full from northern most states along the route. There should have been an extra car at least to take care of the overload rather than making people stand up and making non-smokers ride in a smoking car.
I have a distant cousin who has lived all over the world and who told me that if she'd have had a child born in AE, that child would have gotten the equivalence of a million dollars, as she said every child born there gets.
Amtrak was created in 1970 when Nixon signed the Rail Passenger Service Act in response to service terminations and bankruptcy filings. Amtrak is a very large ( 300 trains each day on 21,200 miles of track ), and costly rail system serving 31.2 million passengers, and had $2.02 billion in revenue for FY2012, as well as $1.4 billion in federal funding, and goes toe-to-toe with the highway fund for funding out of the DOT general fund even though Amtrak is 30–40 percent more energy-efficient than commercial airlines and automobiles,l . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amtrak
Most European countries do not have nearly as much track & trains to maintain, and most Europeans use trains more, and cars less. Back in the 70s when we were there, petro was already sky high in pricing.
Compare that with the UK which is the oldest rail system in the world, 18th largest, with the most dense tracks (9,789 miles of track - less than 1/2 of the US) with 1.2 billion passengers annually (4X the amount of passengers in the US), so they have less track and trains to maintain with 4X the amount of passengers hence more revenues which probably helped in privatizing their system in 1993 though still receiving about 4.6 billion GBP ( $7 billion USD) in government subsidies. The UK is one of the busiest rail networks with 20% more service than France, 60% more than Italy, and more than the combined total of 5 European Countries (Spain, Switzerland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_transport_in_Great_Britain
I agree that the U.S. is a lot bigger than most of those countries mentioned and the new train in China probably doesn't go that far as of yet, and might not ever. That doesn't dismiss the fact that too many seats are sold on a continuing basis with no consideration for the passengers. Our tickets were bought months in advance. The commuters from SF south are pretty much a constant number and were having to stand or be put into the smoking car. It looks to me like more cars could have been added for the more traveled routes with the extra cars removed at a later station, as they were shifted in that manner in SA, TX.
The train going north from SC filled up in NC with commuters going to the Alexandria, VA terminal. That train also stank to high heaven in the rest room. The walls were saturated. Again, not enough cars for the commuters, who are pretty much a constant number.
The double-deck Amtrak cars ran out of Chicago going west and then back to Chicago from SF.
The Starlight route was full of gorgeous scenery, but my travel agent had been trying to book me on the Amtrak bus that ran from Oakland to LAX. I had to find out about the Starlight route by reading the literature myself, and also that there was a bus running from the Oakland terminal to SF if one wanted transportation there from the train.
The NE corridor has the fast electric trains that have the highest paid and best trained engineers because of the concentration of commuters. A young teenaged girl who got on the train after we did in Phoenix had both parents who were engineers in the NE corridor and she told us about that part of the system.
My point is that if the travel industries would treat the passengers better, there might be more customers. And a lot of their employees need to be gotten rid of, which I'm guessing is pretty much impossible because they are union.
Agree that loyalty goes both ways!
Its not a 1 way thing.
Since Hilton, Marriott and Starwood think they can change their loyalty programs to their advantage because the big 3 are aligned (see anadyr's references to USA Today article on Hotel Loyalty Programs and Use 'em while you can, advises Market Watch) and customers have no choices is only true if we surrender our choices
I liked profchiara's thread Hotel philosophy on feeling like we have been placed in chains by chain hotel properties which got me to thinking what did I do pre-chain, and it was all the interesting and reasonable independents which profchiara also refers to in What is Loyalty, Who Matters, and Why We Should Care, and stelzer001's poem call to action for both Marriott and MIs.
So I think we need to check out all the options that have been posted, like renting from independents, chains like Best Western that are offering deals, chains that are a good deal like Embassy Suites.
It is interesting to note that no Marriott representatives have commented on all the negative reaction to the "throwing the loyal customers" under the bus...It seems they are feeling the pain under the new management also and are afraid to "rock the boat". I am really hoping that the Marriott pays big time in the long run as a result of losing many of their most loyal customers.
Hate to share this with you, but it is "Bothering me"!
I was just "Demoted" by Marriott to P from PP. I appealed, but the computer was "God" and could not be "Over riden" The die was caste!
Now remember, I am in my 30th year as a MI, and with over 110 nights last year and over 1800 nights lifetime, I get "Put out to Pasture". If it wasn't for the many wonderful people on this site, who I depend on, I would really be upset!
This appeal went all the way to Ed French's office, but I know when I am "Beat"! I make it a point to not let things upset me, but this was a difficult "Pill to swallow".
Unfortunately, welcome to the new Marriott..with the economy improving, and the new Management (with bean counter support) have decided that their most loyal customers are no longer valued (or at least valued a lot less) since they have a new flock of new customers that make up the lost loyal customer revenues. Maybe a good short term result, but I will guess longer term will not benefit the Marriott. Oh how we miss J.W. Marriott who used to value their most loyal customers!!!!
What has me really scratching my head is the fact that Mr. Marriott is still involved with the company... He may not be CEO anymore, but (correct me if I'm wrong), he has retained his position on the Board. Would this not give him the ability to do/say something about the changes if he were unhappy with them?
Looks like he was hired on as COO.
Perhpas they have a good working relationship.
Maybe its a trial period to see what running Marriott like other hotels is like
Maybe Bill Marriott is letting him try things that he doesn't want to do just to see how it plays out.
He can always step back in if things start going off the rail.
He can always disown it all in the end if he doesn't like how it works
I feel that would be the best case scenario at this point... I truly hope Mr. Marriott is the same and has the same focus/values, etc. in terms of his customers and loyalty. I'd like to believe that he does, and I'd like to believe that this is only temporary... but time will tell. I really wish we'd get feedback from associates on here, but, as others have said, that's unlikely with this new management.
As an effective lifelong student of customer service and relationships, this is a remarkable circumstance to me. The Platinum Premier status requirements have intentionally been kept vague by Marriott, allowing (or so I thought) Marriott the opportunity to capture the biggest bang for their buck in determining who was 'awarded' (as eb5147 pointed out) that status.
Combining the fact that there is virtually no distinguishable incremental cost to Marriott for additional PP's with the recognition that Marriott, run by hard working, driven, intelligent executives, who could have easily ascertained the PP status' meaningfulness to you, along with the significant merchandising value of your diehard loyalty to the company, leads me to only one obvious conclusion: they truly don't financially care, which startles my marketing mindset.
As I've written several times before, it amazes me how often Marriott deliberately passes on opportunities to capture slam dunk victories ("snatching p.r. defeat from the jaws of victory"). Their current operating success appears to have led to hubris, which apparently results in myopic customer relations vision.
Myopic is right, but then, Marriott has changed their business, it seems to me. Instead of being in the business of hotel owners, they are now hotel managers for at least 99% of the sites. As managers, their CS doesn't even have any authority, which is why they seem to never go against the GM on site. As such, they have to lose some of the benefits they were once able to control. For instance, long term stay chains of RI, TPS, and ES got together as a group and decided they wouldn't even allow local phone calls.
I think you pretty much have this same thing for all of the major chains. I've had some of the most horrible experiences with BW and QI. Most of these were by Middle Eastern owners, and if someone doesn't think that the Muslim business owners have their own philosophy of doing business even if it breaks federal laws, they are very much mistaken. That doesn't mean they are all insensitive to customer PR, either. But I do keep a careful watch when I go into one of their businesses.
At one BW that we checked into at about 2 a.m. in MS a few years ago, we were told the ck. out time was noon and there was a continental breakfast in the dining room. A middle eastern man knocked on our door at about 8 a.m., told us we had to hurry to get to the breakfast room because they were going to shut it down early, and we had to leave by 9 a.m. because they were renovating the place and would be working on our room.
At a QI in north Dallas a few years ago, the entire staff was middle eastern. We'd found out about it by the coupon travel book that listed it at $45 / night when staying for a week. Then the sign-in contract said only $45 / nite with no restrictions, so I'd finished visiting everyone in the Dallas area and was leaving early to go back to Tyler where my aunt was hospitalized. I just found this e-mail from my husband this a.m. since I've saved it for a remembrance warning. At the time, I didn't have a cell phone so the QI couldn't reach me and called my husband at home instead. They wound up only charging the amount I had the receipt for because they wanted to add the additional charge the day I checked out to go on the receipt they sent in and could only do it that day, it seemed.
Since you were up after midnight <g>, ping me when you get up this morning.
Subject: Re: CALL
Date: Sat, 25 Jul 2009 23:16:47 -0500
I'm at Quality Inn in Tyler.
Sent: Saturday, July 25, 2009 12:33 PM
Subject: RE: CALL
Call the Quality Inn that you stayed at as soon as you can. 972-669-0478. They say they are charging you 402.50 instead of the 287.00 that they gave you the receipt for.
Agreed, the opportunity cost of allowing a member of Jerrycoin's stature and status to retain that status is so minimal that it makes you wonder what exactly is going on at HQ. Perhaps it's the "Let them eat cake" mentality, or something else, but it does make me scratch my head and ask what's going on?
Unfortunately things are changing at Marriott, and not for the better!
When my travel slowed up, I was surprised to see that my platinum status remained unchanged for a couple of years (this was before PP existed). Then it went down to Gold. Finally I hit my 2000 nights and my Lifetime Platinum showed up in the mail. I didn't even know such a thing existed till I received it.
Hopefully one of Bill Marriott's kids decisdes to take over from Sorenson, and puts everything back on track.
Reading Sorenson's background gives alot of insight into what we are seeing
Or they could be maximing earnings to pump up stock prices if they are looking to sell the business.
When my Uncle's only son did not want to run the business, my uncle ended up selling it when he retired.
It was a much smaller business than Marriott, but still good sized, and not easy to sell.
Basically you need to find someone who can operate it successfully over the long haul and pay you out of annual profits, and if they are not profitable, you never get paid.
Bringing Marriott inline with other brands, makes it easier to find a seller, and who better than Mr. Mergers & Acquisitions to do this ???
That is very disturbing... attorney specializing in mergers & acquisitions AND worked for Walmart? I'm not even going to start with my thoughts on Walmart... but those two bullet points scare the hell out of me. Razor sharp focus on profits with little care for anything else. Perhaps Marriott will stop showing up in the list of best places to work in the nation in a few years... I certainly hope not for all those great Marriott associates out there! But if what's happening to IT is the sign of the future...