I rarely post any more and even less do I check. The old timers are gone, and while I don't want to self-identify, I miss what I valued as a travel site. I long ago gave up on Marriott after being treated badly on several occasions. The only times this year I have stayed and will in the future stay are at the Athens Ledra Marriott, which is in every sense of the term a true full-service Marriott. In all other cases, where I travel internationally every month, I am staying at independent hotels or other chains that will give me better benefits at a lesser cost.
I am truly sorry to say this. As an impoverished grad student I relied on one FF program (Delta) and one hotel chain (Hilton then Marriott) to make the most of my research trips. For years, Marriott was phenomenal. But over the past two years all that has gone. Those of us who have been some of the most frequent stayers have lost the most basic benefits like breakfast and wifi, which I easily get when I book on expedia, orbitz, hotels.com, and booking.com. Why should I pay exorbitant rates to get less? Short answer: I won't.
I know there are many former and possibly current MRIs out there who feel as I do. I was 'offered' the opportunity to buy back my Platinum status this year. I didn't because it would have been of no value to me. I am getting much greater benefits, cheaper prices, and cool stuff like pools from independent and boutique hotels (as well as other chains who have matched status). Unless things change, I won't be coming back to Marriott except for my favorite two hotels -- the Athens Ledra and Ghent Marriott.
This makes me very sad, but Marriott has repeatedly ignored comments and suggestions from its longest term members. We may or may not count from Marriott's perspective, but I have made my decision -- and it's not Marriott. Too much lost, nothing gained, and increased levels for rewards.
Professor I agree.
The site is mature, as in tired, and not that exciting for me anymore. Those of us who jumped in years ago now find it a chore to jump in once again. Much like any idea, especially one that involves a risk for a corporation, MRI has perhaps run its course and stagnated at the same time (for me that is). I prefer to arrange my stays and points now with a degree of disinterest, and a feeling that I can choose a hotel now based on factors other than points accrued.
There are many good posts on this site, and posters with intelligence and wit too. But in the bigger picture the site has run aground for me, and there's not much chance that I'll be able to rise with the tide anytime soon.
Marriott also seems less and less interested in our comments and complaints than before, a sign that the MRI is just an irritant rather than a vehicle for feedback (again my opinion).
I left once and may do so again. If I do it will be a permanent decision.
It was fun while it lasted...
I always enjoy your posts and I hope you do not desert the site entirely. I have learned a tremendous amount about travel from you and many of the other "old timers" and for that I thank "all 'ya all" (that's Texan for - all of you). I lost interest in the site due to the Marriott baseball story contest. At first I enjoyed them; however, as time went on they seemed to overwhelm the site. I wonder if this was not calculated by Marriott to deflect the heat they were taking from the recent devaluation? Maybe its just me, but it also seems more difficult to follow threads on various travel topics.
You are not alone, many of the old timers don't post much any more. The site has become more difficult to find information that has value to me. The malfunctions have continued which make the site harder to use.
I agree about the baseball. It took over the site for a period and was hard to find other info that might have been of value. If I wanted a sport site, I would not be on Marriott.
As a fairly "newby" to the site, I want to echo gm1's comment..I hope you don't desert the site. I have learned so much from both Prof Chiara and anadyr (SS) And other "old timers". Heck, our upcoming trip to Amsterdam and Belgium was booked entirely based on your recommendations. It's been very frustrating to wade through all the baseball stories, but hopefully that is done. It really does seem that Marriott has lost it's way...but I truly hope that things will improve.
I am finding it harder to want to post my travel experiences since Insiders has seemed to lost its way...Not to mention that Marriott has not addressed any of the issued raised by their most loyal guests over the last several years. I keep hoping that Marriott turns things around, but I don't see that happening anymore...The other thing I noticed is that when I have posted travel experiences lately, not many views and/or comments are being made. So I am beginning to wonder whether or not it is worth my time and effort. Really sad to see the deterioration of Insiders. My guess is that Insiders would just like to see me disappear anyway since I have become very vocal about the lack of Marriotts response to concerns raised here. I was once proud to be a former steward for the Marriott. but have lost most of my enthusiasm for the site.
I think we are all coming to the same conclusion. I think less people are seeing the posts regarding trips due to all the other stuff that is in the way. I'm afraid they are only coming across them if they seach specifically for that location in a search, or are following that particular person and see their update. I do hope this changes too, but I notice when you sign onto Marriott's new splash page, the fact that Marriott Insiders is available, is not very evident for new people now, and you don't really see it until you look under your account choices. I wonder if Marriott is trying to figure out how to make MI go away quietly, without negative press?
Wow! I hadn't thought of that. Maybe they would like it to go away.
I have taken the time to post some pricing things that I ran into. Usually this would have been of interest to many but not one reply. Others as well. After a while, why bother. Notice how many are just fading away. Part because of leaving Marriott and part because of this site.
I notice when you sign onto Marriott's new splash page, the fact that Marriott Insiders is available, is not very evident for new people now, and you don't really see it until you look under your account choices. I wonder if Marriott is trying to figure out how to make MI go away quietly, without negative press?
I can help address that - we're looking to further promote the community among other interested Rewards members so you'll see Insiders promoted more over time, not less.
To All (mainly Marriott personnel)
While these concerns have been mentioned before, this time feels different. several of these concerns are being raised by long-time supporters, and 'newbies' as well. Personally, I find the lack of acknowledgement from Marriott personel on most concerns dismissive and possible downright arrogant. Additionally, I still find the navigation on the site burdensome and no longer enjoyable. I also find the cookie-cutter approach to property reviews delivers a very bland description of someone's experience and comes no where near to the reviews of the past. Possibly Anadyr is right and the site has lost its luster for those of us that have been around for quite a while, and has yet to find it's way with the newbies. Sorta in no-man's land. Either way, it's a sad state of affairs.
While I am a relative newby, I also have learned many valuable things from all of your and words typed into your threads/reviews/travel insights. It would be sad to not have you providing these however; like all of you I find the lack of response to issues raised on this site to be similar to the direction Marriott Hotels and Resorts is moving. If I was still traveling for business as I did the past 15 years or so my move from Marriott would occur much quicker than it will now while using reward points until I deplete the account or Marriott changes the program proving a further devaluation of our rewards.
As one who has written a few hotel reviews that are probably guilty of "a bland description" as shoeman1000 suggests, I hope to find some of the older reviews to learn from them and elevate what I write in the future.
And yes, the baseball story made it difficult to work around and find things when the entire first page was baseball......hope that is over even though some were fabulous.
Well. I guess it says it all when I learned about this posting in an outside e-mail from an 'old timer'. Certainly shows that I don't 'tread' here much anymore. Don't post much anymore either. I also, like many other oldtimers, enjoyed the earlier cameraderie when there were many many posts regarding travel and a search for information or an answer giving information. At that time, this site was an incredible resource for travel from those who did a lot of it. Now, I'll let others form an opinion as to what we have here.
Now, and coincidentally along with the devaluation of benefits, all the 'travel' mantra is gone....along with response or feedback from Marriott. I think GM1 might be right in that baseball was allowed to take over the 'general' posting on the site to deflect (and bury) criticism that was rampant on the site. It would have been EASY for a baseball CATEGORY to have been created that would have had it's own area without taking over the general postings.
Marriott has determined, in my opinion, they want some 'new' and younger blood to keep with the changing demographics of travelers as they get younger. Problem is, they forgot about all the old time loyalists who had been at their 'dances' for years. Many have left not only this site but, as Prof Chiara so eloquently puts it, they have stopped staying at Marriott properties because of the sequence of events that has taken place over the past couple of years.
As for me, I'll maintain my Plat because of the timeshare I own (and that's unfortunate because they have ruined that category of the business). I wish I had never bought it since Marriott changed the game after my giving them about 20 years of loyalty in the category. I can't trade my time anywhere now, so I just repeat the same thing year after year. And that Destinations Program.....don't get me started. Such a travesty. Many thanks to the beancounters who ruined it.
Happy Travels all!
Well stated on the site and the timeshare. I have followed many posts on the timeshare and it appears that Marriott did what was best for Marriott when they came up with Destinations and left all the people who trusted Marriott left with a timeshare that was costly to keep and close to useless to use.
A lot’s been mentioned in this thread but the Insiders community is still of course devoted to connecting Rewards members around everything travel and Marriott Rewards. We invite all Rewards members to not only participate in the community, but to contribute your own voice, perspective and discerning details - especially now that you can review each stay at any Marriott hotel.
Back in Mid-December, we previewed our focus for the community in 2013 and we're already making strides; Happy Holidays Insiders - Here's a Preview of the Community's Focus for 2013. As you'll read, we've considered making changes to the navigation and as of just a few weeks ago, we ran a Spark to gauge the community's feedback. And we know how important it is for us to be responsive to your questions and we’ll have some news on that for you soon. We value your loyalty, feedback and frankly the opportunity to build personal relationships with each of you.
So for all those interested, let’s pick up those travel conversations.
I want to also add to the others who are hoping that you re-consider and stick with Insiders through this 'rough patch". I also value your views and opinions. I hope the large number of responses to your post in such a short period of time demonstrate to you how valued you are by the Insiders community. Whatever decision you make I wish you safe travels.
"maybe that's why it got a lot of views".
You must be kidding!!!! You have a lot of followers, don't you? Look at how many replies you had about your reminiscing of the past and the songs that played an importance in them.
I don't often go to your posts on specific hotels in Europe because I haven't traveled internationally, except to Canada a few times. If I ever do, then I'll seek yours out.
And your photography, WOW!!! Those pictures of yours are worth seeking out at any time!!! I think you should consider submitting them to travel magazines and National Geographic even if you don't actually patent the pictures.
Loved the clip and thanks for your kind words. I hope you do get to experience Europe some time soon. I never got there before I was 34 when I went for 2 years of dissertation research in Paris. My only time 'abroad' was Montréal, Québec, Toronto and Ottawa!
But I have had a broad and checkered life that included being at colleges (while working three jobs) where people were very privileged. Fortunately, at those colleges, I was respected for my intellect and not looked down on because I came from a lower class family. I have to admit, even though I started late (parents didn't believe women should go to college) at age 24, I was envious. And what I ended up studying was mostly France, then Italy, then the rest of Europe and the Middle East, without having ever been there. My background was entirely immigrant Swiss-German (Berne) in 1913, yet when I moved to Paris in the 80s and felt SO uncomfortable (life was different in France those days -- still very Gaullist -- now you have to fight to continue speaking French), I visited Germany and Switzerland, where I had excelled in the language in high school. Turned out I couldn't and can't speak it well -- it doesn't come naturally to me, oddly enough. But it gave me the courage to return to Paris with an attitude, an attitude is everything in France. The French are oddly as timid as Americans are about speaking a foreign language, and when I became bilingual, I realized that it was not so much a sense of cultural superiority, as Americans assume, as the idea they might not speak well. Indeed, that was my experience in the 1980s. The one person I met who could speak English was totally incomprehensible. I tried and tried to understand, but ended up nodding wishing (once I got comfortable speaking French) that he would speak French.
My education and my career have led me in such wonderful ways. I always tell my students (to use Joseph Campbell's old statement:) "Follow your bliss." I've seen far too many students plan their life well before they enter college to go to law or business school, and then be unhappy. By far my best ever student, at Colby, came in wanting to be an Environmental Studies major. He had a tough first semester, and while I don't take credit for the change, he took my beginning course, then 1,2,3 and 400 level courses before the middle of his second year in history. He is currently finishing his PhD at Brown after having gotten multiple fellowships that are well over 1/3M for the time period. I thought when I met his parents they'd hate me, but instead they embraced me. I feel like he's also my son, or at least prodigy.
I love Europe beyond belief. France was where I did almost all of my research from 1985-2001, but now I've concentrated more on Italy and Greece and to some extent England. In the process I used Fluenz I-V to teach myself Italian and it's worked amazingly. I'm going to Venice in less than two weeks again and in Rome in a month. Then two more totally free business class tickets to Greece, one including a stay in Santorini and another a short cruise with the Athens Ledra on both ends.
Had you ever told me my life would turn out like this I would have laughed out loud. From bullied, shy, bookworm, catlover, sickly kid, I ended up through my books and my belief in myself doing things I was told I couldn't do but that I believed I could. I owe a lot of that to my public high school in suburban Philly, where they made us read classics over the summer starting in sixth grade and be tested on them each year following (I read War and Peace, Anna Karenina and For Whom the Bell Tolls before 7th grade). They also made us write an essay every week in English class.
I am so fortunate in how my life has turned out. I feel like I am living the life described in so many of the books I read (well, hopefully not all of them since I have a penchant for tragedies).
Photography came to me later. I get all my favorite photos made into wall decor by Shutterfly, so my bedroom has all water photos (I'm a Cancer, water sign) of Venice, Santorini, the Greek islands, Caesarea in Israel, the French Riviera (not Cannes part, I'm not into celebrity), St-Malo and Le Mont St-Michel.
My dining room has become my Greek room, and as I keep moving them around to make room for more, I also have wall decor of Ephesus. There's still a lot of room.
Two walls of my living room are both papyri bought during my trip to Egypt and actual wall decor from photos taken. Another is my 'ecumenical wall' where I have everything from Rome, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, the Dome of the Rock, Westminster Cathedral, Notre Dame stained glass, the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, as well as items I bought in all these places -- e.g. an Eastern Orthodox cross, a peace plate from the 1990s from the West Bank, items from Patmos celebrating St. John of Revelation, etc.
I have one pic of Ghent on my intermediary wall, so I have room for more. Entering my bedroom, I have all kinds of actual art bought in Avignon and Mykonos and Santorini. My catsitter said to me once, I guess you probably get used to it even though it's so beautiful.
My answer: "I never get used to it -- either being in those places or in the photos that remind me of them every day and night."
Despite health problems, I am living my greatest dreams. What more can people ask for? (A lot else going for me as well, but I thought that encapsulated it.)
Thanks again for your kind comments! And thanks to my students who (mostly) make me better all the time.