I recently took a Marriott Rewards survey which referred to the "Elite Experience". This got me thinking about what this really means, and more importantly what MRIs believe it should mean. Here are my thoughts on what I think this means today and what I would like this to mean. Perhaps more importantly, I would be interested hear what everyone else thinks to get some ideas going- there are no right or wrong answers:
- Recognition of membership i.e. Call centre and hotel staff acknowledge membership tier
- Access to exec lounge (this is one of the key benefits for me)
- Welcome gifts
- Upgrades as available
- Early/Late Ceck-In etc. (all the standard stuff)
- Personalised offers: Based on travel history and disclosed travel prefences (the offers I receive appear fairly generic to me)
- Greater recognition of travel preferences e.g. I don't mind an exec room for business as don't require a suite but like a suite for leisure travel.
- Flexibility in terms of rewards redemption e.g. Ability to use points for water sports, massages, meals, drinks etc.
- Surprises: Marriott holds a lot of information about loyal guests which should make it fairly easy to anticipate their needs e.g. A pair of theatre tickets may be more emotive than a cheap bottle of plonk in teh room
- Exclusive offers: When Marriott opens new properties or restaurants or completes a refurbishment, it would be nice to have priority in booking this. Whilst this period is often when the wrinkles are being ironed out, MRIs are well placed to provide honest constructive feedback whilst continuing to be loyal to the brand.
So, those are my quick thoughts. Any other ideas?
I would like my Elite Experience to be one where you are made to feel as an important guest to the property, one they value based upon your status and/or number of visits to the hotel.
What would the future hold in a more perfect Marriott Rewards world for myself:
Access to any and all room types in a hotel when using points for the stay.
Access to the lounge everyday for water, soft drinks, juice, etc., even if no lounge associate is on duty.
Advance notification of special deals at hotels/resorts that go out to the highest elite levels before they are issued to the general public.
Positive room upgrades before check-in at the hotel. Why be punished simply because your travel schedule doesn't allow you to arrive at the hotel at 3PM or so?
Just a few off the top of my head and hope others will voice their opinions as well.
Since I'm not s business traveler, I'm sure this doesn't mean the same to me as it does to you. However, if I did travel on business, I would want every perk available. Elite should mean just that! I've found that writing to the CEO/ Corporate Headquarters if I have an excellent stay/cruise/ or a mediocre/bad one helps. I've had some great feedback from this. Appreciation from a cruise CEO and an upgrade for a horrendous stay at a Hyatt a number of years back. Even from the old Northworst when my new suitcase lost all its wheels between DTW and PLN-a short hop.
Best of luck, Mary
The key here - in a modern, information savvy world - is customization. Having followed this site for awhile, one thing that becomes clear is that the benefit you savor most may be of little or no value to me (and, of course, the reverse is true). [This poll makes the point to some extent: http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/polls/1191.] And, even then, our own personal preferences change with time. Accordingly, my sense is that the big challenge for Marriott Rewards in the future is greater flexibility in rewarding its best customers. Consider:
The challenge, of course, is that Marriott is a (very) large enterprise. The oft-cited problem is that Marriott tries to please everyone, and, in so doing, frequently disappoints everyone. My sense is that the real issue here is that Marriott's most valued customers want to be treated like valued customers. And valued customers get special, preferential, extraordinary (as in out-of-the-ordinary) treatment. Attention, flexibility, and responsiveness is what will please them (us) most....