Anadyr brought this phrase up in response to a series of commentaries on housekeeping. First of all, I want to say that the people I least blame on this issue is housekeeping. They are the people who are following orders from their 'superiors' or to use an even more demeaning phrase 'betters'. I always make sure from the beginning of a stay to leave great tips for my housekeepers, who get almost nothing in terms of pay (while not a housekeeper, I experienced similar situations during my transition to college/grad school/professorship since I mostly worked three jobs while also teaching full time. But I did not have to do the kinds of jobs housekeepers do. Would any among us want to do them? Cleaning horrific bed sheets, cleaning toilets, dealing with similar problems from many of us who should know better. I am not directing this at the Marriott community but I know many of my scholarly colleagues have no regard for what the women and men who clean the rooms actually have to do.
Marriott needs to take the lead in this. I think the brand name is losing its luster, certainly among us long time frequent stayer oldtimers. because sometimes the grass really is greener on the other side.
I ignored many of these signs over the past many years (unreplaced towels, unreplenished toilet paper) because I was a LOYAL MEMBER and I got major points. Suddenly, especially when the free nights came with pay per night, the towels weren't replenished after the previous guest's stay, and people did not treat me well at some Marriotts, I reevaluated my position. As of the recent devaluation of reward points I decided it wasn't hard any more. Frequent stayers expect certain things. When all that disappears or when shortcuts are taken or when NONE of our suggestions on Insiders are met with anything but 'we're trying' then it's time to move on. I got comped long ago on other reward hotel programs, but except for IHG I rarely use any of them. The way to go, as I have found, is independent hotels. My stays have been so much more wonderful, I have been treated better (previous hotel exceptions to be noted), and the location of hotels so much better, that I just don't see myself ever staying at any but my few select Marriotts that have treated me so wonderfully in the future.
It's a sad day for me to say this. I was once an Ambassador, not long ago, with SteppingStones, yet Marriott lost my loyalty -- I did not become disloyal till recently -- they pointed the way. It's a corporation plain and simple with profits as the goal.
So only a few Marriotts in the future for me. Unless the Athens Ledra is reprimanded for treating me so wonderfully, I will always stay there, even if I need to be at the airport the next day early -- because the people are so great and they really care. Ghent, if I get there again, there's no question, like Brussels. But alas, I have no more research to do in Belgium, but want to call out those wonderful hotels.
Marriott, don't try to win me back. I'll remain on Insiders, but I will rarely stay at Marriotts in the future. You've done in the brand, I assume in the name of the great profits Marriott has made over the past year or two.
Alas, I once loved you but no more,
I don't think I added Chiara(riott) intentionally but who knows? I can say with certainty that I am not a Chiararriott (which sounds like me as a Marriott cheerleader). I'm not blaming Marriott for this one, but assume it was a Freudian slip wishing Marriott would once again become what it was once. Sorry for the typo!
We obviously need a "Guest Bill of Rights," which states the obvious:
It took 100 years, several super storms and a concerted effort by the Connecticut Commuter Concil to force the MTA to adopt a Passenger bill of rights on Metronorth. Guress what, the new Govenor of CT wants to replace this council with his political cronies because the NYS MTA wants its pund of flesh for being forced to do the right thing. Well Marriott Corporate, please think long and hard here. We arent homeowners who cant move due to children, underwater house prices and our commutes. We can and will vote with our wallett. Nip this in the bud or like Prof Chiarra said, she has found alternatives and she and others wont be the first to do so. The people on this board like and want Marritt to succeed. Pinch the penny, allow properties to get away with misbehavior and see what can and will happen. Others are free to chime in on this.
so true. I have been extremely loyal (blindly perhaps) to Marriott for a lot of years. Along the way, I have felt a reciprocation of the loyalty. In my professional career, as well as my personal life, enhanced expectations have been the norm. Why would I allow myself to lower my expectations from what amounts to be, my home away from home??? I think that I have been fooling myself into believing that Marriott was really no different than any other hotel group that is reducing 'bennies'. Well, I don't really know that to be true and I beieve it is time I find out for myself if there is a better mousetrap out there. May the best man win............
At least in my journeys thus far there are better options out there. I think part of what has so many of us upset enough to essentially opt out is reduced benefits, greater points (and money in some cases) for rewards stays and the sense that no one really pays attention to what we think or ask for. It seems to have become a bottom line only company. Just IMHO.
Perhaps some sort of public feedback mechanism - like the hotel review aspect on MR Insiders could bring the issues to the attention of not just the property but also Marriott corporate? One can hope that they feedback will result in steps to remedy the reduced standards of service that customers might encounter at the property. Ofcourse, there is always the chance that the feedback will be ignored. Or perhaps something like a property blacklist(?) which lists out properties that are just way below what we'd expect from the Marriott brand.
All good suggestions. However, seems to me that a top down approach, combined with rigorous training of associates, is the best way to start the ball of quality rolling. Blacklisting is fine but it may damage the hotel's morale and further deepen the problem. Another attack might be to have the best of the crop be the mentors, send associates from the most efficient and effective out into the field to show best practices to the rest of Marriott.
I have not quantifiably measured the MRI activity on a Positive/Negative demeanor/disposition of posts, but my instincts tell me that despite empirical evidence, the pragmatic view of MRI in the last 12-18 months has been negative in most respects to Marriott Rewards. I am hard-pressed to find an "enlightening" MRI post that persuades me to remain a loyalist to MR.
IS MARRIOTT LISTENING? ARE POSTS BEING MONITORED?
I believe we have seen all sorts of evidence that Marriott is listening and that our posts are monitored. What fascinates me is the amount of energy used by very experienced, hard nosed, successful business and professional travelers, continuing to attempt to alter Marriott's customer service strategic direction, when in my opinion, Marriott has made it very clear (to me at least), they are not in the short term, influenced by complaints, threats of departures, or loss of revenue by those departures. Disappointingly, for our point of view and desires, the financial results support Marriott's current approach.
I don't begrudge anyone writing time and time again questioning the inconsistencies displayed in Marriott's current (I say current, because a financially driven tactic is often altered when/if financial results change) customer service interactions, as a matter of fact, I support it (and do it), because the more data logged in, the more information the company has should the tide turn. I understand the repetitive statement of Insider irritation, because like playing poker with a stupid person (and by no means am I calling Marriott stupid - because they are not) their reactions and strategies belie our paradigm of effective customer relations and market share growth. I'm just sometimes surprised by the energy used in hoping that Marriott is going to pull a 180. They do seem to fine tune on the margins (like adding Cat. 5 certificates, responding in the forum in a more timely manner, extending expiration dates, and in effect, setting up a 'bazaar-style' get what you can, manual deal cutting market, which yes, is a shame they are so consistently inconsistent, but it's better than a consistent NO) but I don't anticipate any corporate level response in the near future regardless of how many times we insist for one.
Personally, I've decided to use a larger portion of my energy toward finding the best travel opportunities, wherever they exist (including the manual 'bazaar-style black market of offers) and less energy telling/warning/threatening Marriott about my 'double dog dare' departure. Writing this post itself, is my hope of shifting ever so slightly the intellectual energy away from 'spitting in the wind' (again, IMO) and redirecting it more toward (since we all are dealing with limited time, so choices of use of energy must be made) continuing the superb sharing of travel optimization ideas that drew me to this highly effective forum in the first place. I was made aware of the current mega-bonus (5/16-9/2) through this forum and I would hate for this potentially mighty weapon of a forum to be diluted because the conscientious contributors have become disillusioned with the reality that, "Marriott doesn't listen". Thus my point; they do, but short term, they'll seldom admit it, and will only react when market reality forces them. Yes, disappointing given what we thought was a good faith relationship of loyalty and effective customer service behavior, but oh well, let's move on as a group. It is, what it is (and I would be thrilled if I'm wrong).
PS - this post is linked to pingreeman only because of the opening I felt it provided for my opinion. It is not directed toward the poster. I've read pin's insightful analysis for over a year, and he's one to craft the most effective strategy factoring in all input. Any of you who have seen my posts know I don't shy away from a scrap, but I've got no bone to pick with pingreeman, or anyone else for that matter, so I added the PS to avoid being sidetracked with confusion over my purpose. Off to London, which is a perfect example of how invaluable this forum has been to me. Happy Trails
Double PS - As I've proven, on numerous times, I'm no I.T. wizard. It will be interesting to me to see how soon Marriott changes the Categories of their hotels in this forum (they have on their web site), specifically the reviews (which as of this post 7:30 am et), has yet to occur - I thought that was the whole idea behind technology). One thing that continues to drive me bonkers is when Marriott has a three day stay type offer on the site that they continue to list with only one or two days left or when they have a weekend offer that runs thru Thursday! Oh well, I've got some fish and chips to consume. Cheers (with apologies to skiadcock)
ERC, you make some interesting points here. Let me take another tack.
Marriott does not need to listen to us, that is clear. As long as people line up to check in the need to be mindful of a few customer complaints, even from long time customers who've spent years in their hotels is minimal. In the world of social media, of instant communication, what matters most is that someone knows your brand and chooses it over another one.
We as a group are allowed to voice our opinions, even if they are not favorable to Marriott. Consider the Howard Johnson analog for a minute: Back in the last century there was one consistent place to stay, when not bothering relatives and that was HoJo's. It was clean, comfortable, and reliable.How many are left now? Under five and with name only.
Marriott hotels became another staple for the same reasons--even if it was a tad more expensive. But the competition is fierce out there, and the temptation to buy from Priceline, Expedia, Hotels.com, and other resellers is strong. Add in a loyalty program that is constantly tweaked to their advantage and you've got the recipe for a disappointed clientele,
I think they care, but I think they also know that they don't need to listen. Responding to everyone wastes their time. The business model seems to be benefiting Marriott. We can kvetch all we want, but we're Demosthenes-like in many ways.
Alas we are.
I seem to be on a roll here, being able to post from Venice (maybe the hotel signal is unusually strong -- though that doesn't explain why I have problems with Marriott alone both in other places and even at the college, which has a very strong signal).
I think Anadyr you hit the nail on the head. Through expedia, orbitz, tingo, small luxury hotels of the world, etc., we have enormous choices at lower prices and can get exactly what we want where we want. I'm right now at one of the SLHW, though I did it on booking.com. Orbitz, expedia, and hotels.com are all adding loyalty points to stays, and you can stay anywhere if you book through them.
I still can't believe I'm getting through. This is unprecedented!
aren't most loyalty programs for hotels and airlines 'tweaked' for benefiting the corporate and not the consumer? I think its an industry trend and not just the marriott entity. I know it differs in every situation, but for me - most of my hotel stays are for work and we have to use our corporate travel website for the hotel reservations - hence priceline/hotels.com is not an option. That being said, for my personal travel, i enjoy using my points (devalued as they are) for free hotel stays - with the exception of resort fees or parking fees etc. I have on occasion used hotels.com and other sites for personal stays when there was not a marriott property available for points redemption in the area i wanted to stay in.
The MR program might not be the best one out there, but it is convenient, especially given the sheer number of properties that are available.
in my limited experience, i think anytime i have had an issue with a property, someone from marriott has come through to resolve it. Obviously, i'd like to see a more consistent experience across the brand, especially in the service that elites (hence loyal to the brand) members recieve, but perhaps i am still holding on to the hope that the change will come. In the end, i think it becomes a question of when to cut the cord. I have a lot of coworkers and friends who swear by hyatt and spg, but my experiences have been mixed at some of those properties as well, and generally (not always though) i have seen marriott more responsive to individual feedback.
I agree and as I've stated several times, Marriott at the property level is consistently excellent and on the rare occasions there is a mix up of service, they are superb at resolving the problem (almost to the point that you hope for a mix up). Hopefully without jinxing it, similarly, I have always found the customer service reps (especially on the plat line) to be in the aggregate, superb and very effective (on the rare occasion I get a novice or a 'bad day' rep, I just thank them, tell them I have another call and call back getting the usual competence).
Where I do grow aggravated is at the corporate level management of the rewards program, at times a bit too 'slick' for my preferences; it's their program, they can do as they please and live with whatever, if any consequences, it's their explanations that rub me the wrong way at times. Knowing how the current corporate culture is, a similar 'arms length' approach is required by me in order to optimize my travel. This forum is an invaluable tool in aiding that optimization. The fact that I (and numerous others) wouldn't have received an 'unexpected mega bonus' had it not been for this forum is a case in point. The gift cheque cancellation is another example of ineffective communication (I didn't use them, so I'm commenting about the communication, not the benefit) and there are several other examples highlighted in this very forum.
IMO to combat this new approach, we need to have our travel game face on and I get concerned we lose valuable members when they grow increasingly frustrated over the lack of response from Marriott - they are right, but so is the guy who walks with the light and gets hit by a car (it still hurts), being right is overrated. I'm just trying to encourage contributors to redirect their energy from feeling angry and hurt over Marriott's behavior and instead remain focused on making the most out of our travel.
I agree, and do try to make travel as good as it can be. One of the issues is that I no longer try to maximize points for s stay. In what way you ask - I dont dine in the restaurant or order room service. Dont park at the hotel. Dont go to spa. Tell my colleagues, stay where you want, we dont need to be in same hotel. So what does Marriott get from me? Spend on the room (plus taxes) for me only, none from my colleagues (often 5 to 6 people I have along for me for my work), and no ancilliary spend. Loyalty programs are owned by Marriott, but the total spend is mine and they lose several hunderd to thousand dollars each stay. I am not mean spirited, but if loyalty and value gets eroded, I have only one way to show my displeasure and disagreement. I wish Marriott would re consider many of the last 2 years of benefits erosion, but I dont expect they will, so I do what I do, and all they will see is less revenue. That is capitalism in a nutshell.
I have been a platinum member for 7 years and 500+ stays under my belt. One may think the grass is greener at SPG or Hilton (100+ and 75+ nights respectively). That is not always the case. Yes individual hotels matter, but-- the consistency that I find with Marriott domestic and overseas is unmatched. There are better and less expensive other brands and boutiques around the world, but it comes down to customer service, I have always been treated royally --one small exception that was rectified-- I am never told no. I feel special. I feel when I talk to the GM I am taken seriously and acted on. When I ask to order off menu there are no issues. When I check in at 9 A.M. I am never told no. In fact, when my co workers who are HHonors or SPG Platinum check in with me the are treated as my guests. I ask the why they don't take the plunge to Marriott the response is "75 stays that seems like a lot". It is, but nothing good is cheap and nothing cheap is good.
Thank you Marriott for making my life away from my family feel more comfortable. There is always a better deal somewhere, but for sheer value and consistency, I choose Marriott.
I look forward to a small getaway with my wife and I in Athens in July.