19 Replies Latest reply: Jun 23, 2013 10:52 AM by erc RSS

The end of an era for Marriott

superchief1 Platinum
Currently Being Moderated

With the downgrade of the platinum award program, today marks the end of an era for Marriott. This was the final remaining benefit that made a loyal customer feel special and appreciated, and allowed hotels to provide individualized welcome gifts to create memorable first impressions. The $10 F&B credit is a slap in the face and another indication that current MR management has no clue regarding the financial impact of loyal customers.

 

I joined the original Marquis program several years ago, earned lifetime platinum, and purchased 5 weeks (plus DC points) of timeshares. Although I was never a true road warrior, I traveled frequently and impacted  decisions for others in the group. Until recently, Marriott properties represented over 80% of our hotel stays. The MR program was a primary reason because I always felt appreciated. Some of the most influential program benefits included:

  • Guaranteed rooms
  • Upgrades
  • CL access with breakfast, snacks, wine (complimentary or reasonably priced)
  • Welcome gifts (my usual is merlot and fruit/pretzels)
  • BOGO (We often took weekend trips and ate in the hotel restaurants due to this offer, and no longer do this at all)
  • $1000 checks for 135kpoints
  • Dinner for 2 certificates
  • 10-20% dining discount (This discount made dining in a Marriott more comparable to other restaurants in the area). Now we seldom dine in Marriott restaurants
  • Valuable rewards (110k for 7 nights at any resort worldwide, 2 RT airline tickets, 1 week Hertz rental
  • Most importantly: I always was treated like the hotel/ company appreciated my business

 

In recent years since Bill Marriott has reduced involvement and Ed French has taken over the MR program, every valuable benefit has been reduced or eliminated. A few were added, but most of these are also offered by every other chain and non are personalized in any way. Now I am just another number, and no longer have any reason to choose Marriott over any other chain. This is a real shame because Marriott was the leader in realizing that making customers feel special enhances their growth and profitability. The bean counting philosophy today only considers short term profits, but loses sight of the longer term impact of losing their most loyal customers. I am just fortunate to have enjoyed many years of benefits of an excellent program and memorable travel experiences. In the future, I will choose my hotels based on price, location, and amenities. Marriott, you have now become a commodity.

-

(For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: The end of an era for Marriott
    erc Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    Superchief, my brother from another mother

    I had just finished the following humongous post (bear with me Insiders, I'm only working off of a continental breakfast ) in response to a new member who asked why don't resorts provide breakfasts for elites; well by time I had typed my response, hundreds of new posts went up and apparently, I'm not clever enough to find the post I was responding to . (Marriott's masterplan is working!). So, with apologies to the length, I'll park it here, because at essentially the same time we were thinking the same thing. We few, we happy (?) few, we band of brothers. Hang in there Insiders, like the Chief says - Arms Length, but let's keep sharing the ideas.

     

    Resorts (which many are in name only) do not include breakfast for the same reason that:

     

    Concierge Lounges aren't open on weekends

    BOGOs have gone the way of the Tasmanian Tiger

    Courtyard doesn't offer free lounge coffee anymore

    Welcome check in amenity gift joined BOGOs

    $1,000 gift cheques went from 135k to 255k points

    Hotel categories supposedly based on redemption, had 28 pages of increases, 1 page of decrease

    Plat premier status qualification remains a mystery

    Plat premier other than darker card and shaving kit bag has same benefits as platinum

    You pay for parking at more and more suburban properties

    Etc. etc. etc. There's more, (use the search box above) but lunch is calling.


    The reason in a nutshell - because that's what Marriott wants and they have customers and financial performance to more than replace any customers who leave over it. Be careful of using a customer service oriented logic when it comes to attempting to understand the erosion of reward benefits, it's a gordian knot.

     

    Fortunately Marriott still provides, for the most part, excellent service at the property level and we have this forum (albeit diluted with the recent tsunami of baseball stories and reviews - I fear the next distraction will be a photo contest, like on Facebook), for sharing ideas on how to optimize travel given the reality of lacking any consumer leverage. Welcome aboard, come on in, the water's fine.

     

    Here's a little ditty that pretty much sums it all up

    To the tune of Master of the House from my favorite play - Les Miserables


    Welcome Rewards, sit yourself down

    See Freddie's winner, the best in town

    As for the rest, all of them tools

    Trailing our lead, and following the rules


    Seldom do you see

    Anything for free

    A plan of such design

    That's content to be


    Master of your perks, doling out the charm

    Giving you improvements, that might do some harm

    Spin a juicy tale, creates a little fuss

    F & B credit, makes a purchase a must

    Likes to always change the bennies

    Doesn't cost us to be nice

    Enhancements get you little

    As we often jack up your price


    Master of your perks, keeper of your stays

    Ready to raise categories any day

    Take away your wine, giving you some points

    Bistro coffee costs and you now must pay

      Everybody loves a resort

       Everybody pays the fee

       Strap the title on the building

        And it raises our P.E.

     

    Master of the perks, quick to take your cash

    Better book 'em now, because the deals won't last

    Lodger to the loyal, courter of the new

    200 nights a year and it's premier for you

      That's unless we just decide not to

       That's unless we change our mind

    But if you save up your points,

    They'll lose their value, you will find !

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: The end of an era for Marriott
      skiadcock Platinum 4 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      Well done erc on the Marriott Les Miz lyrics.

       

      Cheers.

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: The end of an era for Marriott
      stelzer001 Platinum 2 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      Erc and superchief11: I had done a post like this last year, and echo many of your sentiments. I am just shy of the # of nights for lifetime PLT. Once that is done, probably Q3 or 4 this year, I will do a status match at another major chain and try that one out and see if the grass is greener. I did the same with UA and now fly another carrier, and have found it better or equal. I know I have a choice in travel, and since the loyalty programs have become transactional, I will exercise my choice.

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: The end of an era for Marriott
      shashack Platinum 4 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      Well done erc!   Entertaining and thought provoking.   

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: The end of an era for Marriott
      jerrycoin Alumni Steward Platinum 60 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      erc,

       

      So well done!  Sadly, so true!

       

      Marriott's targeting a newer, younger, tech savvy generation! 

       

      I am afraid, I really don't fit their bill!

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

      • Re: The end of an era for Marriott
        erc Platinum
        Currently Being Moderated

        Aah yes, but paraphrasing Kathy Bates in Fried Green Tomatoes, "we're older and have more insurance" . We'll get by. As stated by many, we're now all free agents, a whole new travel world is open to us. Keep on keepin' Insiders.

        (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

        • Re: The end of an era for Marriott
          eb5147 Alumni Steward Platinum 7 Reviews
          Currently Being Moderated

          I love that scene!!!  Not always true since they sometimes are on their parents' insurance, but funny just the same after their smug actions. 

          (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

          • Re: The end of an era for Marriott
            jerrycoin Alumni Steward Platinum 60 Reviews
            Currently Being Moderated

            eb,

             

            Never saw the movie, but it sure sounds funny!

            (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

            • Re: The end of an era for Marriott
              erc Platinum
              Currently Being Moderated

              Hope you get to see this, it may not be able to stay up very long.

               

              Parking Lot Rage Scene from Fried Green Tomatoes Movie (1991) | MOVIECLIPS

              (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

              • Re: The end of an era for Marriott
                jerrycoin Alumni Steward Platinum 60 Reviews
                Currently Being Moderated

                erc,

                 

                Thanks so much for sharing this!

                 

                Will have to see this movie!

                 

                We have all experienced this situation!

                (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

                • Re: The end of an era for Marriott
                  eb5147 Alumni Steward Platinum 7 Reviews
                  Currently Being Moderated

                  Well, I have to tell you that I wasn't crazy about the movie and that's really the only scene I remember.  But then, Gone With the Wind has never even appealed to me. 

                   

                  It did let everyone know about fried green tomatoes, which can really be delicious.

                  (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

      • Re: The end of an era for Marriott
        superchief1 Platinum
        Currently Being Moderated

        Jerry,

        You are right regarding Marriott now focusing on attracting the younger generation. However, I think my adult daughters and their friends would prefer being appreciated as a loyal and appreciated customer rather than hotels having hip lobbies and bistro breakfasts. My daughters and their friends have traveled with us a lot over the years and have always been impressed by the platinum amenities and excellent service. They are not at all impressed by the new Courtyards, and are as concerned about value/ service as much as we are. In fact, they will have less disposable income than we enjoyed, so cost will become even more important.

         

        Marriott forgets that many of its lifetime platinum members have adult children who look to us for advice regarding travel: both business and pleasure.

        (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

        • Re: The end of an era for Marriott
          jerrycoin Alumni Steward Platinum 60 Reviews
          Currently Being Moderated

          superchief,

           

          You are so right!

           

          Your daughters represent a new generation, that really wants the same quality of life that we have wanted, and appreciated!

           

          Thinking back on my loyalty to Hyatt and HI, prior to moving it to Marriott.

           

          Changes in the marketplace are just normal, and can happen again for all of us!

          (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

        • Re: The end of an era for Marriott
          eb5147 Alumni Steward Platinum 7 Reviews
          Currently Being Moderated

          Yes.  Our children have known about things that I never knew.  The only type of motel I knew growing up were the old timey drive-up to the door types.  (That's still pretty much all we could find in the interior of OR.)

          (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: The end of an era for Marriott
    superchief1 Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    Marriott previously recognized the importance of customer's first impression when checking into a hotel for a business or pleasure stay. Being recognized at check-in and receiving the platinum amenity (often with a personal note from the manager) illustrated that I was a valued customer and made my stays more enjoyable. Now I feel like a number in their database and every amenity has strings attached or represents another revenue generating opportunity. 

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: The end of an era for Marriott
      tommelzoni Platinum 3 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      My life has been with Marriott just completing my 2200 nights in my life. Sad to see such a great service group lower the standards and now give us cereal as a reward. It seems it is time to check out the other great goups like Hyatt, Hilton(I am a Diamond) and Starwood. Marriott is losing its touch and the new policy is unacceptable to me. Heartbroken to have given my loyalty to them to receive this type of downgrade.

       

      Sad day at Marriott...

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: The end of an era for Marriott
      erc Platinum
      Currently Being Moderated

       

      superchief

       

      Congratulations on a terrific, cogent, and insightful post - you've certainly struck a nerve as witnessed by the phenomenal interaction (19 likes, 19 replies over 590 views as of this reply) in a period that an Insider must really make an effort wading thru the plethora of reviews.

      As a marketing expert, your knowledge of consumer behavior is dead on and I have written numerous times about Marriott's apparent lack of interest in at least professionally responding (and I don't specifically mean in this case, this is just our summation of previous missed opportunities) to the many, many very legitimate and calmly (and I'm discussing the calm ones, which were hundreds; not the flamers) stated concerns about just what you discuss above - the eroding, if not lack of, customer loyalty recognition, specifically from Headquarters (again, most properties remain excellent at understanding the symbiotic relationship).


      Well anyway to get to my point (the crowd, those still left, let out a scream of FINALLY!). I've been following this link over at Flyertalk  about banning sharkfin soup. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/marriott-rewards-including-ritz-carlton/1475394-marriott-please-ban-sharkfin-your-menus.html

       

      Now without us getting into our own discussion over the topic (it's well covered by FT) take a look at pages 5-7 where Jay Hamilton the Marriott Associate gets involved. This is how we all grew to appreciate and become loyal to Marriott. Thoughtful interaction between the company and its customers. Boy, if we could have only had more effective communication between Marriott operators and us (and I'm not talking about Andy, Michellel, et al. - they're in a no win position). Had Marriott spent more time walking us through the changes without blowing smoke up our dress ("Elites didn't really know about Bogos, our customers prefer buying coffee" etc etc) sure, many would never be satisfied, but I'm confident, given by definition, the hardnosed experience of the road warrior, a better understanding would have been reached, beneficial to all parties. 


      Oh well, I've gone thru my stages of denial and bargaining (I skipped anger and depression, there's much bigger things in our lives and no lost benefit is worth that) and now actually am somewhat relieved to be a 'free agent'. I still have several upcoming Marriott trips on my 2013 travel schedule, but now I also have a cruise, two non-Marriott timeshares, and believe it or not four nights in Non-Marriott properties.

      I'm also a lot better travel mate with my buds, no longer obnoxiously insisting on Marriott only stays! So, we all move on - but let's keep this gang together and keep sharing the ideas, a little spice of different stays might just be what the doctor ordered.



      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: The end of an era for Marriott
    indypharmer Platinum 4 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Superchief, Jerry, and all - excellent points.  To the point on catering to a new generation I completely see this.  I am old enough to have done a significant volume of travel for work over many years, but still consider myself young enough to appreciate what the intentions of "improvement" are.  I think those posting in this thread understand and all agree that regardless of what kind of technology or glamor you offer all of your guests, there is no substitute for that one on one human interaction, that hand shake or smile and sincere "thanks for coming back here again this month sir, we love having you while you're away from home".  Age has nothing to do with the tangible emotion you can foster in customers - people of all ages know what it feels like to be appreciated - sadly Marriott has not grasped that fundamental aspect of service.  As Platinums (or Mega-Super-Top-Secret-Platinums) we have made a conscious choice for loyalty - a choice of where to spend our time away from our homes and families.  I think some empathy beyond just looking at how much you paid for a room can go a long way.  A lot further than a $10 F&B credit.  Oh, and just a side note, the Courtyard I frequent most for work just raised the price of Market beers to $5.50 so your $10 credit can only get you one.  Talk about the true last straw.....

     

    In the end, Marriott has done a lot right by me and my travels and for reasons I can only partially explain, I remain hopeful that something can be done.  For starters, please go back to the old beer price so my F&B credit can stretch a single into a double....

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: The end of an era for Marriott
      jerrycoin Alumni Steward Platinum 60 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      indypharmer,

       

      So well put!

       

      Yes, please go back to the "Old beer price", but I don't think it is going to happen!

       

      Thanks for your comments!

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

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