One thing that I am not is bored with Insiders. Just a little disappointed in the direction of the posts (sorry for the offense if anyone take one or it), and the realization that something cannot last forever, except perhaps my waistline and forgetfulness.
My two cents for a world series night (Boston Strong!)
If you'll allow a swift change in currency, I'll add my sixpenny worth.
I first came to this site about four years ago. The attraction was of course the subject of hotels; it would have been unreasonable to expect a site under the Marriott banner not to have this focus. What I enjoyed for the best part of two years, though, was the willingness to understand "hotels" not just as an issue of price, facilities and service, important though these clearly were and are; what was different, for me at least, was the interest in looking at hotels also as an entry ticket to the location, culture, heritage and history in which they were located. It was this aspect of the site that:
a) Gave the site a global feel to it;
b) Compensated for the otherwise repetitive and tedious moaning about "upgrades", "lounges", "breakfasts" and the like.
Sadly, around eighteen months ago a decision was taken somewhere to give the site a much narrower focus on hotel reviews. As a direct consequence, it seems to me, the site also took on a much stronger US-centric focus. How could this not be the case when over 80% of Marriott establishments are in the Americas.
I'm willing to accept that the promised changes to the architecture and organisation of the site may bring about a marginal change in this situation, but I do not believe it will change the prevailing mindset.
Slvia Plath's sonnet entitled "Ennui" begins with,
Tea leaves thwart those who court catastrophe,
designing futures where nothing will occur.
A bit drastic I know but there is a need to return to the basis of the site, IMHO. The new Insiders is wandering, full of long posts and answers to posts that branch into the nether regions. Coupled with contests, and the like, it has lost its glamour (note the spelling) for me and I suspect others. Facebook and the rest of the the social media sites wander, but that is their ken. I wish Insiders could be self regulating, but I fear it cannot and will not. Alas and alack...but then nothing is forever.
I have been remiss in posting my travel tales this year, in favor of lazily descending into the habit of light banter for my own amusement. In a humble effort to return to purpose, I have tendered a travel post for your perusal. San Diego Visit, Fall 2013.
I have been fortunate to have been able to travel a lot this past year, indeed my most traveled year to date, and likely to be my most traveled year ever, though I am no predictor of the future. In the near future, though my travels will continue, they will not include hotel stays or likely points of widespread interest (to wit the link in this reply), as I will - as was the case this weekend past - be traveling heavily in purpose to visit family.
I look forward to reading your future travel posts as well, my traveling friend and sometimes neighbor.
As a peer community, the conversations are what we collectively make of them and add to them through sharing our insights, personal experiences and helping to answer questions from peers. With the community navigation changes coming in just a few short weeks (A preview of coming improvements based upon the community’s feedback) I can say that the site is even more focused on travel conversations and insights with a global perspective in mind. Our member-written hotel reviews feature was released this year and we're proud to see the overall activity with reviews since over 90% of our worldwide hotels have reviews.
One can appreciate, enjoy, and utilize the reviews (as I have) while greatly disliking the impact of them on the forum (similar to the baseball stories). Taking pride in the 90% coverage might be going a bit far as it relates to the Insider forum mechanics and value. That coverage is an example of the difference between data and information. Many reviews are of little value - "great spot to stay, I'd stay again" etc, while others are posted through a vehicle unrelated to Insider participation by folks that for whatever reason, participate no further. I appreciate the value (and respect Marriott's right - it's your site) of expanding the Insider mailing list, but it's not to be confused with increased participation of ideas about travel. That's why I too join the 'wait and see' crowd about how effective the change is toward flowing us back to the valuable travel tool the site once was. I still value the site, but it's more of a chore these days.
Hopefully the rollout will be more successful than other websites we've been reading about since 1 October
Sure, that's fair - and to help clarify a bit, we're not saying the changes coming in our next release is a silver bullet of any kind to cure all ailments. In fact, I suspect the community will echo much of the same feedback and suggestions as your current and previous stewards after seeing the same upcoming changes. I mention the release to reiterate that we do value everyone's participation with discussions, reviews, and yes hopefully both, and we'll continue to take your feedback to heart and make your experience more and more intuitive (here's a quick tease... a mobile offering for the Insiders community isn't too far off either!).