I find it interesting that four Hilton properties and only one Marriott (Renaissance Downtown) received the AAA four diamond rating in the Columbus area. Have all of the cutbacks started to impact Marriott's overall quality and customer service? I have noticed some declines recently. I hope this trend doesn't continue.
I was surprised by this report. I had previously avoided Hilton and Embassy Suites because of their inconsistency and older properties. Marriott had always provided better rooms and usually a better experience. However, some of the older Marriott properties are losing their luster, and the fact that Marriotts are owned by various companies, the consistency is no longer there.
Theser are some of my thoughts regarding quality of Marriott properties:
1. The focus recently has been on lobbies and public areas, but the rooms haven't been updated. An example is the Irvine Marriott. The lobby recently had an expensive remodeling and is really nice. However, the furniture has been removed from rooms and the bathrooms are showing their age. The same can be said for most Courtyards and several other Marriotts.
2. There is very inconsistent quality based on the company who actually owns the hotels.
3. Marriott appears to be focused on international expansion and adding new acquisitions rather than updating and assuring quality in their flagship brands.
4. The focus on millenials has distracted their recognition regarding what business travelers really want: updated clean, quiet rooms; friendly service; reasonable food/beverage options, good fitness facilities (a priority for me), and appreciation for loyalty.
Have others observed these same trends?
Yes, I see some of this. I try to avoid Courtyards. When I see new lobby, I don't stay because I know it means old rooms. I have, for one reason or another found myself at Hilton properties from time to time, and with no elite status, receive freebies, like bottled water.
To support your inconsistency remarks, the Residence Inn in Elizabeth, NJ, is one of the nicest places you could ever stay. The Residence Inn is Somers Point is a polar opposite.
With Courtyards, I've been to several properties that have very fresh furniture, but even those hotels have such a boring look and there the same no matter what city you are in, I just don't like them.
The only real difference I see with the nicer, fresher Courtyards is that they feature the red bed scarf.
In terms of what I've seen, I think the customer service is still very good and better than Hilton and significantly better than Starwood. Marriott rooms are pretty dated. There are some good Renaissance rooms and some JW Marriott rooms, but the SF Marriott Marquis recently renovated their rooms and they are not actually much of an improvement.
I think if you want a nice room, you might just have to stay at one of their newer/future properties (JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek, Washington DC Marriott Marquis, JW Marriott Austin) or ones that get updated a la Travel Brilliantly.
I think the key is the company that owns the hotels. The Hiltons here in Columbus are really nice and have excellent service, and I believe at least two have the same owner. The Easton and Polaris properties are relatively new. When I lived in Kansas City, the new Courtyard in Briarcliff was a great property and I think was owned by the same developer as other hotels/retail properties in the area. I've also stayed in some very tired Marriott properties where the same developer owned FS, Residence Inns, and Springhill and all had the same issues.
Brand standards are difficult to maintain when the owning companies have varying quality standards and concerns about customers and employees.