I am a Marriott Rewards Elite status member. In the past 2 years, my company spent almost $80k in lodging for my business travels at Marriott properties. My rewards profile says I require a feather-free room, and so does my travel agency profile. So why is it that most properties seem to IGNORE the request upon check-in? I checked and found that in 10 stays only 20% of the properties had prepared a feather-free room for me. Why? They always say "I see you are a Marriott Rewards member " upon check-in...so how come the computer systems don't pass along the feather-free requirement as well? Sometimes they tell me it's feather-free...but it's not and then I have to wait hours and hours for someone to come and fix it. Many times I have been told that there were no feather-free pillows in the hotel...so I would close the feather pillows up in the bathroom and sleep (poorly) on a folded-up cotton bath towel. To prevent these poor customer service events, I have started calling the property in advance of my arrival to point-out the preference. As an Elite member, I resent the fact that I have to do MORE work to ensure that Marriott franchise owners look at their computer systems more carefully.
Marriott - this is a HUGE problem. Please work with your franchise operators and hotel operations staff to correct this issue. You should treat a Feather-free request with the same level of diligence as a request for a handicap-accessible room. A feather-free request should always be accommodated with soft, fluffy non-feather pillows...not the hard, flat, should-have-already-been-thrown-away pillows I normally receive. For some of us, feathers create medical conditions, and the request should be treated accordingly.
Does anyone else agree with me?
As you can see from the MORE LIKE THIS column in the orange over to the right - many folks agree with you. This has been discussed, "passed along" to Marriott, and yet still remains a problem. Marriott is essentially unable to accomplish the customer service task of having their property operators execute this properly.
Unfortunately, until (if) they do, the only way to increase (still not a complete guarantee they'll effectively implement at the property) your odds of getting feather-free pillows is to deal direct with each and every property. As Marriott continues to push operating decisions down to the op level, we have all discovered the need, more and more, to initiate contact and/or follow up at the property level for numerous aspects of our stay.
You are right on the $$, the more communication I have with the individual property the better results I get.
It's a shame as marriottbiztravelerfan reminds us of how far down the customer service pole some (and that's a growing list) properties have fallen in refusing to recognize situations where they could gain so much (I won't mention the Surprise Party issue). Just a small item being done for the customer such as a foam pillow if they like or big issue such as getting the feather free room correct for those who want/need them certainly makes a statement and puts a smile on the customers face.
Your post reminded me of another reason for Marriott to take notice. I have been Hilton Silver for 10 years or so because I have a Hilton-branded AMEX card that I use exclusively at Costco for purchases and gas. I haven't stayed at a Hilton property on business for 8 years, but had a recent occasion to use points for a free Hilton room in Roanoke, VA. To my surprise, we entered the room to see nicely stacked extra towels and extra non-feather pillows at the end of the bed. Apparently my profile was still setup for the preference and they provided the service.
Again...in case you missed the irony...I am SILVER and haven't spent one dime at a Hilton property in 8 YEARS!! If Hilton can do it, what's the problem Marriott?!? To be honest, it definitely makes me think about switching brand allegiance...
Hilton and Starwood are just as bad. I travel weekly and mix it up between mainly SPG and Marriott and sprinkle in Hilton's every once in a while. SPG seems to be better because I have an Ambassador who calls ahead to the property for me instead of me having to make the call as with Marriott and I'd say I've had around a 30-40% success rate at getting a feather free room with them at first time upon check-in. Marriott is definitely down around the 10-20%. No status with Hilton, but I've had about 50/50 luck with them (over maybe 4 or 5 stays in the last 12-18 months). It's a major industry issue.