I agree with you about the need for travelers and specifically Insiders to realize, as you put it, the concept of 'supply and demand' but from a macro perspective (economic trend and environment) as well as micro (event). The lodging industry has always been a demand oriented pricing service. As blava's example demonstrates, whether it be a Cisco Convention, a Super Bowl, a World Series type event, or a greater demand from travelers, due to economic rebound or additional participants, seeking a tighter supply of rooms due to lack of inventory build up over the past six years, the cost of travel will be determined by the ability to price it, not the consumers' desires or perceived level of fairness.
One of those costs is of course, loyalty program benefits. An industry leader like Marriott, that has pricing down to a science (literally), and effectively maximizes incremental revenue while increasing revpar, (revenue per available room) by pricing different bed, view, floor, space, length of stay, day, and numerous other demand segments, is not going to be (as we have observed) too eager to give away anything without seeing a worthwhile return, for the major reason - they don't have to. They, of course, smart business operators that they are, are not going to exert energy to deliberately irritate and aggravate their customers, so attempts are understandably made to interact with the customer to at least mollify the concerns (ironically, this was where Marriott was initially weakest, but by backing off from explaining/defending, and instead just empathizing, have become less likely to incite customer uprisings).
So, all of my wandering above brings me back to blava007's title of his post - There's no need for Loyal MRI Customers with Status. Insert the word Current, and I completely agree. I encourage Insiders to acknowledge that Marriott (as has been shown by two years of increased profits, revpar, and stock price) currently has no need for the individual 'elite' traveler and we therefore work as group directing our efforts toward enhancing each others' travel experiences with that reality in mind.
From the event's Website:
Be a part of the largest gathering of Cisco customers, experts, and partners anywhere in the world, May 18-22 in San Francisco.
Join us for more than 600 sessions, nine amazing keynotes, more than 200 of Cisco’s top partners, and a customer appreciation event you’ll never forget! Celebrate 25 years of Cisco Live.
eh nothing new really, everything is expensive in san francisco and mostly always busy with many people flying in for business during weekdays and tourists during weekends. Thats how the bay area rolls around here. Im surprised the Ritz is cheaper than most of the other ones haha
oh and dont forget the 60 or 70 bucks for parking a day.
So I'm here in San Fran this week and can tell you that there were 25000 people in the John Chambers keynote address yesterday and I believe another 10k folks in town for the event on various levels (Cisco employees, vendors, other registered types of folks). Early on in the registration period you could get rooms through the conference or direct for mid $200 range but that quickly ramped up into the $300 range. Looking for a room in SF proper right now, yeah those rates don't surprise me as they appear to be rack rates for hotels that are completely sold out. I suspect if you were to look on Hilton, Starwoods, heck even Holiday Inn, you'd find similar results. I have met a lot of folks that are staying across the bay or near the airport simply because they could not find rooms in the city, so perhaps you are being extended your loyalty benefits of getting a room but seeing the downside to that platinum override of paying whatever the prevailing rate is for the room.
By the time my company decided to come to the event the rooms were in the $300 range so we just used airbnb and rented a house. Its a very easy walk to the conference and was less than the cost of a single room. There's 3 of us here so we'll spend the difference in having nicer meals
Next year the event is in San Diego for the US, book early if you want to be in that area during the event and for our EU folks, Milan will be getting the same sort of influx of folks in Jan 2015 again.
Exactly ks77, this is one of our most potent weapons (along with skiadcock's list of weekend breakfasts) and Marriott is trying their darndest to counter it. Fortunately competitive pressure (supply and demand works both ways) keeps them from completely eliminating it like the airlines non-refund pricing, but more and more properties are just tossing rates in the grid ten and eleven months out (that's why you see $999 and $9,999 default prices more and more, they are following the letter of the policy by allowing booking eleven months out, but not the spirit).
Hmmm...I did not realize that. Thanks for the heads up. I understand businesses are out to make money and as customers we have the ability to choose what fits our needs best. IMHO, if you alienate your best customers by pricing too aggressively you will suffer in the long run. Short gains from properties jacking up room rates and capitalizing on events in their city will be outweighed by the long term effects of leisure and business travelers alike when they go to book and think to themselves...Hey wait a minute...that place really hosed me last time I don't think I am going to book there. Just my opinion.
I've got a different take on this, having needed to be in cities where all rooms are booked for a large event. Marriott will guaranty that Plats can get a room with 48 hours notice. Granted, it will be at the full rate, but sometimes, being able to have a room will trump price. The 48 hour guaranty is one of the best perks, IMO. I use it about twice a year. Rather than feeling alienated, I am thankful for this benefit.
Also, those who pay more on the most desirable nights more or less subsidize those of us who snag low rates on off-peak days. Would you rather a hotel charge $200 every night, or charge $300 when there is greater demand and make $100 nights available to us during quieter periods? You can't have one without the other. It works both ways.
If you are traveling for leisure, would you really want to be in SF when there is a mega-conference going on? Trust me, I've been there during Oracle Live, and it's not fun. Union Square is so crowded you cannot walk. Restaurants run over an hour late on reservations. Everything has long lines. For vacation travel, give me an SF day without the crowds!
The key line, "the needs are different". Cjkatl's value in having a guaranteed room is in the offsetting revenue/business goal advancement of his trip and makes sound business practice. What I am observing (and not with a negative attitude, but rather a hardnosed shoeman supply and demand reality) is that Marriott due to the remarkable demand growth is successfully squeezing the 'quiet' period rates more and more, which brings me back to ks77's counter strategy of booking 'em when you can.
Business travel - cost/value analysis
Leisure travel - sweat equity generating best rates available
Insider forum - sharing what works each way. Go man, go.
To be perfectly clear, as soon as I know I need to be in a city on a certain date, I make a reservation. Once I find out exactly where I need to be, I change the reservation. Sometimes, though, prices have increased to the point where I just leave my original reservation in place. Every so often, though, I don't have much notice and need to utilize the Platinum Override.