Here's another nice article about Marriott's understandable strategy to "Woo the Millennial" through high tech, high touch lodging experiences.
jakeal, jm1991, kbscubadiver and kharada46 and others of the golden mean, please continue participating in Insiders, letting us know what you like, because that's where we're headed. I will want to get on the bandwagon and start liking it too - but see, this is why I warn you guys about getting all excited about badges - Marriott will see that it pleases you and think they have added a significant "enhancement" .
As many of us have written from both generations, it's no surprise that we share many of the same lodging desires (some variation in cost/benefit analysis, but we all want pleasant experiences and excellent service).
What caught my eye in the article, and something I have observed over the Sorenson era, is how Marriott appears to be moving more into being a 'pioneer' (Bill used to always say, "there's a lot of dead pioneers" as he guided the company toward enormous success through effective adaptation and execution). I must admit, Sorenson's strategy is working, as virtually all economic measurements are at record highs for the company - so we Insiders better improvise and adapt if we want to overcome (and by overcome, I mean optimize our travel experience against the industry leverage, not specifically against Marriott).
Extra credit assignment - read and you will be entered in a contest where you could win a free waffle at your next SpringHill stay.
This article discusses how companies are moving (some are already there) toward offering different prices at different web sites and/or to different customers. This combined with my observation above about Marriott being more aggressive about being an innovator, along with their already remarkable pricing algorithm (they can tell competitor prices by the property, by the day), somewhat frightens me, a deal seeker. I'm already starting to set up different computers to "Take on the Man" and his Marriott Matrix.
Keep on keepin' on Insiders, keep those ideas coming, when it comes to travel vs. the machine, we all hang together or we hang alone.
Thanks for post erc. As usual, very insightful. I recently stayed at a Courtyard in Fishkill, NY, for four nights. Really chose to stay there since all other Marriott properties in that immediate vicinity have seen better days. The room was great, large, clean, quiet (except for the early morning traffic noise from I-84). The lobby was modern with many, many, electrical outlets and even booths with individual TVs. A millennials dream? However, when I passed through it many times during my stay, I noticed that there were as many senior types gathered in the lobby as millennials. Common ground perhaps? Obviously, an unscientific poll, but still an indication that at least some Marriott "innovations" appeal to both classes of guest. Now I like a lot of electrical outlets and flat screen TVs, but prefer them in my room as opposed to the lobby, especially since I can't yell at the TV talking heads freely. Even when I was actively working, most of the stuff I was involved with required a measure of privacy without TVs and being exposed to the "world." But I really do like all those outlets!
1) I've had a Residence Inn waffle - tasty. I used SpringHill for the contest because I didn't want anyone complaining that I directed them to an only 5 points per dollar locale .
2) I'm just proud that I can drive a rental car without a key - that's my tech accomplishment for this decade .
I'm like you, I like most all the cool stuff the millennials like, I just want it in my room in my pj's .
Thanks for sharing the articles, erc! Pretty interesting stuff in that WSJ article.
Interesting, somewhat; frightening to us consumers - YES.
You go knock on D. Roberts door down the hall and I'll bet you one of those $3.50, on the hotel room coffee stand, bottles of Fiji water (which the $10 F & B credit aren't allowed to be used for ) that those boys are already toying with the prototype. I have already run into a similar scenario where I saw the Ventura Beach Marriott priced at "from $135" only to click on the blue Select button and find four nights at $151. I had to call the Plat Line in order to book the $151,151,135,135 (weekend) rate (they didn't find it at first either, until we split them up into two reservations and then recombined them).
Great post erc
I totally agree with your statement about the badges program! Let me be the first to say that I think the idea is dumb. My original post about the topic was just to find out who was using it. Who in there right mind would ever try to "collect" the Fairfield Inn Badge????? Nothing against FI, I stayed in one for several months and was treated wonderfully! But now, when I can stay at a courtyard for around the same price or the courtyard is closer to my work or destination and get 400 points for checking in vs. 25 points for collecting a badge... Im going to the Courtyard EVERY TIME!! If Marriott made the badges worth 100's of points each I would be all over it!!
Ya know, I knew bejacob was one of the 'likers' of the above post.
I believe you b.e., you're not enamored with the badges !
See you Friday
That's right erc.Not enamored. Just picking up whatever my travels allow. kbscubadiver nailed it. The 400 Platinum welcome points at CY are a much better option than chasing badges. The points on badges just don't justify making an effort.
On my upcoming trip, I'll actually add 2 badges(Marriott and RI), but even better, I'll get to use 2 category 4 certificates (from last fall) covering 2 of my 3 nights at the Arlington RI, and earn 10k bonus points (for my 4 separate paid stays) from the double secret special Insider bonus known as "August Points." Oh, and a oceanview room at a category 9 property (CY Ocean City) for a C-note. As I see it, those three things are a win-win-win.
Badges, what badges?
I'm looking forward to Friday as well.
erc, thanks for sharing the two articles. While I do value being "connected" and could be accused of living and dying with my smartphone; no level of bells and whistles trumps good ol' fashioned customer service in my book. May make me an outlier in my generation, but I don't think so. While the mobile chargers mentioned in the Forbes article seem nice, there are solar chargers and other mobile charging options that people carry with them. I would like to see less energy put into mobile chargers and more into shoring up the Rewards program. The Forbes article also mentions Marriott's Travel Brilliantly campaign - which according to its website one of the ideas is currently being piloted at the Boston Marriott Longwharf. Did you see the Marriott Shop Local Pop Up | Marriott Travel Brilliantly erc? Not something I would personally be excited for.
Hey, erc, speaking of contests and millennials, Marriott (OK, actually Residence Inn) was able to come up with a photography contest that I can't imagine entering (and see no scenario in which I could be competitive): Penguins Picture Mission - I'm guessing there's no waffle in this for me...
also, erc, I'm not sure if this was your point, but recent experience indicates that - if after making your reservations - you're not periodically checking online rates trying to beat your existing reservation - you're leaving money on the table... It's a hassle, but it adds up...
and, yeah, bejacob, I just can't get excited about chasing badges...
old, grumpy, all of the above... but, nonetheless, still loyal to Marriott... it'll take more than this kind of background noise to drive me away....
I'm with you ssindc when it comes to the Penguins contest (though I briefly considered wearing a tuxedo to the shindig at the Mayflower this weekend ). I, too, hope the background noise doesn't get louder.
I did happen to notice the Pop Up kiosk. It was on the ground floor (lobby is on 2nd) and we passed it easily 10 to 12 times. Not once was it occupied by a shopper (we even commented once on how the employee manning the booth was demonstrably talking on the phone). It never really caught my eye as being something of interest (it reminded me of a mall kiosk - limited target audience). So if it was a brilliant travel idea - it certainly was poorly executed.
Yes, we always have to keep checking rates (although declines are becoming fewer and fewer). I was pointing out the article that highlights how sellers have the ability to apply dynamic pricing based on your individual demographics (i.e. demand oriented pricing) spooky stuff.
Penguins, Discovery Doors, many of those games generate significant participation (just glance at Marriott Rewards Facebook sometimes) gathering more consumer data, which makes 'dynamic pricing' even more dangerous to the value conscious buyer.
ive seen the wireless chargers at the Marquis in San francisco at the lobby, though my phone was fully charged when i arrived so i did not get to use it. It would have been better to install them by the bedsides of each room since most people charge their phones at night to have them ready in the morning.Having an in room wireless charger would be much better than having to go down to the lobby to charge it if you forgot your charger .There are many Starbucks in the area what have several wireless chargers on the tables and bars and its just a small circular devise that is attached under the table that look like the little buzzers you get at restaurants.
I believe the Marriott here in san jose will the teleporter this weekend and im tempted to go check it out,the oculous rift technology intrigues me.
Hey erc thanks for sharing and sorry I'm late to the party!
I agree... badges are dumb!! While some in my generation get all crazy about that stuff, I don't. Unless there's some sort of extra value attached to it, no thanks. I don't agree with Marriott focusing on public spaces and taking away from rooms too since they think millennials like to be social and would prefer to spend time in the lobby with their friends/co-workers... where on earth did they get that idea?! I've NEVER heard anyone say that before.... Oh, and those wireless chargers on the tables... why?? How many people actually have devices that can use that? Most devices don't have wireless charging unless you buy a case specifically for that. No thanks again!! I prefer power outlets. Especially in room, which is shockingly difficult to find much of the time.
I do like that MR members will now get free internet access, while Elites get free premium tier internet access... but this really should have been done 5 years ago? And why even have it as tiered service? Why act like the telecom giants we all love to hate and why not act more like Google Fibre? The ISP and Cable company everyone wishes would come to their neighborhood?? And why not further enhance what it means to be an elite? I feel the other chains are beginning to leave Marriott in the dust! I mean Hilton offers free internet & breakfast to HHonors Gold members, and that status is WAY more easy to obtain than MR Gold! Marriott is by far one of the most, if not the most difficult chain to earn meaningful Elite status at. But at least they haven't devalued the program the same way Hilton did.... If that were to happen, I'm really not sure I'd stick around.
Boy, that's a lot of ranting... don't get me wrong, I love Marriott... I just don't understand what they're trying to do and how they think they're targeting millennials... or how they're being innovative? Yes, Marriott has mobile check-in... but Starwood is rolling out mobile check-in with smartphone access to your room! That's right boys and girls, unlock your room with a smartphone, not with a piece of plastic. Speaking of locks, IAHFLYR, have you seen Marriott's new fangled room keys that you waive in front of the door to unlock instead of inserting into a card reader??
What I do know, though, is Marriott is focused on driving profits... this seems to be their main and only focus. I feel that under Mr. Marriott, things were a bit more balanced between profits and loyalty. Now it seems to be near all profit driven. And yes, it isn't only Marriott doing this... we've seen this with Delta & United too. But it isn't all doom & gloom either. American has actually said it really isn't making any material changes or devaluations to AAdvantage at least through 2015. 2016 might be another story, but for now AAdvantage will remain the great program it has been with the exception that they took away free stopovers and U.S. international gateway cities
Dude....you are on a roll, where is Mrs. kharada46 to calm you DOWN.....LOL, but I love your come back to the party ATTITUDE!!!!
Speaking of the "new fangled room keys", yes I have, just don't give me one that doesn't work as I might jump!!!!
Holy moly, we woke the giant on this one. Thank you for the thoughtful response. See, this is where geezerhood comes in handy; 1) we travelled in the glory days of loyalty programs, not the current nickel and diming, as you correctly write, by virtually all vendors and 2) I didn't understand a good chunk of the stuff you wrote about - so ignorance truly is bliss, as I just go about my merry way with my 3g phone and my version of high tech, my garage door opener .
That's good stuff kharada46. My thoughts; keep in mind you've got another good five/six decades of travel ahead of you, so maintain sustainability and perhaps don't be so quick to give your love to Marriott, remain a free agent, going wherever a firm best deserves your patronage.
Pace yourself grasshopper
Let the Over the Hill Gang have the stress attacks, you enjoy the wonders of all that is ahead of you
Your friend and mine, erc
erc telling kharada how to get extra coffee packages and shampoos
Agreed jerrycoin! Stop going to France and come to Hawaii! We make wine here too! Or better yet, enjoy tropical medicine near the ocean
erc thanks haha! And worry not, while I love Marriott, I'm definitely not blindly loyal. I do, after all own Disney Vacations Club, not MVC. And I think I'm going to start using Hyatt too when I really start traveling again. They have a great rewards program with the exceptions that it's not as easy to earn points as Marriott and Golds don't get lounge access/free breakfast like with Marriott & Hilton.
And speaking of the gang, I'm still waiting for you guys to make your way over to Hawaii so you can enjoy more views like this