42 Replies Latest reply: Dec 9, 2014 5:12 AM by erc RSS

MRI forum -- is it just me?

profchiara Alumni Steward Silver 3 Reviews
Currently Being Moderated

I have been logging in less and less these days because it seems like the MRI Insiders page is now almost entirely devoted to Marriott deals, offers and announcements. Do others feel the same or is it me?

(For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
    erc Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    I sense a similar disproportionate amount of 'in house' marketing. IMO, it's a result of two major factors;

     

    1) The NathalieF is actually trying to provide value by posting advance notice deals, which I have no problem with, heck, I just this week asked her to let us know if the CyberMonday sale was going to be a reality again this year. I believe the problem is, (as I, californian and others, had expressed concern about when the CM asked if Insiders would be interested) that as expected, the deals aren't really deals (certainly nothing special), and therefore come across as noise.

     

    2) The second factor is a decline of trip visit write ups and travel experience insight exchanges. We have, IMO,

    a) lost a lot of participants through the perceived/real (perception is reality in marketing) decline of Marriott's loyalty recognition (which was essentially the core base of Insiders) and through the disastrous clogging of the forum by the infamous Baseball story contests and Review debacle and

     

    b) Insiders, for whatever reason, are exerting efforts writing up good Hotel Reviews rather than posting Discussion threads, the Reviews get buried (and will eventually not be shared at all) and therefore we lose the participation that comes with both Replies and the Repliers readers, who contribute mightily to the discussion and

     

    c) a lot of superb insights are virtually wasted when they are posted as blogs or even photo albums, since their shelf life is 10 threads (which can sometimes be less than an hour) and then essentially sent into cyberspace, seldom to be seen again - which, of course, also loses the multiplier impact of Replies and Repliers' readers.

     

    I believe if we had a more active travel exchange, the marketing blurbs that are sent our way would be far less noticeable.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
      rinny54 Platinum 1 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      Did community manager say if they were doing Cyber Monday again?

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

      • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
        erc Platinum
        Currently Being Moderated

        rinny54

         

        She's looking into it and will give us the scoop upon getting it.

        (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

      • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
        NathalieF Community Manager Marriott Associate
        Currently Being Moderated

        Looking into it, rinny54!

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    • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
      jakeal Gold 15 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      erc all great points!  I will follow-up with our communitymanager re: visibility of blogs.

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      • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
        erc Platinum
        Currently Being Moderated

        jakeal

         

        Ok, good job - but sooner or later, if it doesn't change; we need you bloggers to "Go Live" and throw that stuff on the Big Board as a Discussion.

         

        ps - when comparing blog viewership to threads, I'd prefer that you use the "Stinky feet" thread

        Do you take you shoes off while on a plane?

        with more than ten times the viewership (and participation) than those well thought out blogs

        (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
      ks77 Gold 23 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      Your a) point is excellent. Those stupid baseball posts were so silly. I feel like it is the same 30 people who post on this site. The hotel reviews are good, but trip advisor in general gives you a huge multiple of reviews as opposed to here. If a property on here has 15 reviews but TP has 600, which one are you going to look at? Obviously the TP ones will paint a more accurate picture simply because of sample size.

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
      californian Platinum 37 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      Many have taken time to review hotels to benefit others.  This takes time as posting pictures and doing trip write ups.  There is a wealth of information on this site but try to find some.

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

      • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
        erc Platinum
        Currently Being Moderated

        californian

        I am in complete agreement with your statement "Many have taken time to review hotels to benefit others.  This takes time as posting pictures and doing trip write ups.  There is a wealth of information on this site but try to find some" , posted above; and I certainly hope no Insider thinks that I wasn't appreciative of that effort when I wrote in my post above

        "b) Insiders, for whatever reason, are exerting efforts writing up good Hotel Reviews rather than posting Discussion threads, the Reviews get buried (and will eventually not be shared at all) and therefore we lose the participation that comes with both Replies and the Repliers readers, who contribute mightily to the discussion"


        that's exactly my point, Insiders are taking significant efforts to write up Reviews and they get sent to the property site, rather than discussed and saved here in our forum; and yes, as bad as our search function is, I still believe it's better to have iestrikesback's excellent New Orleans discussion http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/reviews/60314 with us, than at the CY site (there's scores of other examples, I chose ie's because it was most recent and he and I had discussed New Orleans).

         

        And no, I'm not changing my mind about Reviews clogging up the forum. Insider's Reviews/WriteUps, whatever you want to call them, did not and do not clog up the forum - it was the 300 a day from one time visiting Guests that did.

         

        Insiders - please consider donating your thoughtful efforts to the forum, rather than shipping them off to Mother Marriott and her unknown clients - Thanks


        (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

        • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
          profchiara Alumni Steward Silver 3 Reviews
          Currently Being Moderated

          I'll be honest, I check in now only every few days whereas I used to do so several times a day.  But what I wanted from the site were Insiders' views on all forms of travel, places, and things to do (or not).  MRI in the past month or so has not provided that for me.  When I do click on (after the several steps required to get through to MRI) all I see on Insiders is Marriott-sponsored stuff.  That is not the MRI-Insiders I so often contributed to although I recognized it may help some. 

           

          I'm finding my Barclay World Arrival Elite MC to be amazing -- and they actually give you large amounts of useable points for posting real travel experiences not associated with a particular hotel, airline or place.  Like others before me (and not meant as a threat [because few would care] but as a simple reality), I expect soon I will just stop checking in.

           

          I can't believe I'm saying this, but I yearn for the good ole days.

          (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

        • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
          iestrikesback Platinum 44 Reviews
          Currently Being Moderated

          First of all, thanks erc for the nice comments about my reviews.  I try to make a point to put all my reviews into the "Hotel Reviews" section, as I see it expanding as more users use the site.  That is where I go now first to research Marriott properties in certain locations.  Yes, the sample is much smaller than Trip Advisor (TA) which I used more frequently in the past, but at least I don't have to scroll through the multitudes of "non-Marriott" hotels in TA.  I think in time, as it continues to grow, the Hotel Reviews section will become more and more useful, as there is allowance I believe for replies to the reviews, to create discussions there.

           

          Conversely, I tend to post a lot less in the "Destinations" and other sections, as threads seem to get lost here, based on the increasing number of users in the community.  For example, I posted the following in "Destinations" asking for New Orleans recommendations:  http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/thread/17445.  As you can see there were 55 views, but NO REPLIES!

           

          I think the format of the overall Insider site makes it difficult to search and see threads.  I remember mentioning here before that a better format would be something like this site http://forums.highdefdigest.com/forum.php, which I use regularly.  Overall, it's better organized, therefore easier to see and find threads.

           

          In summary, I think the Hotel Reviews section is becoming more and more relevant, as users increase, but the overall format of Insiders still needs improvement.  Thanks for listening everyone!          

          (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

          • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
            erc Platinum
            Currently Being Moderated

            I believe there is confusion regarding the Hotel Reviews - I like Insider Hotel Reviews as much as the next guy

            HOWEVER, I was under the impression that they are going the way of BOGOs - removed from Insiders - All of them.

             

            Here's what the NathalieF wrote on Halloween

            "I recently made an announcement here on Insiders that Hotel Ratings and Reviews are going to be removed from Insiders in the next couple of months, due to Verified Ratings and Reviews now appearing on hotel websites (more info on that here: Verified Ratings and Reviews Launching on Marriott.com). Since this change is already in progress, we will unfortunately not be adding any new hotels to review on Insiders. You can always start a discussion thread and write about the great trip you had, or do a space search to see if any other Insider is already talking about this new property!"

             

            my point/plea is: if we aren't going to see the reviews anymore on Insiders, should Insiders invest the effort to place them in Reviews (where they are shipped off to the hotel site)? I answered that question with a resounding NO.

             

            Of course, folks can do whatever they want, but it seems a low return on effort to write such solid reviews and just have them tossed into a basket with 40 other reviews of a specific property.

             

            NathalieF - Once more with feelings (because I might have misinterpreted your message) Are the Reviews eventually being removed from Insiders?  Thanks. This is the last time you guys will hear me bark about this - a good night to all.

            (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

            • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
              NathalieF Community Manager Marriott Associate
              Currently Being Moderated

              The Insiders platform will undergo maintenance to entirely remove the Hotel Reviews section from the community. So not only will Reviews not appear in your Activity feeds - they won't be shown on this platform at all. I'm working with my IT partners to have Hotel Reviews removed by year-end (hopefully). There will be no reference to Hotel Reviews in the community.

               

              I hope this helps clarify things - let me know if you have any other questions!

              (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

              • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
                erc Platinum
                Currently Being Moderated

                Thank you - actually, it was just as clear as the first time you stated it - I just wanted to make sure before I made it my final Review to Discussion cause celebre plea.

                (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

                • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
                  californian Platinum 37 Reviews
                  Currently Being Moderated

                  You got your answer! Iit is clear that this is not our site but one that Marriott set up and controls what happens.

                  (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

                  • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
                    erc Platinum
                    Currently Being Moderated

                    californian

                     

                    That's ok, at least we know going in - but that's really my point; isn't it silly using all that energy to write a review just to send it to the general public? I really hope Insiders (rather than just giving up) take what would be their review and post it under Discussions - Marriott Rewards and let other Insiders a) at least see it and b) share their own insights, which often leads to excellent discussions and exchange of ideas.

                     

                    To me it's very simple - KEEP IT IN THE FORUM

                    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

                    • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
                      profchiara Alumni Steward Silver 3 Reviews
                      Currently Being Moderated

                      Sadly, Californian, I think I am giving up. I only stay at Marriotts about twice a year and rarely use my MR Platinum Premier card anymore.  The grass has been (very much) greener for me, not only when I started staying where I wanted about three years ago, but also with the Barclay's card which gives 2 miles for everything you use it for -- and when you redeem those 'miles' (not really, travel points) you even get a bonus set of miles for doing so.  Plus they have a similar site to this, and you earn 'miles' = dollars for contributing to their blogs, discussions, etc.  I am starting to learn my way through the latter, but it's for real.

                       

                      I know Marriott is aiming at Millenials (a big mistake in my view, as a college professor, since they don't believe in things like loyalty programs), but while I may be an anomaly in view of where I go and what I do, I think Marriott has deserted its long time loyal members.  Delta's doing the same thing and I am using my miles for business class FF trips to Europe and will keep burning them if and until Delta changes policy.

                       

                      After all, when I gave up on Marriott, I found a world of opportunity opened to me -- I could stay at fantastic places, get free breakfasts and wifi and get huge credits by using a consolidator (in my case hotels.com which is affiliated with expedia).  I will be at the Londra Palace in Venice in a suite in about 2-1/2 weeks for five days and got close to a $400 credit.  Admittedly, you can get free total stays (if you can manage to arrange it) with Marriott on points but that has become harder and harder.

                       

                      Anyway, I love barclay's world arrival card, hotels.com (or sometimes even hotel websites) and have pretty much given up the loyalty programs.  Unless Delta retracts its constant changes, I (as a Platinum Medallion Elite Plus through February 2016), they're gone for me.  I have already nullified my Delta Reserve Amex spending by using the barclay card instead, though just through next year I will use enough to try to keep Platinum status despite their horrific changes.

                       

                      Bottom line:  I was loyal; hotels and airlines have not been loyal to me.  And yes, it does matter.  As a professor who knows student patterns, I think both hotels and airlines are making huge mistakes in going 'just' for the high payers.

                       

                      No more for me.

                      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

                      • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
                        jerrycoin Alumni Steward Platinum 60 Reviews
                        Currently Being Moderated

                        ProfChiara,

                         

                        Your are right on every count!

                         

                        Feel the same way.  Am not sure with all that's happening in The World, that I even want to travel.  Been there, done that!  Am looking at getting private jets (shared, and no I am not someone special), but after the last experience of "Fast Track" at LHR, I don't need this.

                         

                        You know how much my wife and I respect you opinions and look forward to meeting you, but if the only thing these companies want is Millenials, I am glad for them, but we will join you in Venice or Greece!

                        (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

                      • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
                        lakeshore Platinum 11 Reviews
                        Currently Being Moderated

                        Sadly, Professor, I am with you and others who have been part of MRI for years...it has changed soooo much. I used to join in often, years ago, when it was simple, clear, effective, and fun. Now it is not. It has changed, and whereas, I used to go to insiders first to seek travel advice, now I first go to Tripadvisor, then oyster for some photos, flyertalk, and then MRI.I remember, perhaps five years ago, when insiders was about to make the big format change, I was on a panel to give advice for improving insiders. It became very clear to me, during this questioning, that Marriott was wanting to go in a different direction, targeting a much younger crowd(and I was in my thirties then). I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt, but I knew a couple of years ago, when a sweepstakes was announced on insiders, and the only way to enter was via facebook(or send in a notecard via snail mail), not a direct way to electronically participate through insiders, even though it was announced on insiders, that it was a lost cause. You see, years before, when I was on that panel, I had brought up the cation of something like this happening in the future...they assured me back then that would never be the case. But in reality, it has become the case.

                        We are lifetime Platinum, and while we have been loyal, it doesn't seem like Marriott values our loyalty, and would rather appeal to the younger crowd. Funny, we are not that old, and we also have children, who could be future Marriott customers someday. Thankfully, our stays at Marriott have been for the most part excellent. Sadly, Insiders has not been a place that I have participated in for a long time, because i just don't have the time it takes to post, and when I do, my session usually times out as I post(sometimes I am long-winded!), and the whole post is lost. That happened a few times too many in the past, and I gave up. I miss the old gang, and I guess that is why I DO long on every once in awhile...to see how all of you are doing, and to seek your advice or offer advice if I have a few spare minutes. I am so glad many of you continue to offer invaluable advice. You all are gems, and I thank you for the insight you have shared with so many!

                        Sincerely,

                        Lakeshore

                        p.s. Congratulations, Professor Chiara, on your book! I wish you much success and adventure! - I saw your news on the home page, but couldn't get the post to come up to reply to it. ugghh! This is what I mean about insiders not being quick and user friendly...

                        (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

                        • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
                          jerrycoin Alumni Steward Platinum 60 Reviews
                          Currently Being Moderated

                          lakeshore,

                           

                          Well put!

                           

                          Agree with you!

                          (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

                        • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
                          profchiara Alumni Steward Silver 3 Reviews
                          Currently Being Moderated

                          Hi lakeshore,

                          So good to hear from you -- I think you hit the nail on the head.  I remember very well those first facebook ventures and knew I wouldn't participate.  These days I only stay at Marriotts once or twice a year, but I still checked in (until recently) on MRI mostly because of the travel stories and advice and the old gang.

                           

                          Thanks for the congrats!

                          Best, ProfChiara

                          (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

                        • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
                          erc Platinum
                          Currently Being Moderated

                          lakeshore, profchiara et al.

                           

                          I believe you both have done a good job of highlighting the conundrum we face at Insiders, and why it's easy to see why so many agree with both the view that Marriott through the change of focus of its communication has diluted the impact of Insiders and that Insiders still offers significant travel value, but one must pick and choose the items of interest.

                           

                          The more that contributors drop out due to the reasons you state above, the more difficult it is to maintain a broad based perspective offering a variety of insights, which, of course, then leads unfortunately to a vicious cycle of decline.

                           

                          Marriott's change of focus and target audience, it's emphasis on more and more promotional material, and even its hobglobins of technology which can make posting and following a chore at times, would all be rather insignificant (even with those challenges, I still value Insiders as a net gain) if the contributions of travelers overwhelmed the corporate input.

                           

                          I find it fascinating (neither you two, nor other active contributors) how folks will write in to complain, or ask a question that has been asked thirty times before (getting a succinct on the spot answer, rather than a snarky smack that they would most likely receive on FlyerTalk and then not even acknowledging the effort) or fill out what they got for their MegaBonus, but never once tell us about any of their travels or their points strategies (even after an active player virtually begs them to).

                           

                          It's a game of numbers and this is why I rail so incessantly about the damage the stories and reviews contests did to this thread. It's Gresham's Law, the bad chased out the good. I have the time to weed through the threads and separate the wheat from the chaff, to enormous enjoyment and benefit to myself. But I can certainly see why folks could become frustrated or irritated (especially given the modest quality of the Search function). So all I can say to those like yourselves, who understandably have grown tired of 'fighting the good fight', check in now and then and see if we can't turn this puppy around and return it back to its lively exchange of travel insights.

                           

                          As always, keep on keepin' on Insiders

                           

                          ps - please see my response regarding reviews to iestrikesback a few posts below, for what I believe to be a key component of future success

                          (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

            • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
              iestrikesback Platinum 44 Reviews
              Currently Being Moderated

              OK, I was unaware that the reviews were being permanently removed, my bad!  That's unfortunate. 

              (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

              • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
                erc Platinum
                Currently Being Moderated

                iestrikesback

                 

                It's not as bad as you think. Just instead of writing a review and sending it to Marriott to be dumped in with hundreds of other reviews, ( composed by unknown to us, reviewers), just do like we always did in "the old days" and write a Discussion (even if you don't want to Discuss) about the property you just visited. Very simple - very effective - very useful (as it generates multiple insights about the property through the give and take of a discussion vs. the deadness of only a review).

                 

                Thanks.

                 

                ps - see my response to lakeshore above about reviving Insiders - this is one of the key tactics - sharing travel insights

                (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
    arkwright Platinum 2 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Dear Prof, ERC  and friends,


    It has always struck me that there are, and always have been, many oddities about Insiders, not least of which are Marriott's original intentions for the site and  how/why these have changed in balance over the years. I'm no sales/marketing/PR expert, but there does seem to have been a unmistakeable lack of consistency between "set up" and "follow through".


    Be all that as it may, and endeavouring to address the Prof's question, the beauty of the site lies (still) in its " broad church" character. Its very diversity of purpose and substance is, for me, its "USP". I rarely write in pursuit of particular information or in response to a particular issue. What interests me are ways of broadening out the travel experience, of gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation of where - in geography, culture, history and so on - we are when we stand (or sit) in a bar, or wherever, in locations as disparate and diverse as Bloomington (with Jerry), Boston (with ERC),  Berlin, Bangkok and Beijing. That this is a peripheral perspective of little relevance to the majority of the " business" market with which Marriott is mainly associated, I do not dispute; but perhaps it may occasionally offer a context within which more sense can be made of an increasingly complex world.


    And - inasmuch as the likes of Tripadviser, it seems,  do not provide this facility unless the content is directly and explicitly related to an establishment - this is why I enjoy and value - albeit intermittently - this site and the exchange it promotes.


    Whether this is a sufficient raison d'etre is for Marriott, and you, to decide'


    Thanks for your input and efforts.


    Best,


    A

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
      jerrycoin Alumni Steward Platinum 60 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      arkwright,

       

      So well put, my friend!

       

      I dont't expect Marriott allow this forum to make a difference, but this forum has allowed people like us to meet, exchange travel stories, have laughs, and become friends.

       

      Marriott, has their agenda, and I am glad we have had the pleasure to enjoy times together, that is more important than corporate interests.  Likewise, I truly want them to do well, because without them we loose our forum.

       

      Who knows what future people we may have the opportunity to meet and enjoy mutual contributions to happiness thru travel?

       

      Have a wonderful Holiday Season!

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
    superchief1 Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    I think another reason many of us aren't posting much any more is that we have realized that our constructive feedback is totally ignored by Marriott management. Previously, I believed that we were valued loyal customers whose input (positive and negative) was important to Marriott. Since the Marriott family is no longer really involved, I think Marriott has lost its customer focus and only cares about bottom line (in the short term). Therefore, they don't think our opinions matter as long as their hotels are full. This is very shortsighted because good times don't last, and loyal customers are much more important during the down markets.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
      jerrycoin Alumni Steward Platinum 60 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      superchief1,

       

      Agree with you on this, especially since I am not a "Millenial", and am not considered a preferred customer anymore.  However, having an opportunity to learn and share travel experiences with people like you, many whom I have personally met, is so rewarding to me! 

       

      The best to your family and you for this Holiday Season!

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

      • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
        superchief1 Platinum
        Currently Being Moderated

        jerrycoin,

        Thank you very much for your kind wishes and I hope you and your family have a great holiday season. I am thankful for all of the great vacations I have enjoyed due to the recommendations of people like yourself, other long-time contributors, and those who have gotten fed up and left (Steppingstones and TJCNY). Marriott obviously doesn't appreciate how much positive impact these recommendations have had on their business.

         

        My company is also enthralled with Millenials even thought they only account for about 15% of our business and are not profitable customers. They read all the trade press and ignore marketing research reports. Many of us old timers account for or influence thousands of dollars of travel expenditures per year, but that isn't important to them.

         

        I am fortunate because I can now vacation at my MVC timeshare resorts, and am enjoying this week at beautiful Crystal Shores on Marco Island. The nice thing about timeshares is that there is free parking and no resort fees and we can cook meals in our kitchens rather than pay exhorbitant prices in a hotel restaurant. I really don't know how families will be able to afford vacations in hotels or resorts any more, since median household income continues to decline over the past six years and food and medical costs have ballooned.

         

        Since I am lifetime platinum, I have joined the distinguished professor and have become a free agent for business travel. Unfortunately for Marriott, my decisions (not a Millenial) impact thousands of dollars of hotel spending every year. Previously, 90% would have gone to Marriott but that is no longer the case. 

        (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

        • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
          jerrycoin Alumni Steward Platinum 60 Reviews
          Currently Being Moderated

          superchief1,

           

          I relate totally with you!

           

          It's the Marriott Staff I enjoy way more than the management, but Marriott has changed, and they want a new customer, and really don't care about loyalty.

           

          You are right, we have lost a lot of wonderful MRI's who could share a lifetime of travel experiences with upcoming travelers and their families.

           

          Again, I enjoy the wonderful MRI's I have met, hope to meet, (Including you), and the wonderful experiences I have had because of Marriott.

          (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
    bejacob Platinum 38 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    I don't feel overwhelmed by the deals and offers. If they don't appeal to me, I don't read about them.

     

    I think the higher level of exposure to deals is most likely the result of Insiders asking to hear about such things before the general public. Our NathalieF has done a great job of sharing details on this forum so that we are all aware of what's out there.

     

    If there are fewer travel stories or solicitations for travel advice, that is our collective fault. We need to post those stories and questions. We also need to respond to the new folks who ask for help. If a question gets asked again, a quick response with a link to a previous discussion would be useful.

     

    There is a core of very active users on this site and when even one of them disappears for even a short time, activity can decrease (imagine what happens when more than one goes silent for a few day).

     

    I like getting information from Marriott on this site. It may not be the primary function of MR Insiders, but that info is useful (most of the time). It can be a delicate balance between corporate communication and community participation. It doesn't take much to alter that balance.

     

    I log in every day. On days that I'm too busy to comment, I still like to read what the community has to say.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
    skiadcock Platinum 4 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    I've not been on MRI as much as the rest of you.  I log on infrequently for a variety of reasons.  One, I HATE the interface/layout!!!!!!  Flyertalk has a much easier one to follow (similar to what someone posted above) & the Marriott forum is pretty active, so I get a lot of my information there.  Second, I've never been clear about what Marriott wanted Insiders to be, and it seems that's been changing & perhaps not for the better.  Seems to be more marketing now. Also, as someone said, some of us had the naive idea that our feedback would result in change on certain items, when the reality is it doesn't.  There is a nice community of people here who are willing to share and I do appreciate the heads up  by the communitymanager on certain items (such as the recent Protea FAQ/update).  When I do stop by I try to read through the various threads & provide any input I have to give back, but stopping by isn't something I really think of on any regular basis.  I'm only here today because someone sent me a DM. 

     

    Cheers.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
    erc Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    Here's the good news, I think (perhaps naively, but what the heck, it's better than wishin' for Bogos to return) we can actually influence somewhat the format and value of Insiders. We have a community manager and moderation team who certainly appear eager to make it a success and the information above provides a bit of a blueprint of how to go about doing it, hopefully without getting a corporate veto. Additionally as has been written and pretty well stipulated and understood by the majority of participants, this forum isn't about influencing Marriott policy, but we may be able to influence the tactics of our own little forum environment.

     

    Quite frankly (speaking as a tech troglodyte, but also as a marketing player) given what I've observed, I'd be a bit anxious about Marriott altering what many of you label a less than effective layout/interface (the devil we know). I would be concerned (because they have tinkered in the past, read four year old threads, and the outcome can get ugly) that Marriott would further harm the product.  Instead, I think we follow the sound business practice of "hit target, seek optimal", working on incremental changes (which the moderation team has been attempting) and try to overcome the inevitable promotional messages by Marriott, with our own travel and loyalty program insights and experiences.

     

    Constantly fine tuning the product 'on the edges' may lead us to an ever more effective travel weapon (if we can maintain participation in the interim). As I view Insiders, agreeing with many who state Marriott itself hasn't always been clear about the purpose; "it's the worse form of company sponsored forums, except for all other forms they have tried from time to time" (can you say Certificates?).

     

    I'm confident/hopeful? that increased participation (like revenue covering operating deficiencies) can go a long way toward neutralizing the often times ham handed Marriott tech and sales approach. The challenge is securing additional participation while struggling with the issues above;  that to me, in spite of whatever other goals Marriott may have, would seem to be goal congruent with Marriott, especially the community manager (although, I don't know what other responsibilities she may have that would impact her job performance) and is IMO, where a higher ROI exists rather than expecting 1) a layout/interface overhaul and 2) an effective layout/interface overhaul.

     

    This forum, in spite of it's blemishes, especially when combined with the data base flow (and sharing) of FlyerTalk, provides a potentially superb travel tool which can continue to greatly enhance our travels, especially in an environment where hoteliers currently rule with all of the leverage.

     

    So, as always, keep on keepin' on Insiders (or not ).

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
      skiadcock Platinum 4 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      Marriott isn't going to change the format.  They're targeting millenials/social media.  That's fine; their choice & they need to do what's good for them (or at least that they perceive it to be).  But I've got limited amounts of time & when I log on to Insiders & see 3 rows of 3 (and usually the same 3 rows of 3)  & have to click on one of them just to bring up any threads at all (which only display on a few at a time & then I have to click on read more), it's annoying.  Some people are audio/some tactile/some visual.  I'm a visual person.  But perhaps I'm a linear visual person, which is why I prefer the Flyertalk format (not to mention I get more information there, no matter how much you & others are giving it the old college try here).

       

      I appreciate the camraderie of this forum & the sharing of info by other Insiders.  I like the communitymanager, etc, but basically feel their role is to give us heads up on some things, sort out minor issues, and feed back to corp/mktg, etc, our  ideas.  However, we know that the majority of the time the feedback goes into a black hole.

       

      As you note, demand is outstripping supply & there are plenty of new travelers & travelers jumping ship from other chains so Marriott doesn't really need to worry about us.

       

      So I give you credit for keeping on keeping on, but I'll probably just continue with the occasional stop by.

       

      Cheers.

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

      • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
        erc Platinum
        Currently Being Moderated

        I can live with that approach and agree with each issue you discuss (hopefully, no one thought I was conveying a complete satisfaction with forum or even Marriott.com processes, they can frustrate me just as much as others).

         

        I no longer have any problem with not being the target audience, nor our input going into a black hole, which it does (as a matter of fact there are numerous images of that in my posts ). The lack of a voice of influence, is for me, even more reason to gather all worthwhile travel info. For all of FlyerTalk's terrific info (and it is excellent for policy techniques as well as property and city info), for policy interpretation, so far, Insiders is the only place to go (in spite of FT's collective expertise, it's still currently, just that - an educated guess). The moment Marriott goes back to an active Concierge participation on FT, Insiders, IMO, withers even further (and Marriott no doubt realizes that, thus probably keeping policy 'in house' for at least the near term).

         

        The occasional stop by is worthy enough, the insights you provide from the broader base of experiences are valuable, even more so with a thriving Insiders. We'll see how the moderation team does and go from there.

        (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

        • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
          skiadcock Platinum 4 Reviews
          Currently Being Moderated

          Speaking only for myself I do have a problem with input going into a black hole, given that's how Marriott touted Insiders when it started.  Come to Insiders, learn more about the program, provide input to influence the program, chat with your peers (visions of a carnival barker come to mind). 

           

          Or a more recent example (although not Insiders), when they were running a promo a few months back & offering prizes - one month was let us know your input re: Marriott Rewards & how to make it better - but you could only provide input if you were on Facebook & no alternate way to provide it.  Begs the question of were they really seeking input or just trying to raise their profile?  I even emailed the VP in charge of that program/promo & didn't even receive a courtesy thanks for contacting me reply.

           

          Most of the policy 'interpretation' is basically just reading the T&Cs, which respectfully to communitymanager, etc, is normally what they come back to us w/. 

           

          CommunityManager on Insiders does basically the same thing as MarriottConcierge did on FT.  Responds w/ the T&Cs when asked, solves minor problems & gives heads up on promos, etc.  Marriott pulled back MarriottConcierge to just the heads up now, probably for the reason you mention.  They wanted to send more people to Insiders.  However, Marriott never committed fully to MarriottConcierge like Starwood did & still does with StarwoodLurker.  StarwoodLurker is much more enpowered than CM or MC.

           

          BTW - I don't think FT is perfect or is the be all/end all re: Marriott (or any chain or airline for that matter).  But amongst biz colleagues I know in different industries, most are aware of FT whereas none I've encountered to date are aware of Insiders.

           

          Cheers.

          (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

          • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
            erc Platinum
            Currently Being Moderated

            We're in agreement, just with nuanced differences:

             

            1) you have a problem with Marriott not listening - I no longer (more through resignation than agreement) have one

             

            2) most policy interpretation is just the reading of T & C's - yes, but the one or two that aren't, is the point of differentiation

             

            3) StarwoodLurker is much more empowered than CM or MC - yes, but I stay at Marriotts

             

            4) FT (and it is excellent) is much better known - yes, Insiders is the little sibling - I have the time to love them both

             

            Ok, off to Florida - future lack of replies is not an indication of lack of interest - Thanks for your participation

             

            Go man, go

            (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

          • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
            profchiara Alumni Steward Silver 3 Reviews
            Currently Being Moderated

            I mean no disrespect to our Community Manager whatsoever, but in the olden days (like two-three years ago) Marriott execs/staff had little presence.  We all bemoaned the changes in format, as it seemed to happen constantly, all the while our benefits going down.  I stick around not because of Marriott (sorry, like Delta, you let me down, and I'm playing out my last Delta and American Express year, just like I did Marriott two years ago).  So I'll be nobody status as of late January.  I will still contribute to INSIDERs IF it is mostly written by Insiders.  If it is mostly these promotions, facebook games, or whatever, I'll be one of those who is gone.  I've found a lovely place on Barclay Card's travel space where they actually seem to care I'm there (and give me points for contributions).  I do not decide (obviously) whether I'll participate based on what I get since for me and for Marriott now the equation = nothing, but I do care about all of the long time members who have put heart and soul into this forum.

             

            I started listing all of you, then realized I couldn't remember all.  If I disappear, it doesn't necessarily mean I'm dead (I have a morbid sense of humor), so just ask JerryCoin.

            (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
    jasper100 Alumni Steward Platinum 10 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated


    You have made good points here  prof. I find myself visiting Insiders less and less and plan on reducing my contributions significantly in the future.

     

    Insiders has changed significantly since the olden days when we were stewards with a great interactive group. I know I have posted many videos of my world travels but seem to get very little interaction on my posts. I plan on not posting any more in the future because it takes too much of my time with very little interaction or appreciation. Not only that, but all the effort doesn't even result in a nomination for a Roddy Award, although I am not suprised. Seems like many of the same Insiders get nominated and win every year since the inception of the Roddy Award.  So much for trying to be a good contributer to Insiders. communitymanager  I am considering deleting my contributions over the past year since it appears I am just cluttering up Insiders destinations area.

     

    Also, when we were stewards in the past, we all contributed significantly to Insiders. Just look at our contribution numbers.  It now seems that individuals just sign up to be Insiders and then make very little contributions. I really don't understand why someone would sign up to be a steward and then provide minimal contribution to the site. I feel the Community Manager should monitor this and not give recognition as a alumni steward at the end of their 6 month term. Just saying!!!

     

    Thanks again Prof for raising these issues.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
    ssindc Platinum 42 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Interesting discussion, profchiara, and it does highlight (as a few folks have noted) that participants want different things from the site, just as Marriott appears to have vacillated as to what it wants (or has wanted) from the site, over time. Still, I find that the site provides (high) value, and I consult it frequently.  But - as I read others' comments - I'm not at all surprised that the site has failed to be "all things to all users."

     

    There are people who make  a living helping institutions improve (and attempt to optimize) their social media presence.  (I'm not one of them, and I admit I'm no expert on some of these platforms, and, as we've seen, I'm too old to be in Marriott's increasingly younger target demographic - my favorite example remains this one:  http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/message/88563). 

     

    My only point is that I think the nature of of social media is that it constantly changes, and it changes far more rapidly than "communities" evolved "in the good old days" (whenever that was).  In other words, my sense is that the very nature of social media is that it's unstable, and none of us can expect this type of platform to stay the same and not change (for better or worse).....

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: MRI forum -- is it just me?
      erc Platinum
      Currently Being Moderated

      Well put ssindcGive my regards to our ol' pal Ceelo . To paraphrase the old Carlye Simon song (and Heinz ketchup ad, everybody, sing along with me), "Participation" - that's what it's all about. I truly believe the more participation we get from all of the diverse views, ideas, and geographies, not only, the better this forum is, but also the less frustrating the Marriott interaction becomes.

      I'm pretty confident that even any part time participant of the forum has come to the conclusion that Marriott is going to do what they want (with the forum and their programs) and our desire to change that reality, has no impact on changing it; similar to  long time loyal customers with significant revenue dollars realizing that whether they stay or go, Marriott marches on, as Bruce Hornsby sang, "That's just the way it is".

      Excellent topic profchiara, and exactly why we need you and so many others, continuing to dive in from now and then whether at a Marriott or not - which is one point, I'll hand Marriott, so far, they've been pretty decent about allowing a good flow of travel info, including competitor strengths (which to me points out; they do listen, they just don't do what we often want ).

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)