This web site contains interesting data on the amount of online booked hotel stays that are by rewards members in the respective programs. Reading this, it's clear that Marriott relies on us for their bottom line. We have clout (no news to most of us but worth restating just in case).
To quote the article:
"With difficult market conditions surrounding the travel industry, increasing loyalty among online prospects is integral to hotel supplier’s 2009 success. With consumers more likely to cross-shop and price check than ever before, the incentives and benefits of a rewards platform will often be the deciding factor in the online travel purchase process. Rewards program managers must ensure that their online portals are best in class in order to drive the necessary usage and loyalty."
I hope you and I make Marriott Em. status!
Like you I spend most weeks working in Marriott's and there is hope they realize that people do have a choice. Lately, I have noticed (Some places, there are no Marriott's) other chains do not seem to be keeping up with Marriott's progressive service.
P and L is the name of the game in all industries and nowhere more so than in hospitality. When demand is high service can slip but when demand is low there is a need to make that service even better so that a person can choose based not solely on price but on value for price paid. I have had this discussion with Marriott management and they get it, but claim that corporate is pushing for uniformity--less, in other words, and that they are checking to see who is towing the line. Franchised properties have more leeway than owned ones, I am sure.
We need to keep the pressure on: demand is down, there are alternatives ( I am Diamond with SPG and with HHonors, and Executive Elite with National), and we have choices, should things get too bad.
In the end we've come to expect things from Marriott and on the whole they deliver for us. We need to keep them reminded of our help in P and L as well as our loyalty.