28 Replies Latest reply: Jul 17, 2013 2:16 AM by camelback1 RSS

Tourism in Peril

Alumni Steward Platinum 8 Reviews
Currently Being Moderated

Bill Marriott said it well:

 

See this story:


 

With more than 3,000 hotels and resorts around the world bearing his family's name or the name of a sister brand such as Ritz-Carlton, Bill Marriott pretty much has his pick of vacation spots.

Yet when it comes time for spring break every year, the chairman and chief executive officer of Marriott International and his family retreat to the same Paradise Valley resort: the company's flagship Camelback Inn on Lincoln Drive.

The tradition predates the company's ownership in the hotel, dating back to a high-school trip Marriott took with his parents in 1948. Marriott narrates the history video on the resort's Web site and in his blog a couple of years ago, said he has spent his happiest days there. OAS_AD('ArticleFlex_1')

The trips to Phoenix coincide with Marriott's birthday, and on Wednesday he celebrated his 77th at the resort's trendy new BLT Steakhouse.

On Thursday he oversaw the grand opening of the company's 75th hotel in Arizona, the Residence Inn Phoenix Desert View at Mayo Clinic.

It was the only Mayo facility in the country without an adjacent hotel.

Marriott, who sits on Mayo's board of trustees and whose daughter had open-heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota years ago, called it the "finest" Residence Inn he's seen.

In a brief interview with The Arizona Republic, he discussed the economy, the uproar in Washington over lavish corporate meetings and even did his best time-share sales pitch. Responses have been edited for space.

Question: How would you sum up the state of the hotel industry?

Answer: The biggest concern we have is the rhetoric coming out of Washington on meetings and conventions. Washington's overreacting to some of the meetings that have been held by some of the financial institutions that are receiving TARP money. It's had a major impact on meetings and conventions all over the country.

It's not a matter as much of saving money on their part because what they're doing is they're paying a big cancellation fee and then they're taking that same meeting and moving it someplace else, essentially paying for the meeting twice. It's that kind of thing that is disturbing.

We've talked to several senators and the president about the concerns we have. Washington needs to recognize the great importance of meetings in this country. Fifteen percent of travel in this country is around meetings and conventions. There are an awful lot of jobs being lost because meetings are being canceled.

We want to make sure that the people who are planning meetings don't get damaged with the collateral damage that's coming out of Washington, with the rhetoric that says it's not good for America to have meetings. We've just got to fix that.

Q: Can you quantify the damage to Marriott?

A: We've lost several hundred thousand room nights across our system and lost several thousand here in the Valley.

Q: Looking at the broader economy, what is your outlook for business this year?

A: I don't think this is going to be an easy year for anybody. This is a very, very difficult environment we've got out here. They're (consumers) saving, not spending. They're staying home. They're not eating out like they were. They're going to Walmart and McDonald's.

Q: You've been in the industry for several decades, how is this recession different?

A: It's unprecedented. It's impacted our business more than any other recession. The worst we were in 2001, after 9/11, was down 11 percent (in revenue per available room.) The first quarter of this year, it appears everybody's going to be down between 15 and 20 percent. We are being very conservative in how we manage our business. We're managing for cash as much as we can. Our balance sheet's in real good shape. We have a lot of liquidity.

Q: There have been glimmers of hope in recent economic reports, most notably on the housing front this week. Are there similar signs of hope in the travel business?

A: The leisure business is stronger than we had anticipated. That's been good. It's been good in the Caribbean. It's very strong here in the Valley right now, with good occupancy at the Camelback Inn and Desert Ridge (resorts.) There is a propensity for people to say, "Hey, I'm not going to be denied my vacation. I'm going to go." But they're shopping. They want bargains, they want a good deal. That's encouraging.

Q: Time-share sales have taken a hit at Marriott and other companies. Where do you see that business headed?

A: It'll come back. I think it's just a matter of time, as soon as people feel more comfortable that they can spend a little bit and invest. It's a good investment because you're buying a future vacation.

When they're looking where they're going to push their cash, what's the best investment I can make, there are an awful lot of them that are afraid to go back into the stock market. And you get a less than 1 percent return on government bonds. So where are you going to put your money?

I think a great investment for people going forward is a time-share. I'm buying a vacation that is guaranteed for the rest of my life.

Q: When business rebounds, what hotel trends might we see?

A: We'd like to get back to normal before I start about the next big thing.

I think you're going to continue to see a trend toward more technology. There's going to be easier access to the Internet, more technology in the rooms.

You're going to see better meeting rooms, better meeting facilities.

Everybody in the Valley now is having outdoor venues. More and more when we design a ballroom, we design as much outside space as we do inside space.



(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: Tourism in Peril
    eb5147 Alumni Steward Platinum 7 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Q: You've been in the industry for several decades, how is this recession different?

    A: It's unprecedented. It's impacted our business more than any other recession. The worst we were in 2001, after 9/11, was down 11 percent (in revenue per available room.) The first quarter of this year, it appears everybody's going to be down between 15 and 20 percent. We are being very conservative in how we manage our business. We're managing for cash as much as we can. Our balance sheet's in real good shape. We have a lot of liquidity.


    So it seems to me that Marriott's answer is like taking the money from the banks and saving it by not providing more services.  Is that their answer to getting people to spend.  I think I'll react likewise and start saving my money rather than spending by frivolous luxury travel. 

    (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: Tourism in Peril
    jerrycoin Alumni Steward Platinum 60 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Anadyr,

     

    This is a very valuable post!

     

    For me, I won't stay at Camelback anymore.  I have booked the RI, Paradise Valley instead. "Win" the manager has really treated me well!

     

    As far as the economy and the outlook, I think it is much worse that even given here.  We have major problems that the average folks have no idea of the "Train Wreck", that is headed their way!

     

    This is just my opinion!

     

    Please keep these informative posts coming!

    (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: Tourism in Peril
      eb5147 Alumni Steward Platinum 7 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      I agree.  Thanks, Anadyr.  It really explains some of the crazy switching of hotel and time share management that's going on so much lately. 

      (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: Tourism in Peril
        jerrycoin Alumni Steward Platinum 60 Reviews
        Currently Being Moderated

        eb,

         

        Good point!

         

        I am really glad I don't own any timeshares!

        (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: Tourism in Peril
      camelback1 Platinum
      Currently Being Moderated

      I agree with your assessment of Camelback.  It used to be the go to place, where I went 3-4 weeks every year for about 5 years.  It was the top Marriott branded property in the US. That was until they brought in a new general manager (from JW Las Vegas). who took a diamond and made it into glass.  He managed to take a square peg and put it into a square hole.  Many of the 20+ year associates that gave the property its charm left as a result.  We went back to Camelback in July 2012, initially for 9 nights, but checked out after 3 and went up the road to JW Desert Ridge for the rest of the trip. Camelback used to be the only property I would want to go to - now its the last.

      (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: Tourism in Peril
    arkwright Platinum 2 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    A,

     

    Many thanks for this piece. It has an authenticity to it that no amount of journalistic manipulation can dilute.

     

    A few weeks ago an extract from a Forbes piece on Marriott Intl appeared on here.

     

    A comparison between the two makes for interesting reading: e.g. levels of turnover and profitability.

     

    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: Tourism in Peril
      Alumni Steward Platinum 8 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      True Arkwright, very true.

      (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: Tourism in Peril
    GemPrincess Alumni Steward Platinum 17 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    So is raising room rates, and hotel categories and devaluing our points is a tourism stimulous package?

     

    I was just reading about the life of John Maynard Keynes, and as a customer I am feeling like post-world war I Germany, where Marriott is the British and French victors pressing as much money out of Germany as possible and forcing Wilson's hand to join them.

     

    Keynes had recommended writing down war debts which would increase international trade.

     

    Is there a lesson there for hotel room pricing?

     

    Reducing prices might stimulate room sales.

     

    maintaining frequent traveler loyalty privileges might keep frequent travelers coming back.

     

    Pushing for higher payments only pushed the Germans into a bigger financial crisis that eventually lead to war (or in the case of tourism a lessening of business as travel is becoming less of a necessity).

     

    Perhaps if there had been more leniency like Keynes recommended and Wilson was inclined to do but got no support, there may not have been a WWII. Luckily after WWII folks learned their economic lessons, and used the Marshall plan to rebuild.

    (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: Tourism in Peril
      Alumni Steward Platinum 8 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      Supply and Demand is the name of the game with room rates, I would guess.

      (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: Tourism in Peril
        GemPrincess Alumni Steward Platinum 17 Reviews
        Currently Being Moderated

        Unless they are chasing shrinking demand with higher priced Supply.

         

        The properties I frequent have all gone up in price over the last year, for all the rates I use (Marriott special weekend rates, AAA and my corporate rate)

         

        Our company has cut back on business travel. We have to provide justification of why we can not just video converence, and all our conference rooms are now equipped with video conference equipment, and staffing to help you set up. We use to hold monthly F2F meetings with other sites.  Now we are lucky if we go once a year.  Our smaller group (10 people) did a F2F last Oct, but the larger troup of my one-over (50) and our function (200) had our traditional 2 day meeting canceled at the last minute in favor of 1/2d video converence, and another 1/2d of telecon.

         

        As for my personal travel, I have also cut back.  When it costs me 30-50% more for a room, I just stop traveling or like profchiara turn to interesting, but inexpensive indepedents.  Many of the trips I can actually stay with family or friends, and use a hotel to have a little bit of independence.

         

        So, I certainly hope marriott is so fully booked that there are no empty roooms going unused, and this is the reason for the pricing increases, point devaluation and no suite upgrades policy.

         

        According to the recent TV program, the Marriott employees interviewed talked about holding back on rooms till they hit maximum prices, and training customers not to wait for the last minute deals.

         

        Hope that's working for them....its not 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: Tourism in Peril
          Alumni Steward Platinum 8 Reviews
          Currently Being Moderated

          You make excellent points!  Of course there is a point where it makes no sense to travel due to cost.  Airlines are not getting cheaper,and planes are jammed with unhappy people too. Add to that the increasing cost of a room, the shrinking benefits when you do book a room and GotoMeeting is looking better all the time!

          (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: Tourism in Peril
            GemPrincess Alumni Steward Platinum 17 Reviews
            Currently Being Moderated

            and traveling has become a real hassle.

             

            I hate the long lines for the pat downs in the airport.

             

            airline prices are exhorbitant/ since most of it is optional for me, I wait to see if there are deals.

             

            just about every trip is delayed for some reason.

             

            and there seems to be alot more accidents recently.

            (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: Tourism in Peril
              Alumni Steward Platinum 8 Reviews
              Currently Being Moderated

              For most of us who are not super elite travelers, it is a bus, the worst kind of bus ride, overcrowded, surly service, and late departures.  I find that among the biggies only Jet Blue and Virgin America make me feel good when I fly.  Jet Blue is my number one.

              (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: Tourism in Peril
                foxglove Silver 3 Reviews
                Currently Being Moderated

                "For most of us who are not super elite travelers, it is a bus, the worst kind of bus ride, overcrowded, surly service, and late departures."

                 

                Perfectly stated. But you forgot the full-blown case of the flu you contracted courtesy of the sneeze factory across the aisle.

                (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: Tourism in Peril
                  Alumni Steward Platinum 8 Reviews
                  Currently Being Moderated

                  And the kicking child in the cramped seat directly behind 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: Tourism in Peril
          jerrycoin Alumni Steward Platinum 60 Reviews
          Currently Being Moderated

          GP,

           

          Just like you and the Professor, I am "Canceling" trips as much as booking them.

           

          Just canceled my trip to Park City Marriott over Halloween.  Why!  With airfare and room, meals it was going to cost me $ 7500 to start.

           

          Not worth it, since I have been there plenty of times before.  I plan on just taking the car, and driving someplace for 1/10th of that price!

          (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: Tourism in Peril
            eb5147 Alumni Steward Platinum 7 Reviews
            Currently Being Moderated

            That's what we do, too.  For 2 or more, it's a lot cheaper than flying.

             

            Carpooling might get more popular as it is in Europe (from what I've read only).

             

            Some college dorms also rent out their rooms in the summer or on holidays, or at least, they used to.

             

            http://www.travelingmom.com/budget-accommodations-dorm-room-rentals/

             

            "Want to expose your kids to a college campus without the reality TV and party atmosphere? Many college campuses open up their dorms during the summer and other holiday breaks for budget prices. We spent a few nights in a one of Edinburgh, Scotland’s many academic quarters turned guest rooms. We paid roughly $70 for two people in a small room with free breakfast of pastries and coffee.

            You can find dorm rooms just about anywhere but might have to do some extra sleuthing to come up with options. Not all dorm room travel lodging is widely advertised – especially in the United States. Your best best is calling the university housing office directly to inquire about dorm room rentals during the summer months. To get started, try UniversityRooms.com."

             

            I know this isn't for everyone.

             

            My husband's company has pretty much quit flying on the shorter flights like the 350 miles or so from Columbia, SC to Mont., AL.  It takes about as long to fly that distance after the layover in Atlanta and then the car rental on top of that.  It's easier to get paid for mileage even at the current rate of gas being about $3.10 / gal. for reg. or $3.50 for super.  Mileage rates aren't keeping up, but the hassle is a lot less.  Too often, they would have to rent a car in Atlanta and then return it there after a flight to Mont. was cancelled or delayed for too long.

             

            Travel coupon books often give some decent rates on hotels as do welcome centers, though not as much as they did in the past.

             

            BTW, has anyone else had trouble with clerks not being able to do the bills properly?  The last several bills we've had at CY in Cola., SC NE have been wrong, due mostly to not being able to use the cheques or gift cards as credits and going in as debits instead.  These are all college students, too, mostly majoring in hospitality industry.

            (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: Tourism in Peril
              jerrycoin Alumni Steward Platinum 60 Reviews
              Currently Being Moderated

              eb,

               

              Yep, you really have to watch the bills!

               

              Had two movies charged to my room last night at a RI, for $35! 

               

              I can't think of any movies I would want to watch today for FREE!

               

              Absurd!

              (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: Tourism in Peril
                eb5147 Alumni Steward Platinum 7 Reviews
                Currently Being Moderated

                That's terrible, Jerry!!

                 

                I guess you got it taken off, but to even get it.

                 

                I guess it's good we can't even get pay-for-view at this RI. 

                (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: Tourism in Peril
                  jerrycoin Alumni Steward Platinum 60 Reviews
                  Currently Being Moderated

                  eb,

                   

                  It's a "Rip off', and welcome to the "New World"!

                  (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: Tourism in Peril
                    eb5147 Alumni Steward Platinum 7 Reviews
                    Currently Being Moderated

                    Sad but true.  Maybe that's the main reason tourism is in peril, a la pat downs and long lines of waiting if the plane even takes off.  That and a failing educational system as well as greed and no scruples.

                     

                    I found 2 p/o's from a stay at CY in Atlanta / College Park, GA on Sullivan from Apr.  Both were seriously wrong.  I don't know whether I caught them or not so I'll have to try to look into what did happen.  Both show 2 nights charges for 1 night stay and the cheque in the charge column i/o credit.  One shows a charge of $198.35 when the charge for a night was $87 (inc. tax) total.  I don't know how they're charging another night's stay on the check out date, but it happened again this week in Cola., SC. 

                    (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: Tourism in Peril
                      jerrycoin Alumni Steward Platinum 60 Reviews
                      Currently Being Moderated

                      eb,

                       

                      That's too much!

                       

                      How could that happen by accident?

                       

                      Glad you caught 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: Tourism in Peril
            GemPrincess Alumni Steward Platinum 17 Reviews
            Currently Being Moderated

            I have not been anywhere since my june trip to NYC which I had to do for family reasons.

            (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: Tourism in Peril
    GemPrincess Alumni Steward Platinum 17 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    yep!

     

    Was a day and time when I couldn't wait to get on a plane and go.

     

    Now, when I want to go somewhere, and I think about getting on the plane, I usually decide not to go.

     

    Luckily for me there is the Amtrak & NJT

    (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: Tourism in Peril
      Alumni Steward Platinum 8 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated


      And there are personal jets too (but out of my league)

      (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: Tourism in Peril
        GemPrincess Alumni Steward Platinum 17 Reviews
        Currently Being Moderated

        Some of my past jobs we had use of corporate jets, but not my current job.

         

        and I have never had use of these for personal travel.

         

        It was nice, cause we never used the big airports, usually the closest airfield to the office, and take off was when the person of senior rank boarded the plane, so we were always early just in 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: Tourism in Peril
    superchief1 Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    I think the travel industry is their own worst enemy. With all the mergers and downsizing, there is little competition and we have fewer choices. The major hotel chains and airlines have all significantly downgraded their loyalty programs, and flights are a zoo due to limited availability. This makes travel more hassle than its worth. I see the airline and hotel industry to be similar to the US automobile industry several years ago when the big 3 had a monopoly. Their terrible quality and service opened the door for Japanese companies to gain a strong foothold, and things have never been the same. Although the International hotel chains and airlines have a lock on the travel options, many of us are seeking other alternatives. My last three companies were significantly cutting travel budgets, and videoconferencing is becoming a more attractive alternative. When we do focus groups and other research projects, we are doing more things locally or within driving distance (or at least in a city with direct flights and lower air fare).However, we also do a lot more online studies that don't require travel. Technology is becoming the biggest threat to the travel industry.

     

    As many of you have mentioned, travel used to be interesting and desirable. Now there is no incentive for us to try to justify a non-essential trip. I recall the American Airlines TV ad a few ago about getting back out to see your customers. Since that time, the airlines and hotels have made it too painful to do so, so we would rather avoid it.   The more Marriott cuts benefits and raises prices and fees, the less incentive we have to travel. 

    (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: Tourism in Peril
    kharada46 Alumni Steward Gold 10 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Thanks for sharing anadyr! 

     

    What kind of perplexes me is if the perception is that tourism demand is still soft, then why the heck is Marriott raising their rates?  At the same time you see the devaluation and slashing of benefits.  These doesn't sound like actions one would take to attract more business... especially in the face of constrained business travel budgets and weak tourism demand. 

    (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.)

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