I predict that in the future Marriott will follow the airlines and tag on a sharp "administration fee" for those that cancel their reservations and have the point placed back into their accounts.
Mark my words, with all of the recent changes that have taken place, this one is sure to come down the pike.
Marriott.com is widely recognized as an award-winning website* and an easy-to-use platform for booking, modifying or cancelling a hotel reservation online.
Marriott promotes the Advantages of Booking a Marriott Hotel Online, clearly stating several benefits; including: the lowest rates, no penalties and no hidden costs.
Marriott has already demonstrated the business case for mobile reservations and captured $125 million in 2008 alone which likely recoups their investment. Web plus mobile increases levels of self-service which lowers labor costs. In addition, the mobile platform enables Marriott to gain even more from their partners in car rental, credit card services and so on. Marriott wants to drive this usage, it's good for business.
What thoughts drive the speculation for imposing administration fees? Wouldn't a shift in that direction drive administrative and operating costs higher, which in turn would result in higher room rates, higher point redemptions, guest dissatisfaction and overall lesser value?
In response to TJCNewYork:
What drove ALL of the airlines to charge for re-depositing frequent flyer miles back into ones account if the customer decides to cancel the trip? Can it possibly cost Delta the $100 or American $150 they charge to redeposit the miles back into an account even when the customer does it online without any employee interaction?
I say, the bottom line always trumps customer service.
In reply to Mikieg:
Marriott already has cancellation fees. For example, by calling the hotel directly, I was able to get a very affordable Advance Purchase rate at the Marriott Charlotte City Center, North Carolina. Under the Terms & Conditions, I had pay for room and tax upfront w/a credit card and had up to 14 days prior to arrival to cancel w/out penalty.
The cancellation fee was the room rate plus tax! Since I already paid my flights, the risk of cancellation was very low. Leveraging Platinum Elite, the Front Desk honored my request for an upgrade to Concierge along with BF vouchers for the weekend.
After Marriott walked away with 9 First Place awards including Best Customer Service, I'm not sure that I agree with the line of thinking that Marriott will unilaterally impose cancellation fees across the board to meet revenue goals. I'm not saying the possibility doesn't exist, but if they did, the cost of the move would certainly outweigh the gain. http://www.insideflyer.com/articles/article.php?key=5407
What I meant was that over time I believe Marriott will impose fees for returning Reward points back into your account when you cancel a stay that uses points. I thought I made a very clear reference that this is what airlines have been doing for years when they charge at least $100 to "re-deposit" miles back into accounts in the event the customer cancels a flight which was booked using frequent flyer miles.