I was in the concierge lounge this evening at the Marriott I am staying and it was quite crowded, mostly because there was a person holding a meeting in the lounge. They dominated the environment and greatly limited the ability of guests to interact. I gave up and left. At 9 PM I returned for a cup of coffee and they were still there. It was no surprise to me that the lounge was empty with the exception of them because it was not very welcoming as a result of the group.
This brings me to my question, what is the proper concierge etiquette for meetings? I see that some Marriott lounges have signs asking for guest to refrain from having meetings and children in the lounge. Is this hotel by hotel, franchise to franchise, or a Marriott wide policy?
I would welcome any knowledge regarding Marriott policies or thoughts to this practice.
At the full service locations stayed recently, the Inn & Conference Center at University of Maryland, the Saddle Brook Marriott, Wentworth-by-the-Sea and Melville Long Island New York Marriott among others, it is very evident that children are welcome in Concierge by the presence of board games stored in open view.
I'm glad you bring it up. Consistently, the Insiders survey indicates, 88% of business travelers extend a trip for leisure. Many destinations cater to families with children and it is to Marriott's benefit to offer services that accomodate their guests - so they come back!
I have invited a business contact into Concierge to relax prior to heading out to dinner. Prior to doing so, I will consult with Concierge and alert him/her of the nature of the meeting and my objectives. Concierge cooperates every time, and I reward them for doing so. I have found the Marriott Concierge lounge an ideal setting to strengthen a business relationship. That's what hospitality is all about.
Not once has the presence of children posed an interruption. Staying in the moment, a business conversation that shifts gear to family can be extremely powerful in building rapport.
The NYC Marquis discourages meetings during peak eating times--breakfast and dinner--which works most of the time.
Down to the point: The lounge is not a place to have ten guests in my opinion. whether for a meeting, a pizza party, or jello shooters contest! Cell phone loud talkers need not stay long either, or those who feel that their presence needs to be recognized by the rest of us.
Please think of others when you use the lounge--if you want to be the life of the party then have it elsewhere
Yeah I've seen the same thing a few times and it ticks me off. The concierge lounge is the RESPITE from the long business day, and the ESCAPE from the maddening crownds in the rest of the hotel. It should be an OASIS for the Platinum members, not a "party room" for (whoever decides to crash it).
Worst offender: The NY Marriotts.
Ten guests--not a problem as long as one holds the door for the other nine--I have seen it done. Plus tailgating in is also common. Used to be that you needed to sign in for Concierge Lounge access--but that is now virtually non-existant in the Lounges that I have frequented. Free for all ensues.
Also, Concierges are generally reluctant to confront guests,under any circumstances, or challenge them. The lounge has become a place to hang with your brood, to watch TV, misuse the honor bar, and stock up on goodies for the room or the ride home! Sad but true.
What say we eliminate the Lounges all together and substitute points for it? Or make it Platinum Elite Access Only, and limit guests? How is that for an idea?
Lets not do away with the lounges just because of a few boorish individuals. One would expect a certain level of decorum by the business travelers, meaning it should be understood that the lounge is a place to unwind and relax after the end of the work day, and there should not be loud cell phone conversations, children running about (often wanting the channel changed to cartoons), and other little annoyances that just plain should not be present.
Keep the lounges, just monitor the access and activites a little better.
"Concierges are generally reluctant to confront guests,under any circumstances, or challenge them."
Several concierges I've encountered did inquire in a manner both complimentary and engaging vs confrontational. Concierge access is an honor and a privilege for Gold and Platinum. It's not a party room, not a rented meeting room or a free goodies bar. That's why it is so important to call the Concierge before inviting a guest.
If the Front Desk issued a key card then I respect the Concierge's perogative to verify. I'm not saying that the Concierge should become a lounge cop, rather, I always appreciate quality interaction and believe that a Concierge can be outgoing and pleasant w/o being confrontational.
Maybe Marriott should be more Ritz-y, making this a pay as you go floor option and not letting guests in without ID--and charging 50 bucks a head as well. Ritz Club Floors are actually fine dining establishments with free liquor, so that is a difference.
A Marriott GM once told me that one of three guests needed to pay for drinks at the honor bar for his Concierge Lounge to break even, so maybe the fee should be applied to all.
Dead horse being beaten here alert! If the Lounge is to be exclusive then it should be exclusive. Changing the keying might work, or posting a sign about guest charges might work, but eliminating the Lounge all together will most definitly work--that's a bit Draconian!
PGA and USGA have ways of determining who is a professional golfer and who is not on tour--Marriott could easily do the same.
So, hospitality is hospitality--making the Lounges exclusive is the goal. Rules should be established, and followed at Cat 1 through 8 hotels.
The horse is no longer being beaten.
The European Marriott hotels don't seem to tolerate that behavior. I've always had a pleasant experience using the concierge lounges there. In the states they can be hit or miss with people taking advantage in my opinion because some people can't comprehend 'complementary" and feel that because it's free, no courtesy is required.
I have observed a decline in common sense and courtesy over the last few years, and the Concierge lounge behavior is just one illustration. Personally, I have no problem with two or three business associates meeting in the concierge lounge outside of the food service hours as long as they are not impacting the experience of others. It is a shame that business professionals require 'policing'. The abusers are likely the same people who 'reserve' lounge chairs at the pool/beach for several hours without using them.
Thanks for the comment about those who reserve lounge chairs for hours as analagous to takeovers at the concierge lounge. The need for etiquette does exist!
The Palmeras pools at Desert Springs Villas feature 3 large pools, 2 hot tubs, games, activities, a Grill, Bar, restrooms, showers and cabanas. The Palmeras complex is LARGER than the pool complex at the JW Desert Springs (but much smaller than the pool complex at the Orlando World Center).
The Palmeras is open from 7am to 10pm daily. One morning we arrived at 8am to find 7 of 8 cabanas reserved with only one occupied and no one in the pools. Outside of the pool gate the sign clearly says, 'no reserving'. We left shortly after 9am to have breakfast and came back around noon. We were amazed that the cabanas were still reserved w/o anyone occupying them.
What's up with this behavior? The Palmeras pool complex is among the best I've seen from a design perspective from the standpoint of providing shaded areas and covered areas around the entire perimeter. I do understand the need to find refuge from UV exposure, but to reserve and not use the cabanas or choice shaded areas is just rude.
The lounges, about 500 total, are an artifact of the 1980s. I would suppose that they originally served (since this predates the Marquis and Honored Guests programs) as a way to incentivize Marriott customers to stay at a hotel with a floor that charged a premium rate. Remember the special soft goods on the floor where the Lounge was? (better pillows, triple sheeting, amenities that differed?) I can still see the shoe buffers in the corner of the Concierge level rooms and Lounges that I frequented.
Now that lounges are open to more folks, not just those paying for them, the rules and the atmosphere has changed. Exclusivity, once the lounge's hallmark, is being compromised by some, those whose behavior is noted in this string of posts, and whose behavior changes the experience for us all.
Might be time to establish system-wide rules limiting guests, and access to the Concierge Lounges. Just a thought
"Now that lounges are open to more folks, not just those paying for them, the rules and the atmosphere has changed."
That statement does not match experience, IMO.
Prior to October 2008, Concierge Lounges were open to Elite and anyone assigned to a concierge level room because they paid extra for an upgrade. Rules were lax. After 10/08 implementation of new policy varied, but most properties I stayed at enforced restricted access to Concierge for Gold and Platinum only.
I recall a Silver Elite getting very upset at check-in in the lobby of the Boston Copley in November 2008. The confrontation was alarming to watch and embarassing as I was next in the queue and the Front Desk person was fighting back tears as she was the recipient of some pretty foul language.
By mid-January 2009, Concierge Lounges open on weekends became the artifact. Some properties closed Concierge completely claiming that the lounge was being renovated. In fact, that's when issuing BF vouchers for Platinum became more of an issue. I know, because it happened to me and countless others.
Since January, rather than extend business travel for leisure at a full service hotel, it has become more practical to switch properties when full service does not issue BF vouchers. The main corporate corridors are saturated with Marriott brands, it's fairly easy to find a Fairfield Inn or Springhill Suites nearby, get 500 additional points for another arrival gift plus comp BF. Then, check-in at full service Sunday night when CL is open.
Recalling the announcement in early April,* it's odd to hear reports of CL crashing in 2009. It's the exception, in my experience, not the rule. If it is happening on a broader basis, I'm thankful to not be exposed to it. At the properties where it is happening, the Front Desk, the Concierge and Loss Prevention are NOT doing their jobs, or their jobs have changed.
NY: Recall that the Lounge was a pay for it benefit when it began. Now it is a perk and pay for it thing. I have also seen confrontations with FDP about being granted access, and seen the associate handle it with finesse and grace. Was the irate person satisfied? No. Did the offending guest feel slighted? Who can say? Is there a solution to this concundrum? No, unless there is a fully implemented rule from Marriott that the lounge is for the exclusive use of those guests staying on the floors, those guests in suites, and those guests who have achieved either Gold or Platinum status for the year. A small sign at check in or a note on the little key folder might be added.
If everyone played fair, and never asked for something that was not supposed to be given, then access to lounges would be handled as intended.
The No Smoking note on the welcome materials seems to be going well, how about a reminder about Lounge access?
"No, unless there is a fully implemented rule from Marriott"
That's exactly what did not happen. Due to Marriott properties rolling out new policies and changing rules midstream in October 2008, Elite and other guests who were given Concierge access previously if there was availability had an expectation. Nothing was communicated.
Change management requires repeated communications to be effective. When the 2009 Program Changes were implemented, there was clearly lack of oversight.
I think we all agree (I hope) that rules are rules, following them benefits us all, and until they change, if they do, we can be content with them.
Concierge Lounges are not everyone's cup of tea: for some it is a place to unwind, conduct business, have the kids watch TV, whatever. I use them for meals mainly. I seldom hold meetings there. I assume I am in a minority on this issue but think the widest spectrum of Marriott Rewards Elite members should be able to call each Lounge their own--whatever that might mean.
I have observed the same boorish behavior in many lounges over the past 10+ years. What really galls me is someone sitting at a 4-person table (solo) during breakfast reading the news or doing work on their laptop (or i-pad). Maybe it's the free Wi Fi in the lounge? but then again, if they are eligible for access to the lounge, they have free internet in their room! Very inconsiderate and it's too bad the lounge staff are not bold enough to say something. Perhaps it is the new culture we are seeing of no understanding of common courtesy and clearly no self-awareness.
There has been a lot of discussion about the CL's and certain behaviors in them. One of the better threads is here:
For me, I have thankfully been lucky and never run across a large scale meeting where the participants have taken over the lounge. However, if I did, and it was during the scheduled breakfast time or evening hours I would ask someone (Marriott) to stop it. If the meeting was taking place during the middle of the day, I wouldn't really care as I wouldn't be spending time in the CL and probably just passing through to get a water. However again...if ALL the people in the CL did not have access, they shouldn't be there and Marriott should be monitoring that.
'they have refreshments that is not the case in the meeting rooms'
Exactly...and that is why they should not be meeting in the CL. That scenario creates an extra cost to the CL that Marriott probably interprets as a cost created by 'elites'. That's not right. Whatever happened to the days when CL usage was actually monitored.........
I have been in CL's where people stand outside the door waiting for someone to go in and they just follow them in. If no one checks...they've got a freebie! If I get to the CL and someone is standing there, I offer them to go first. If they tell me to go ahead, I'll ask them if they have a key. If they respond or don't, I'll tell them to use it because they're not coming in on mine.
The only way to resolve these many CL issues is for the hotel to post - and enforce - the rules. No meetings, no boisterous or loud manners, no one without access rights, shirts and shoes required, be courteous of others, etc. Even then, not every offense can be covered. There are as many views of whether or not behaviors are considered good/bad, right/wrong, decent/indecent, appropriate/inappropriate, polite/impolite, courteous/discourteous, etc, etc, etc. as there are people. Some behaviors can be considered black and white, some fall into a gray area, as we've seen here. Be courteous can mean a million different things. For the most part, we have to tolerate the little peeves in one another's behaviors that we find offensive, whether mildly or grossly so.
I took my two small grandchildren into the CL every morning for one week last summer, as that is where breakfast was served. They were quiet, although not perfectly so, and I was on the lookout for dirty looks, but didn't detect any so far as I could tell. The Concierge was fantastic. The thing is, I was on pins and needles with worry, and could not enjoy myself. I don't ever plan on doing that again. Some folks think small children shouldn't be allowed perhaps, and perhaps they're right. But they needed to eat. We didn't stay too long.
At the end of any workout, my clothes are drenched and sweat drips off me like I am standing underneath a shower, and my face is beet red. It's how God made me, I guess. I wouldn't be caught dead in a CL in that state for even a second. It's bad enough just getting past the elevator and hallway without being seen. But that's just me. We're all different. And most gyms have water coolers in my experience.
It is hard to make comments about a particular incident. I was in a CL having breakfast and a man came in wearing a robe. He took his food with him and it was probably enough mor more people than just him. On first thought, it seemed inappropriate but what if he were diabetic or had another medical condition and needed to eat immediately. Maybe he is used to room service and likes to eat before he showers and gets dressed and it is just a prefrence. Maybe he just wanted to eat and didn't care what he was wearing.
They could put up signs saying proper attire but then it would still be uncertain what was expected.
Is the CL a place for just business people to use? If so, what about those who earn status with personal travel with families?
Maybe if the rules were strictly applied (as they are supposed to be), many of us would still be getting weekend CL breakfasts as well as nightly hors d'oeuvres and desserts. I still get them all the time when I travel abroad, but have never gotten that here at home in the past few years.
We all have our pet peeves. Most folks I run into are well meaning individuals that mean no harm to others. If there are general rules for the CLs, then I think we self police. If something really gets your goat, it should be brought to the attention of hotel management. Sometimes things just don't work out. When and if you start to get overwhelmed with bad experiences that aren't being addressed......we can vote with our dollars and stay elsewhere.
PS.... I like seeing all ages in the CL. I don't have little ones and no grandkids yet, but enjoy them being around. Kids are built to make noise and have fun. Fussiness comes in all ages. I have never seen kids running amok in any CL. I'm sure it happens, but they're always accompanied by adults and genuinely happy to be there. I haven't experienced the large business meetings. I've seen a couple of folks off to the sides, from time to time, but never more then 4.
I have seen kids up at the buffet touching things and even tasting food and putting it back. This was the exception. I have seen adults doing things too. It is hard to say all ....., should not be allowed. I like your idea about taking individual incidents to management. Keep in mind possible lawsuits for trying to keep out certain individuals.
If I go in the CL and just want to relax for a while and it is noisy, I go back to my room. If enough happens that I find that I am not using it then it is no longer a benefit that would make me stay at Marriotts.
I'm have no issue with children in the CL...and nobody else should either....unless they are pawing the food and slamming the drink doors or leaving them open and running around without monitoring as happened only once. I don't care who does what in the Lounge as long as they are respectful of others in there. Large scale meetings don't belong during food times.
I don't read here that anyone is restricting kids or asking for them to be banned. I think this entire discussion is around behavior.....and that bad behavior should be monitored by Marriott.....not elites or anyone else. That's it. People who use the CL have a right to expect the proper decorum (spelled: manners) be exhibited by all. The CL is not my or anyone else's personal suite and I (and others) do not have the right to disrespect the time or presence of anyone else.