Brand integration between Ritz Carlton and Marriott Rewards may be revving up. The Ritz Carlton Pointsavers could be a harbinger of more to come. There are differences that merit bridging. For example, the Marriott Rewards redemption schedule is built upon Hotel Categories. The Ritz Carlton Pointsavers redemption schedule has Tier 1 and Tier 2. Mapping tiers to categories would be interesting...
If the brand integration between Marriott Rewards and Marriott Vacation Club is an example, brace yourself. It took 25 years. The 25th Anniversary was April 2009 and the move of Vacation Clubs into Hotel Categories went into effect July 16, 2009. Over that period MVCI built a critical mass of 400,000 owners and a portfolio of nearly 50 clubs worldwide.
Is the population of upscale guests loyal to the Ritz Carlton likely to accelerate in an economic downturn? If not, the integration may be placed on-hold indefinitely.
"I've always found it odd that Ritz will aceept MR points for stays, but doesn't participate in the earning of points."
My guess it's an upsell strategy. Encourage Marriott Rewards members to experience the exclusivity of The Ritz using points, then convert them to paying guests with personalized services: in-room gourmet dining, spa treatments, concierge services, fitness training and so on.
The other compelling factors driving one-way point redemption are revenue and occupancy. Looking under the hood of the 2nd Qtr Earning Reports,* p15 and p 16 breaks out the number of properties and rooms by brand. In the luxury segment, Ritz domestic has 37 properties and 11,549 rooms compared to Ritz international with 33 properties and 10,117 rooms. By RevPAR (p21), the Ritz is at the high end with $185.34, but -31% down compared to 2008. Ritz occupancy has the highest % decrease compared to all other brands.
Exclusivity comes at a price that fewer travelers are willing to pay.
By encouraging/allowing MR point redemption, The Ritz can offset some of the losses.
Last week, I checked some Sept dates for Orlando which listed for $349 per night, which if you stay 5, pay for 3, is just a little over $200/night, less if you stay seven, pay for four. Parking is comp for only 3 nights, I believe. Don't know what it normally costs at Ritz, but JW is 16 or 23 (valet) daily. Here are details I found. There's a link on the Marriott main page for this deal. BTW, don't know exactly where to post this, but a real perk for active and retired military golf enthusiasts in Orlando, green fees at Disney Palm or Magnolia courses are only $59 before 10am, and $39 after 10 am. Both are to golf courses what the JW and Ritz Grande Lakes are to accomodations.
Valid through September 30, 2009
Starting at $299 USD per night
Enjoy accommodations, daily breakfast for two, Internet, local calls, parking and up to three complimentary nights.
The Peace of Mind package includes:
*Enjoy up to 3 complimentary nights:
Complimentary night(s) will be credited at time of check-out and must be consecutive. Breakfast can be taken only in the restaurant and does not apply to in-room dining.
Package is subject to availability and cannot be combined with any other offer. Advance reservations are required; rates do not apply to groups. Rates listed are per room, per night, single or double occupancy, and exclusive of taxes, gratuities and other charges unless otherwise noted. Hotel and resort credits cannot be used toward room rate, tax, resort fee or gratuities. Credit cannot be reimbursed or exchanged if not used. Credit must be used during stay.
I had stayed at the JW right next door. Both properties are very very nice but I was put off by the parking fee. The hotels are standalone with nothing around them for a mile, yet they make you pay for parking. I know nickel and diming is a part of their business plan, but at this place it's really in your face since the place is so isolated and they have a captive audience.
Good thing your breakfast is included because I had a cow when I saw scrambled eggs on the menu for $14.
As Mikieg points out, the JWMarriott and Ritz are relatively isolated compared with other properties which are clustered on International Drive and near Sea World, Disney World or Universal. If complimentary self-parking is included, sounds worthwhile, the JW has a terrific pool and the Ritz features a fabulous spa.
For dining, don't get your hopes up. The venues at the JW/Ritz aren't exactly culinary experiences to write about.* Perhaps that explains why no one has written a review about Citron at TripAdvisor.com. It's not that the food is bad, it's pricey and nothing special. Mikieg's comments says it all about the price for scrambled eggs.
I'm heading to Orlando with my family the weekend of August 7th and noticed some good deals at the JW Grand Lakes but passed on it when I considered all of the "ancillary" charges that I would have to pay.
However, I kept the trip in the Marriott family since I booked a two bedroom villa at Grande Vista for the same price - with complimentary parking.