I just spent two nights in the Marriott in Los Angeles and was frustrated by the expectation that I pay for basics. Why do the high end hotels cost more but give you less? I am frequently on business travel and stay in Courtyard and Residence Inn Hotels. At these facilities you receive complimentary wi-fi and often breakfast. However, at high end hotels they expect you to pay for everything - wi-fi, business centers, etc. I would expect an exception be made for Marriott Reward members?
"I would expect an exception be made for Marriott Reward members?"
What about parking? In LA wheels are a basic. At the Los Angeles Marriott valet parking is $30/day.
Marriott Rewards membership crossed the 30 million mark in the last quarter of 2008/early 2009. That's a staggering number to consider when it comes to complimentary parking and BF. That's no longer an exception, it would be perceived as standard.
With minor exception, complimentary parking, BF and Internet is the mainstay of the Limited Service brands. This includes TownePlace Suites, Springhill Suites, Fairfield Inn & Suites and Residence Inns. Courtyard is a segue type brand with complimentary parking, internet and paid BF. At the Full Service brands everything is a la carte.
Offering complimentary, discounted or bonus services based upon Elite status make sense. Pointsavers Plus is one example of a Marriott Rewards member discount program available to all 30 million members. 50% bonus is an example of an Elite member benefit only available to Platinum Elite. Integrating bonus BF and internet for Elite would be very attractive.
Thanks for that post. and yes there must be a way to give us the things that we've come to see as standard for less or even no additional cost.
Consider the bind that Marriott and other lodging companies are in: fewer room nights at full price are being sold, the economy is such that all costs are rising and yet revenue is falling, the pressure from competitors is always a worry and on and on and on. So, the movement to give us more for the same fees is stalled.
I would imagine that Marriott is worrying about the "legacy costs" of giving things away with the room--of the Internet used to bring in around 15 dollars per room when purchased and you sell 500,000 rooms that's quite an income stream to cut off.
Parking is also a conundrum in that a separate parking company contracts with Marriott at most larger paying locations on the hope that revenue will allow them (the parking company) to operate at a profit and then pay Marriott. In one hotel's case I know of, the revenues have dropped so dramatically at the parking facility that most staff are now part-time and the company is in danger of folding up and leaving.
Remember those Marriott GSS surveys we used to get in the mail? One question was about describing to them when the room appeared to be too expensive and when the room appeared to be too inexpensive. Maybe we need a scale for full service that tells Marriott when we see the costs of the rooms with these extra amenities as too high?
Alternatively, Marriott could bury these additional costs within the room price, but none of us would appreciate that if that were the case: paying for something we may not use is not good. The answer must be somewhere else--comping the Internet and Parking for most frequent quests or those paying rack (full) rates might be a start
Good idea, since cost sharing is one way to satisfy customers while providing services.
I wonder if Marriott would consider a "Platinum Plus" membership, similar to the fees and benefits that are attached to the higher-end credit cards (the Black Card from VISA is one). Platinum Plus would be restricted to currrent Platinum Members in good standing.
This Platinum Plus membership, renewable annually, would provide free parking at all Marriotts, free internet and reduced prices at Concierge Lounges for acohol (where this is legal). A fee of 500 dollars a year would seem to be reasonable considering all that is given to the member who buys it. It could be paid using Marriott Reward points rather than cash.
If there are ten thousand Platinum members (only a guess) and 5000 sign up, (that's what I call haivng the Costco effect: Marriott gets 500 dollars times 5000 at the start of the year and needs to do nothing else), it is a windfall for Marriott and a discount for road warriors.
The concept of charge for incidental at high end hotels is bizarre.
It is simply an indictment of the corporate willingness to pay over the odds for services.
Price for films and the like was also over priced.
Why wireless if free in a 4 star and charged that at a 5 star hotel can only mean that they are preying on the business customer.
Giving a 5 stars should relate to the build of the services included in a room price and not just availability of a service at a high cost.
come on Marriott -change to free wireless and give us a better deal.
If Marriott is bound by income producing activities, then I would propose a way in which Reward members could pay for the same type of a la carte services using points. If I choose to used the internet during my stay, Marriott could then deduct the cost of the service from my points upon departure. My example would be, instead of earning 100 points for a $100 night, I could choose to deduct the $15 charge from my total and only get 85 points. This way, I don't actually have out of pocket costs associated with my use of the internet. I think many reward members would like this type of option.