Well, I previously posted about the end of two bars of soap in a room, and now to add to that, the end of the availability of local papers in the lobby of a Residence Inn! Seems that in the name of cost-cutting, the little things are being scrubbed, and to the chagrin of loyal guests. Popcorn has been eliminated from the inroom welcome amenities as well.
There comes a time when the little things become the big things. Ironically, in times when money is tight and competition no less fierce, many companies have decided to make the effort to stand out from the crowd, offering more for the same or even less outlay of cash.
Ironically Marriott's new promotion features good-looking and ambitious 24/7 folks who rely on Marriott to meet their business needs--I used to be in that group. But as the little things start disappearing from the rooms and the competition continues to add perks for their top tier stayers, more and more folks will head for other places if there is a choice.
Marriott might be better served to baseline their lodging amenities and to decide what they must preserve to keep us coming back. I've mentioned that the Platinum guests need to feel they are special and have earned something more than a nod at the front desk. Putting some distance between Platinum and Gold would a good start--adding perks that Gold members do not have, etc.
It is a market and a free one. Remember Westingtonhouse and Philco, the two top names in appliances in the 1950s? Gone, except for some offshore name users, I fear. Howard Johnson's? ditto.
Let's, as a group, help Marriott understand that we are the business of their business--that our comments and our desires are not entirely self-serving, and that we want to stay with Marriott as long as the loyalty flows both ways.
I totally agree, this forum is great. But I feel as though it is morphed into loyalty members sharing thoughts and feelings with other loyalty members around the pluses and minuses of Marriott.
That I am sure was a key driver for this, however I have noticed that when someone has an issue with something one of two things happen. Another member defends Marriott or the other members agree with the issue.
There is no resolution. The idea sharing is great, it is indeed great to here pleasant experiences and where to stay, eat, and sight see.
But I feel as though Marriott does not do an adequate job of monitoring these boards and being proactive to what the loyalty members are feeling.
Just my thoughts.
"our desires are not entirely self-serving, and that we want to stay with Marriott as long as the loyalty flows both ways."
That's a key phrase and take-away from what I consider an excellent post. What you describe is not happening at the various properties I have been frequenting since the Elite Rollover Nights and Global Rate Break promotions were announced.
At a Courtyard I visit fairly often, there is new smoke-free signage and the Front Desk is instructed to circle the Recovery Fee while reminding guests at check-in about the smoke free policy. I was among several guests that provided feedback to the GM w/these suggestions.
At one Fairfield Inn where waffles are served during the week Mon-Thurs, new management sees a benefit in extending this amenity to guests on the weekend too. They hired a new BF person who is outgoing and actively engaged in assisting guests with the grill, the toaster, whatever. How did it come about? Guest feedback.
At a Towneplace Suites which opened earlier in the year, Gold and Platinum guests receive complimentary bottled water at check-in. Continental breakfast was expanded beyond the brand offering to include waffles. How did this come about? Management listened and responded to guest feedback.
Because of the economy, the trend of full-service guests migrating to the limited-service brands is bound to increase. As the few examples which come top-of-mind illustrate, management at individual properties do themselves a service by being open to guest feedback, responding to it and striving for continuous improvement in service delivery.
Corporate edicts can only go so far. If there is a take-away here, it is that corporate give more tools to the individual properties that will enable them to capture feedback in efficient ways and embellish brand offerings in a way to be competitive in their respective markets. For example, If a property is in an industrial market, maybe two or three bars of soap make alot of sense. Or, if the property is in a high leisure market - give popcorn. No guest in the White Mountains of New Hampshire would except a complimentary Lei at check-in, but a bottle of water works especially after several hours driving there. Whereas, a complimentary Lei is a welcome greeting anywhere in Hawaii to us mainlanders.
Let's hope that as the economy recovers, Marriott retains its position at the forefront of the hospitality market. I would be very disappointed otherwise.
Good points. Insiders is just one of many touchpoints where Marriott can 'tune in'. Realistically, the organization is incredibly huge and processes for responding let alone implementing change can be mired in layers of management. Keeping in mind that Marriott associates do not have access to Insiders, what does make it back to corporate is likely filtered and homogenized.
Each person posting on this board has the opportunity to provide direct feedback to the management at individual properties. IMO, direct feedback related to one's guest experience is the most effective approach.
Dear Columbussig and TJCNewYork:
Thanks for the posts. I think that some folks at HQ actually review the stuff we post--I know that that was the way that rollover nights got implemented, for example.
We must realize that for every idea we post, which are often based on a review of one or two incidents, a large corporation like Marriott cannot jump to fix or accept an idea.
Having been a cog in several large wheels, some larger than Marriott, I know that good ideas must have a valid ROI for them to work with the leadership.
In a tough economy return on investment is the byword and it must be clearly evident in the implementation of any idea. If we hit on something that cannot be done economically even if it makes sense loyalty-wise, chances are it will never get done.
Just my thoughts.
Glad to read that I'm not the only newspaper junkie who doesn't get the headlines from the internet. Although I've yet to stay at any Marriott property with only one bar of soap, I've noticed that the body wash is rarely provided, thus requiring the use of the bar of soap. I'm happy to report that my most recent stay this week at the SHS in West Des Moines, every room was furnished with a free bottle of water (along with two others for $2.50 each) and without asking or it being mentioned at check-in, I got my paper at my door in the morning because the desk clerk saw my preference on my profile. Great service! Now if the breakfast attendent could just understand English...
Stepping Stones and MikieFLA
As anecdotal as one bar of soap, absence of popcorn and no newspapers seems, it illustrates a larger challenge the industry faces: Plummeting NOI. The hotels are struggling to deliver upon expectations while keeping expenses to a minimum so they can make payroll and pay back their loans.
As properties struggle to stay open, the little they can do to retain loyalty is really a matter of perspective. The question is, to what extent will guests remain loyal when services are cut to the bone?
It's not just Marriott brands, the challenge of plummeting NOI is everywhere.