I completely believe Marriott is trying desperately to attract millennials when you look at things happening. The famous RI Mix, AC Hotels, ways to earn bonus points on Facebook and something called Twitter.
You are completely correct phctourist as they will NOT win in any market base by giving us loyal folks less. Most millennials spending when not traveling on the company dollar will not be staying at Marriott properties spending their hard earned dollars.
IAHFLYR my wife used to shop at a chain of clothing stores that catered to middle aged and senior women. It was a profitable chain that was not growing as fast as the stock market wanted.
They decided to go after the youth market and reduced the supply of clothing for their core customers.
Sales went down because the young people didn't show up and their core customers either bought less or stopped coming in at all.
The chain is worse off than they were before.
Marriott can pursue young people with new chains like Moxy and AC but it is foolish to remake existing hotel brands in ways that will drive away existing customers.
I think Marriott is making the same mistake that many corporations make. In their mission to attract new customer (Millennials), they are implementing changes that alienate their most lucrative loyal customers. Additionally, they are not recognizing that many Millennials have similar priorities (to Boomers) when traveling for business. I've been loyal to Marriott since the inception of the program and still have direct and indirect impact of thousands of $ of travel spending each year. However, downgrades to Courtyard, RI, and MR program have caused me to shift about 40% of my business travel to competitors.
Smart companies figure out how to attract new customers without alienating their core. I hope Marriott learns from their mistakes. In reality, Millennials aren't that different from Baby Boomers when we were their age (except for technology advances). As they go through life stages, don't be surprised if they become more like us. I recall how smart my father became when I had a family and responsibilities of my own.
Very good observation and so true!
Sadly, most of the places I have been loyal to, and a customer of, for decades, don't care about me anymore. One exceptions is American Express, they have been wonderful to me.
Am concerned about Customer Service People that make you feel like you are "Interrupting" their day!
I really don't think the future looks positive for most "Senior's", other that people want our votes and financial support!
I think another issue causing this is that most large corporations continue to go through 'rightsizing', which usually results in forced early retirement packages when employees reach 55. Therefore, the Marketing departments typically consist of younger people who think everyone aspires to be like them. Fortunately, my current company has a good balance of experience and young ideas. Although we continue to strive to develop products and promotions to attract Millennials, we make sure to keep focus on our core users (primarily Boomers).
I was reading a recent trend report that predicted the continued growth of Millennial importance to total spending. However, even in 10 years Boomers will still account for a greater percentage of total category (Consumer Products) spending.
I would have thought by now that companies figured out that didn't work. There have been a couple of times where the company I worked for "right sized" by offering buyout packages. The people who took them were the old employees who were close enough to retirement for this to make it worth while. The rest were the high flyers who had been around 10 years or so and knew that they could get another job fairly quickly. So each time they did that they created a "gap" in the experience level where you had sharp employees with 5 years experience, sharp employees with 20 years experience but nobody in between them. That gap moved up through the years and left the company with no choice but promoting young people too early or promoting less than fully competent people simply because they had "right sized" the "right people" "right out the door".
It's a Fool's Errand for more than just one reason.
Millenials seem to be more than just a little bit fickle. Where my generation wanted one job that they could have for a life time, or at least a career they could stay in, Millenials seem more comfortable with jumping jobs. No loyalty to a company. Same applies with airlines and hotels. Millenials are less likely to take the effort to find a Marriott and even pay a couple of bucks more. Low price and I want it now.
OK, those are stereotypes. But I think they have a basis in reality.
If Marriott ticks off people who are loyal to them in order to cater to people who will never be loyal to them I don't think they will find that a successful strategy.
Oooooh, Oooooh, Ooooooh, Bash the Millenials Game... Can I play?
OK, so maybe not, but here's the rub, folks, most boomers are retired, or close to retirement. Their stays are mainly leisure based. Marriott is a business brand and the leisure market is really the cream-whip on the top of their chocca-mocca. Business stays are both the chocca and the mocha, they are what keeps Marriott in business, not leisure stays. And millenials are tomorrow's generation of business travellers.
Yes, I think Marriott is rather putting the cart before the horse here, cutting out desks and free coffee, after all very few millenials are actually making lodging choices and I still use a desk, and would drink the free joe, but don't forget all my kids are millenials and they're already staying at hotels, the ones I choose. In 10-20 years time they'll be choosing their business lodging and Marriott here has the opportunity to impress them. Marriott doesn't want to alienate its current base in pursuit of its next one, but in 10 years time my business travel as a GenX will be winding down, just as my 4 teenagers business travel will be ramping up. 10 years is not long in the hotel trade. Any hotel undertaking a major refurbishment will be expecting that refurb to remain relevant for longer than that!
In fact Millenials are already paying and staying, see jscool and diver500. And plenty of stays too, both are Gold elite. Marriott has to work out what this generation wants and provide it, because if they don't someone else will. And we need Marriott to master it too, otherwise "pop" goes our favoured retirement hotel brand!
I´m not really sure how Marriotts are getting devalued because of the millennials. When you say devaluation, I think you are saying in terms of services: free coffee and front desks?
I can´t say for sure if this is the issue for coffee, but coffee is complicated. I´m guessing this is a financial decision, but Marriott might be confused about what the problem is. I´m guessing they have a lot of coffee waste because people aren´t drinking as much of their coffee. I´d say this might have more to do with their not-awesome coffee they serve (they tend to serve mid food-service quality). I'm more of a double millennial, but I'll go down the road and pay $3.00 for good coffee rather than theirs (I'm at a JW Marriott now and have brought my own coffee for the room). If millennial, who have been raised on quality coffee, are staying at their hotels, they probably don't drink it either. That means even more waste. Why spend $10 a day per hotel on coffee that appears to mostly get thrown out. That's my guess. It would be fun to do a study on this. Maybe if there was a way that elite members, you can get a free (and FRESH) coffee, it might make everybody happier: customer who gets a fresh cup and Marriott who spends less long term on coffee.
As far as the desks, I'm not sure a line of desks with people behind them is the most efficient way to run a hotel anymore. The Marriott app is getting better with each passing month. Check-in has improved and they have expanded what you can do with the app, like make requests at certain hotels, which surely will be expanded to all hotels over time.
Some of my app checkins have been very good. Went to Springhill in Oceanside, CA and they had my key ready and made it clear I had been upgraded (and I had, for sure). Generally, they still aren't that amazing, but they are improving.
The part I like the best is that you can now make requests from the apps. Yesterday, I ordered an extra blanket from the room and a kids activity when I was poolside. I don't want to talk to a person or go to the desk, I just want my situation fixed. My 70-year-old mom thought that was pretty slick, too. The app will be a powerful, efficient tool within a year.
The new hotels, AC and Moxy, clearly aimed at millennial, are fun and feel fresh. Everybody in my family from 30-70 likes them, especially when we don't have kids. And when we do, the kids like them well enough, however, they tend not to have pools in Europe. Moxy Milan: No free coffee in the lobby, but I've had some great cappuccini in the lobby-bar.
The courtyard is shifting to a weird empty space it seems. Come get your hotel room with little else happening. I'm not sure free coffee alone can fix this. Most are clean and get the job done, but something has to happen otherwise people will just go elsewhere. Maybe turning them into a Moxy model means more $ long term--that's not going to happen for a long time. I'm not really sure where the CY loyals will go or what is left out there for them if moving up to a Marriott falls out of their budget (and there is no free coffee there, anyway). And in my post that is way too long, I have to say, for me, I use the CY when I have to fly in or out somewhere early/late and that's about it. I wonder if fewer people are choosing a CY for much more besides for business (and even then, guests clearly aren't charmed from what I get from this community site). Long term, that could be fairly limiting for CYs. Just throw us all free breakfasts at a CY and a whole bunch of us would reconsider. ;-).
Is it not for the same reason that the most important rating for a TV show is the one ranking 18-49 year olds?
It is a fact that the majority of us contributing to this forum are not the market that is the most important age group.
Consequently the design and marketing of the future will not be to attract those of us over 50!
agree 100%, as I do with Bob. many of us don't stay thru work 75-100 times paying full fare. Those are the ones Marriott and other chains are looking for. I use to stay 100 nights per year now 30. I appreciate my lifetime status and want that benefit to continue but recognize the next generation will pay the bills. Also look at airlines as they now all will base earned points on dollars not miles so looking at millenniums who work in a business where they book last minute vs many of us who book months in advance to get a cheaper rate. We had a good run and will continue to enjoy that with what we have earned but shouldn't expect the hotel chains to focus on us
Jerryl You already paid the bills as you earned your lifetime status. Of course, Marriott should try to gain business from the younger generation but we seniors and middle age people are still a profitable customer base. Marriott should make every effort to attract the young but if they do it at the expense of their existing base, they will not experience a net gain!
Comparing Marriott to a TV network is comparing apples and flounder. They're not just different items but rather are different species.TV networks are looking for people to impress with ads and Marriott is looking for people to stay and eat at its hotels
One reason that the 18-49 demographic is coveted by TV is because they still have not solidified their brand preferences. As a result, they are more likely to be swayed by commercials. This is quite different than attracting customers to one's brand.
Marriott has a core of customers and they spend lots of money. Many of us have finished paying for our kids education and are now spending on ourselves.
An interesting discussion, however I'm not sure that I agree on all points.
I think what is important to acknowledge is that the spread of marketing and development dollars has changed from what it traditionally was, and it is not all being directed to the younger market segments. Simply because an organisation choses to engage more on social media doesn't mean that they have shifted their attention to a younger audience; one could argue that they are simply reaching out to their existing audience in new ways, as well as, yes, a new one too. Is this such a bad thing?
I have been a MR member for around 10 years, and over this short time I have seen some changes; some for the good and some for the bad. I note that presently, looking around the globe, there is a massive push towards development of the premium properties (i.e. Ritz-Carlton), a brand which is more likely to be frequented by older, more cashed-up, customers, as opposed to the younger ones.
It's easy to take a swipe at a company of seemingly engaging a younger market, and it's even easier to have a go at that younger market itself. I, like many other people in my 20's, in fact, like anyone else for that fact, can chose where I stay, and how I engage with the companies I do business with.
I am a platinum member, and have been gold for a number of years before being platinum, I have 100% choice where I spend my business and leisure money, and where I stay. Much like anyone else. I think it's important to remember that despite the many changes in this world, not everything changes, and the strategy which Marriott appears to be employing, has worked time and time again, in lots of different market segments. After all, how did they engage you?
Marriott engaged me, beaug, with comfortable rooms, great service, a wonderful loyalty program, and lots of other features.
Making desks and closets smaller or nonexistent does not really add anything and it does make a room less comfortable for me.
Yes, great point, Jsucool76 Starwood does have some pixie dust sprinkle amongst its brands for you millenials...
I applaud Marriott for utilizing marketing communication tools to target Millennials as well as providing the technology options that are important to them. These have no negative impact to me as a business traveler. My concern is that many changes to Courtyards, RI, and some FS properties (no desks) negatively impact my travel experiences.
I was reading about Hilton's new Canopy brand that is being launched soon in several locations. While these are targeting Millennials, they also are including things that are important to all of us as business travelers: Complimentary breakfast and comfortable, functional rooms. While Courtyard and Marriott have invested heavily in lobby and public areas, their rooms have been ignored. Both Courtyard and RI have reduced complimentary food options and quality.
If Marriott is smart, they will focus on things that appeal to most travelers, both Millennials and 'aging' customers. Many of us will be working and traveling beyond traditional retirement age and will continue to represent a large portion of hotel expenditures. There is no reason not to provide the best of both worlds.
Additionally, now that Marriott owns Aloft, they can stop trying to make Courtyards like Alofts. That is the only mid-priced chain that I avoid more than Courtyards. I'm sure the concept appeals to some, but not me.
I agree with you superchief1 but I also lament that closets are getting smaller or being eliminated in many Marriott properties. These changes to RI seem especially strange since the brand is geared to longer staying guests.
I have to admit that I haven't noticed the closets because most of my business stays are short. I have found it odd that some extended stay properties have small closets and no drawers. For extended stays, I really don't want to live out of a suitcase. My vacations don't really begin until things are unpacked and put away, and I've purchased my food and wine. Fortunately, we usually stay in timeshares for vacations.