In an effort to channel our "One and Done Insider" energy into something positive I am starting this thread to see if we can drum up some ideas for increased MRI membership. The contests I have seen over the years (i.e. Baseball Stories) result in some great stories, but do not typically translate into long-term increased participation. I have clearly stated my dislike of the "Elite Stories" promotions, though have offered very little in the way of ideas for what (in my opinion) may draw increased (and prolonged) traffic. So here is one:
A focus on the blog area of MRI, particularly as it pertains to Trip Reports. I often find Trip Reports (from bejacob, vaboywnder, pluto77, IAHFLYR, painedplatinum, kharada46, and others) the most interesting to read and they often spur new places that get added to my future travel destinations. It may be too much to reward bloggers with points every time they post, though Barclay has a travel community that does just that. I think a start might be to highlight a different blog post every month and have the member receive a small number of points in recognition of their story.
Members who have been around awhile (ks77, bpelican, zukracer, jerryl, jerrycoin, foxglove, brightlybob and many others I am forgetting) : what keeps you coming back? What ideas do you have for increasing (and sustaining) membership?
Feel free to share other ideas. I look forward to hearing from old and new members alike!
NathalieF, carat, deannad, lindseyh, KatieC, melissaerb, and AndrewT: hope you find some of the ideas that I hope flow freely helpful. Any information you can share about how the contests are developed would be interesting (at least to me).
I wish I could think of a better way to bring MR members here. I joined because of a similar contest (Make a Stay, Have a Say sweepstakes). I started reading some of the content which led me to ask for some travel advice. Eventually I started a blog.
The best way to get folks to take a look at Insiders does seem to be through some sort of reward (post something and you might win points). After that, it's going to be up the new member to look around and decide to stay (or not). We as a community can be instrumental in that. Let's be realistic though. Most folks who post in hopes of winning a contest will not stick around. Is 10% retention good? Or is the number more like 1%? The point is, Marriott will do what they think necessary to drive traffic to this site. What happens next is largely up to the new member and, to a smaller degree, the community.
I'll have to give some more thought to the question about what keeps me coming back.
I too think I joined because of a contest bejacob. Though I think that was in 2009 and while I had an active profile I did not participate. However, something drew me back around 2013 (maybe another contest) and I found more value in the community. So I agree with you it is up to the new member to find something of interest which acts as a hook.
You raise an interesting question about retention. I assume there is a metric in marketing that would be tangential to what I assume Marriott is trying to do with contests. If we use the most recent example (Elite Stores) - 10% retention would be great.
I look forward to your thoughts after thinking further.
I'm not certain why I joined, but I know it was r elated to a positive experience at a Marriott hotel that I wanted to share. Ironically, I could not have shared that experience through a review of the hotel on this site, today, unless the hotel had selected me to review the experience!
I do enjoy this site and recommend it to other Marriott travelers that I know!
The danger of tagging lots of members - I am bound to forget valuable contributors. Sorry phctourist!
You make a great point about the infamous hotel reviews. While we can not be sure if they kept members here, I do think they were a mechanism to "get them in the door".
To keep people coming back they need to see value ie they learn something. I suspect there are many more who " lurk" no negetive implied but dont post . I do think hotel reviews would help as i rarely go to marroitt web site to see teviews but go to trip advisor. If they were here i would use it more. I would think that marroitt lnows how many people log in whether they post or not.
Because a self-selecting sample is not a good representation of the population. Average to good experiences won't get posted (most of the time). Bad ones will show up far more often. By taking a random sample a more accurate reflection of the overall population is achieved (even assuming many people don't complete the survey). From a statistical point of view it makes perfect sense.
Whenever I get a survey, I always complete it. As a whole, I think the same can be said for most Insiders. It would just be nice to be selected a little more often.
Hello. My name is foxglove, and I was a lurker.
It's true -- I was a member of Marriott Rewards for years before I joined this community. But once I started viewing this site and reading the discussions of experienced travelers, I realized that I could learn a lot from the seasoned travelers who posted regularly on MRI. In fact, my very first post was a question I posed about traveling with bicycles. We were about to take our bikes on vacation for the first time, and I was curious if others took their bikes into the room at night, and if so, how was that received by the hotels?
I received responses from a number of Insiders, including ssindc, lakeshore, jerrycoin, and razorbackfan, describing their experiences and urging me to "roll 'em to the room." My query was the first time my screen name had appeared on these boards, and I was grateful that these long-time insiders (I looked at the profiles) would respond to this newb with such sincere advice and a welcome.
I had been hesitant at first to join in, thinking, "What do I have to offer this community? Here I am, a career teacher who takes one, maybe two, vacations a year. What could I contribute?" A week or so after we got back from our vacation, another Insider asked for recommendations about backpacks for a trip to Europe that would include a lot of hiking. Now THAT's a topic that was right up my alley. So in gratitude for the helpful advice I'd been given, I decided to "pay it forward" and recommended a backpack that we'd used and loved for years. My advice was chosen as a finalist in the Roady Awards that year, and the rest, as they say, is history. Everyone has talents or knowledge that can be useful to someone else. Grilling, gardening -- it doesn't matter. This community's big enough so that everyone can contribute something that will be of interest and value to others.
In continuing to post and be involved, I came to realize that this is a community of caring folks, always willing to offer advice and encouragement and to share experiences. And the more involved I became, the more I began to feel the friendships that are a major cornerstone of these boards. So I agree wholeheartedly with jerryl: At the outset, it's important that new Insiders feel value for their participation. Once their initial jitters abate and they continue to post, they'll see the value in continued participation, and the friendships will naturally follow.
And I apologize for the ramble -- the slight discord of recent posts has made me contemplate at length about a community I care about deeply.
I had similar experiences. I enjoy reading the stories about travel and hotels that come from many of our "Insiders" but I also enjoy the humor and insight into other subjects that come from so many, including, but not limited to you foxglove, misterchk, brightlybob, IAHFLYR, pluto77, and so many others.
Wow! Thanks so much for starting this thread, jakeal, and thank you everyone who has already shared their ideas! Your thoughts and insights are very appreciated and I look forward to what others have to share.
I like to get detailed info on specific properties and locations and tips on air travel, dining, and sightseeing as well - super helpful. I also find TripAdvisor very helpful as well, and I often send private messages to people who post reviews of specific places I'm interested in, and most people reply with very helpful info. MRI also is a great resource for how best to use MR points, packages, etc. I would like this site better if we still had the hotel reviews. Since those went away, I go to TripAdvisor for that type of info.
Interesting food for thought, jakeal... A few quick (personal, quirky) reactions: