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Driving new and (prolonged) participation

jakeal Gold 15 Reviews
Currently Being Moderated

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?

 

Members who are new (gatilla007, SeaTexan, and many others I am forgetting)  : what would interest you most? Keep you coming back? What ideas do you have for increasing prolonged participation?

 

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).

(For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • 1. Re: Driving new and (prolonged) participation
    bejacob Platinum 38 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    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.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • 2. Re: Driving new and (prolonged) participation
    jakeal Gold 15 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    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.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • 3. Re: Driving new and (prolonged) participation
    phctourist Platinum 20 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    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!

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • 4. Re: Driving new and (prolonged) participation
    jakeal Gold 15 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    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". 

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • 5. Re: Driving new and (prolonged) participation
    phctourist Platinum 20 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    I know that I sound like I'm flogging a dead horse, but why wouldn't a company want it's most loyal customers to be rating it's service.  Why would they prefer randomly selected customers?

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • 6. Re: Driving new and (prolonged) participation
    jerryl Platinum 2 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    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.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • 7. Re: Driving new and (prolonged) participation
    bejacob Platinum 38 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    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.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • 8. Re: Driving new and (prolonged) participation
    Platinum 28 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    I would answer this but it would take a few weeks.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • 9. Re: Driving new and (prolonged) participation
    foxglove Silver 3 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    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.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • 10. Re: Driving new and (prolonged) participation
    phctourist Platinum 20 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    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.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • 11. Re: Driving new and (prolonged) participation
    lindseyh Community Manager Marriott Associate Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    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.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • 12. Re: Driving new and (prolonged) participation
    jerryl Platinum 2 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    yes and the Houston trip will be interesting as we can put a  face together with screen names except for us lost souls who have been insiders of month

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • 13. Re: Driving new and (prolonged) participation
    clebert Platinum 21 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    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.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • 14. Re: Driving new and (prolonged) participation
    ssindc Platinum 42 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Interesting food for thought, jakeal... A few quick (personal, quirky) reactions:

    • Insiders (for me) is all about Insiders information and insight - frankly, I'm more interest in the quality of content, rather than quantity;
      • While I find some of the contests entertaining - and while I've profited handsomely from some of them - I don't see them as the site's primary draw. [OK, now you've got me thinking about this debacle: Renaissance Discovery Doors Contest - Uh, gee, ... | Marriott Rewards® Insiders]... The information is where the value lies.
      • Along those lines, my biggest disappointment with the site management team is that they don't make more of an effort to tie together - and direct readers to - existing information.
        • It seems to me that the site would benefit most from ongoing efforts to organize topics, themes, place, properties, and interests so that folks could find it....  And, over time, I've been surprised and disappointed by how little of that occurs.
        • Although we don't see her very often, GemPrincess was a master of pulling together previous posts so that all the information was in one place.  I hate to think what percentage of my posts involve sharing a link (typically with a newbie) that's chock-full of useful and informative information....
        • If Marriott were using points as incentives, it seems to me that that is the kind of behavior they should be rewarding - thanking members for helping others with good information and making the site work better....
    • I agree with the folks who miss the hotel reviews because - for me - crowd sourced/macro-level hotel reviews mean next to nothing - the review is only meaningful to me if I understand something about the reviewer. For example:
      • If you're wealthy or a high-end business traveler that prefers the Ritz Carlton and JW's, and you consider the Autographs and and Renaissance properties slumming it, I'm not terribly interested in your blistering critique of the rural Residence Inn, Courtyard, or Fairfield Inn you just stayed in; and, at the opposite end of the scale,
      • While it's fascinating to hear about someone's first trip outside of the country to [fill in the blank] - and let's be clear, some of those stories are terrific, the fact that you didn't receive an upgrade or free breakfast isn't the same as when pingreeman tells me that he's being treated better by a competitor or when he's crunched numbers based on thousands of hotel nights of experience;
    • I agree with the others who said that - over time - it's easy to form electronic/social-media friend/relationships - but they're the exception, rather than the rule.  There are a number of you whose posts I follow religiously, and you tend to be the same folks that I'll reach out to by direct message.  That's a wonderful benefit. I admit, I'm genuinely curious to see if and when bejacob collects them all (is it like Pokemon?  more importantly, what then!?!?!). And, yes, I miss erc, but time marches on.  But, going back to to the point, maintaining the small community that some of us may have formed can't make this worth Marriott's while...
    • I expect Marriott would prefer more eyes - and I have no objection to lurkers and readers who don't contribute; if that's what keep the site up and running, so be it.  In fact, I probably prefer the lurkers and readers who don't contribute to
      • the folks who participate just to complain about Marriott or
      • folks who can't be bothered to do the most simple search of a topic before they post a question that's been asked an answered many times before....  But now I sound grumpy (which is a shame, even if true), and I've come full circle.
    • Thanks for prompting the discussion....

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

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