Has anyone noticed an uptick in the frequency of Marriott staff members being quick to offer you a few extra points if they've disappointed you in some way? Here are two examples from this week of what I'm talking about:
1. At the Marriott Walnut Creek, CA , which has recently undergone a renovation of their rooms (this will be the subject of a more extensive separate post with pictures), we walked into our room to find a toilet tank in our shower. Mind you, they had upgraded our room, it was disapponting to find a leaky commode and another partial commode in our shower. The front desk (Chris) was extremely appologetic, and quickly made us an offer of half off the first room night and 10,000 Marriott Rewards points to assuage any ill feeling.
2. At the Marriott San Francisco Airport Waterway, I checked in online, and politely requested an upgrade as I have my wife traveling with me this week on a mixed purpose business/leisure trip. We show up to pick up our keys and stand in the mobile check-in line for 10 minutes. Disappointingly, Pauline asks us if we are being helped after 5 minutes, tells us she rang someone in the back to come help us, and walks away. Nobody shows up... Meanwhile a dozen guests are being checked in the old-fashioned way in the regular line. (mrbmbrown I know you can appreciate this). Another 5 minutes passes, the manager happens by and asks if anyone is taking care of us... " No Mam, nobody." She uses the computer in front of me to check another guest in from elsewhere, and walks away saying she too will send someone back. Well, "along comes Pauline" again saying she will take care of us. She asks my name, and then says she can't find my keys... Am I sure I checked in online? How long ago?... she tells me she will just need to start again, and I quickly realize I should politely ask about an upgrade if there is going to be any chance of one. We get a water view with our bed preference (thankfully) and that's the end of it. I go back to my phone a little later and tell the Chat Associate with whom I had arranged extra pillows, amenities and an upgrade about the above check-in experience. His solution? How about 5,000 points to make you feel better? I said fine, and moved on.
I have a number of other examples where points are substituting for expected service, but these came from this week alone. Are you seeing a similar trend? What do you think about it? How do we get our expected level of service back? These kinds of circumstances often turn into points-shorting brightlybob experiences too, only serving to compound your disappointment. In example 1 above, the discount was applied to our bill, and our regular points showed up, but I now have to chase Chris down to get the 10,000 points he offered to make things better... The gesture is only as good as the execution, right? Please share your thoughts on the trend.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this thread. I'm sure it's frustrating to receive points instead of the expected level of service, as we strive to offer the same exemplary level of service at all of our hotels. I have shared this thread with our greater Customer Care team to make them aware of your experiences. Please send me a private message if you'd like me to look further into either of the instances at the hotels above.
Yes, nationwide , I absolutely have noticed this. I won't point out specifics since it's not bothering me, and service is improving where they have done that (given me points after screwing up)
The JW in New Orleans does the same thing. I have been staying with them for years. This Friday I stayed and the service was so bad and unfriendly, I cancelled the rest of my reservations I booked with them thru the rest of the year. That is 5! reservations I cancelled.
It was my go to and I always tried to be positive about them. The location is great and the new CL is LEGIT! but the front desk people and house keeping people have always been pretty bad. I guess this weekend just broke the straw.
They were always quick to give out 5k points.
Sorry to hear about this SeaTexan It's very unusual for JW's to have anything but great service. Did the GM reach out to you after you cancelled 5 reservations?
The Nola JW is not a typical JW... its really not at all. Most JW are awesome but this one has always been behind. No, I don't imagine the GM would reach out to me. I cancelled them all online.
I still have one there, only due to price (I booked way ahead for a football game). I also have the downtown Marriott booked on the same day. I booked it when I cancelled the others as a back up. I need to consult with the people going to the football game with me about it. Or we might just be at different hotels.
There is another game I am going to there with others and I cancelled all those rooms (mine and my friends) and rebooked at the Ren.
The JW has never once honored my feather free room and just trying to get extra towels or anything brought up to the room is a ton of work. For me, I don't want to fight it, or hope that they will do something about it anymore. I was so miserable, stupid feathers! Marriott has a lot of to chose from in Nola so I am not worried.
If the GM contacts me, its only going to be to try and get me there again.
I agree with your sentiments - When hotels make it work to get what we've already been promised, I vote with my feet and wallet and take my business elsewhere after trying a few times to get the issue corrected first with management's help. It's almost always a training issue in my opinion.
I have not experienced a commode in the bathtub but recently in DFW Marriott both my wife and I had to lug our suitcases down 12 stories after the elevators stopped working and we waited for almost 30 minutes and because we had to get to the shuttle/flight, we were left with no choice. At the bottom of the stairwell, we both had to much through 4-5" in standing water to even leave the area. They comped our room and gave us bonus points but I think they forgot the message of customer service. Firstly, They should have put notices immediately on all the elevators so we were not standing around wasting valuable time. They then should have at least tried to provide SOME level of porter service. Funny thing was the housekeeping knocked on our door at 0645hrs to clean our room and luckily we were already up because that would have sent me off the edge to begin with! So ridiculous.
SeaTexan I'd think with your smile alone you could get the rules changed on a moments notice and get service to improve. I've got a lot of years and a lot less hair on my head, but I still manage to charm my way into a lot of great situations. Give it a shot - bring the wings if necessary! OH wait, those were gemstones in your pic - always look like angel wings or something behind you. What the heck - I'm sticking with my original statement.
Hahaha! Ah the gem show in Tuscon Az is amazing! That is a fun pic and those are my wings...they are just really heavy and I am more like an ostrich when I wear them. JW Starr Pass Tucson honored my request.
I would need a forklift for those wings. It would be quite a show! Maybe I'd get that feather free room with out having to keep requesting. I would point how how my wings were feather free, therefore my room should be too.
My next stay is in Aug at the JW Guanacaste Costa Rica. I'll let you know how my charms go.
I am happy, I smile, and maybe the NCAA conf the JW was hosting was making everyone cranky...*must smile harder*
News Flash: Dateline Tuscon July 26, 2016:
A bright purple crystalized ostrich was seen hovering over the JW Star Pass with a large megaphone broadcasting her feather free message for humanity. Forces from MRI are trying to talk her down from her self-styled perch, but she refuses to come down for less than 80,000 points. More news at 11 or when the situation develops further...
I'd like to think this is an issue with a particular property and not chain-wide.
A property I frequented had been remodeled which included new carpeting. For whatever reason, the upward facing nails used to keep the carpet in place were longer than the carpet was thick, so I routinely stepped on nails in my bare feet. Every week, same issue. Complaints got me points, but the issue was never resolved.
I stopped complaining and would label where not to step from experience.
I rarely have problems with Marriott hotels, so don't know if this is a trend or not, but I can offer up one recent experience that fits the theory. I spent a weekend at the Manhattan Beach (CA) Marriott, and had a pretty poor stay start to finish. I happened to get a Marriott e-mail survey after my stay, in which I was honest about the many service failures we experienced. A manager from the hotel sent me an e-mail, apologized for a couple of the things I mentioned (while ignoring the rest) and deposit 5,000 points in my account as a goodwill gesture.
While I'll never turn down free points, I did write the manager back to say that I wasn't looking for compensation but rather for the hotel to hopefully learn from my poor experience so they could improve services for future guests. I never got even a courtesy "thank you" reply after that, which led me to assume (fairly or not) that they are in the habit of throwing points at dissatisfied guests without bothering to do anything about the underlying problems.
I extend a deep and personal thanks to deannad for jumping in to aide in getting the situations resolved above in my examples. She has also kindly shared these examples with the customer care team to get this to a better place more broadly. deannad rocks! I agree, educating and informing is the right big picture answer. An update as of the moment, example 1 is resolved and we are working on the second. My concern though is the perceived prevalence of a points offer as "the" solution. Has this indeed really become the trendline?
It seems from the replies above that the notion of remedying a disappointment through a rewards points offer happens commonly. And, please don't misunderstand me, I appreciate fixing a problem. I love my points and the flexibility they provide me! I am concerned though that this is becoming too easy an answer. I am anxious to hear from other prominent Insiders here whether you are seeing this trend too. What are you seeing bejacob brightlybob mrbmbrown peymanagement IAHFLYR muppetwrangler mustanggt jerryl jerrycoin bpelican painedplatinum pluto77 vaboywnder clebert and others?
I too must be lucky in my experiences. I have had virtually no service issues in my 5+ years with Marriott Rewards. I've never been in a situation where something happened that involved points as an apology for a mistake. Like painedplatinum , if something came along and the manager wanted to throw some points my way, I wouldn't mind.
I didn't respond earlier because I didn't have anything to add on the topic. However, since you asked, I didn't want to be rude by staying silent. I have no doubt it is a problem some have. I'm glad It has not been an issue for me.
I, too (or should I say "I three") have experienced very, very few issues during my 25 years as a member of Marriott's frequent guest programs, which have been combined into Marriott Rewards. When problems have occurred, they have usually been corrected and some kind of compensation has usually been given me for my inconvenience.
I Did have a positive this week. I am staying two nights at the Courtyard in Natick Ma. I booked originally to stay only Tuesday but due to some calls in had Monday it was easier to check in Monday. Well now the rest of the story. My rate for Tuesday was somewhat low but when I went to book for Monday the Tuesday rate when up by $100. So as all good road warriors do I booked two separate stays. I was prepared to just check out and check back in . With the help of the manager they managed to combine the two at an even lower rate. I know I lost the extra 400 points but well worth not having to change rooms.
I have been fortunate in that I have not had any significant service issues during any of my stays in the past couple years. The only issue I seem to have is receiving the correct number of points credited to my MR account. I've experienced a 33% error rate so far in 2016. I have to track my points very carefully after each stay, and then begin the follow up as appropriate. I usually just call the MR service number now to get it resolved. Sending emails after 10 days never seemed to yield meaningful results. The MR service people are very courteous and work hard to get the correct answer. Unlike a few other Insiders, however, I have never been offered points for my inconvenience.
nationwide, I've had a few episodes where the hotel screwed up:
Denver Stapleton Renaissance: I called the front desk to ask for the airport shuttle to pick me up, and I was told that there was no airport shuttle. When I got to the hotel, I found out that there was an airport shuttle and I'd just paid $65 for a cab because I'd been given bad information. The general manager gave me 5000 extra points for the mix up.
Minneapolis Marriott City Center: I complained about a number of mix ups, and the general manager promised me an upgrade next time I checked in. No such upgrade was ever received, and I've been back there at least 4-5 times since the promise was made.
Marriott Lake Mary Florida/Sanford airport: Our room wasn't ready until 6:30pm, and we had to sit in the lobby with our luggage for 3 1/2 hours. The front desk offered my a free drink in the bar but "forgot" to give me a voucher so I got charged for my drink. Nothing was done to remedy this mistake after I mentioned it to the front desk.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas: My room key didn't work at the gym. I called the front desk, and they accused me of not paying the resort fee. I said I'd gladly not pay the resort fee in exchange for no gym access, but then they said there was no way to waive the resort fee and I'd have to pay it. Then I waited 20 min. for someone to let me into the gym. They made me go to the front desk for a new key so I could get into the gym the next day. The new key didn't work either, so they told me to go to the other gym which I did. The other gym had an attendant who wouldn't let me in because she said I didn't pay the resort fee. I did end up getting charged the resort fee. Finally I got into the second gym after insisting that I'd paid the resort fee. For my troubles, the manager gave me a box of Vosges chocolates.
So only once did I get points. And only 2 of the 4 incidents were actually resolved at all.
nationwide, thanks for the question. Like painedplatinum and bejacob, I've been subjected to service faux pas at Marriott hotels only on the rare occasion and never have been offered free points for the trouble. Perhaps that's due to luck. I'm only the leisure traveler and tend to repeat properties. I have to say, I like points too, and would welcome them maybe as a plus even, if the issue was mild. If the issue was greater, ie it really ruined the vibe of a vacation or cost monetary (like clebert's $65 taxi ride) or even business losses, then a few thousand points might be considered a slap in the face.
I don't want to stray off topic, but somewhat related, I think that points compensation might actually be a good idea for when folks have to contact the rewards desk to chase down missing points or stays, and charge the extra compensatory points to the hotel for their mistake, which might then serve to motivate hotels to do a better job with posting points.
Recently, when checking out at the Albuquerque Marriott, my wife reported that our bathroom had not been properly cleaned. The desk clerk apologized and gave us 1000 points, which were promptly credited to my account. Overall, our experience with Marriott service and responsiveness has been very positive.
AZDesertRat, I think that succinctly describes the exact type of scenario that Nationwide is addressing. Funny, if that had happened to my 78 year old Mom, she'd have housekeeping up there pronto to clean the entire bathroom AND hold the hotel to a very solid points compensation. I hate to admit that while this apple hasn't generally fallen far from that tree, that's not my style, though to her credit, she always gets results!
I like others have not added anything to this thread as I have nothing to add. Very very seldom do we have issues with Marriott properties. I want to say the last was probably in 2011 at Grand Cayman and they gave us two free nights after we talked with the GM about the room we had purchased an upgrade to get.
Guess it's like flying with United. We read about all the bad things happening to travelers and seldom have anything other than very good experiences on our flights as we do with stays at Marriott properties.
Sorry I'm not able to offer anything on a negative side, but we could talk about my golf game!!!
nationwide The majority of my stays are problem free, but on occasion I have run into a few service issues. Usually, these are handled well and quickly by hotel staff. I think a lot depends on the property itself and how it is run by the GM. I've had outstanding service at some of the lower brands (FFI in Elmira, NY, comes to mind) and some mediocre service at some the of higher brands.
That being said, in my 15 years of staying at Marriotts, there have been a few bad occasions. The most recent was last summer, at the RI in Newport News, VA, when we checked into our room and discovered a trail of ants marching along the carpet. I notified the front desk clerk who sent a housekeeper to the room. The housekeeper arrived, looked at the ants, and accused us of getting food crumbs on the floor. Ummm, we just checked in? He told us he would spray the room and we'd be fine. Ummm, you're not spraying with us in here! I had to march down to the front desk to ask for another room.
This past May, I had a minor issue at the FFI in Olean, NY. The issue was handled and resolved by the front desk clerk. After check out, I received a survey invitation about my stay. I was honest and clearly pointed out that the issue had been resolved. I was very surprised when I received an e-mail from the hotel's GM, who had read my survey and wanted to give me an extra 2,000 points. Unfortunately, after a month the points never arrived. I asked carat to intervene. The points did arrive, along with another e-mail from the GM apologizing for the points not arriving sooner.
I don't let these problems get to me. My personal outlook is that they are but a smidgen in the big picture. Stuff happens, people are people and I deal with it and move on.
We, too, have experienced far more "exceptional service" than "problems" during our Marriott stays. As Marriott Rewards Members - part of the "Marriott team" - we always report anything out of the ordinary at check-out, including the "outstanding," and refuse extra points when offered for the "simple" - light bulb, outlet replacement, very cold fridge, etc. It has, however, been our experience that clerks become flustered with feedback trying to figure out our real intention. And some have commented that often guests use complaints at check-out to score a rate reduction or point bonus (rather than a remedy to the problem if shared when issue occurs). C
Thank you all for the enlightening responses. It seems like getting a points offer as a service remedy does happen, although for some folks they've been fortunate not to encounter a problem. I will readily admit that I am jealous, and I would count the first 12 of my 14 years in that "no problems" category too. It's important to me for you to know, I have never asked for, or even suggested, that I receive points to fix a problem. This is a relatively new phenomenon to me over the last year or so give or take. Retrospectively, this might have been a question more crisply answered in a poll, but I do appreciate the color that so many of you offered in your responses.
It will be tough picking correct and helpful responses on this post, as there are so many thoughtful replies. Again, thanks to each of you for the perspective.
The related issue here, which pluto77 aptly points out in her post is that these points offers can serve to exacerbate the points-chasing phenomenon that seems to have become so prevalent now. I really like the suggestion that there ought to be a points compensation/penalty (bonus) when points you've earned don't show up. That deserves it's own thread, so I will leave that up to you to get it going pluto77
Thanks again all!
nationwide I want to update my JW Nola experience (where dansplan and I got off on a bit of a tangent ). Marriott Customer Care asked for feed back. I let them know how my stay was. I had some positive things to say also, balance is best. I was then contacted by the Director of Operations at the JW Nola. He didn't throw points at me but apologized and ask for my confirmation number for my up coming stay. I cancelled all but one. He said he wanted to make sure when I stayed this time, that all of my request were taken care of. He asked for another chance and thanked me for my e-mail to Customer Care and how he passed on the positive things I had said as well.
I can't say no to that. I would rather this caring response than points.
I am still going to call to make sure my room is feather free this time no more risking it!
The vast, vast majority of my Marriott stays are trouble free and I'd say my most common problems are excessively noisy aircon (I live in a very quiet village so really notice noise) and smoke-smelling rooms (I'm one of those pompous-arse ex smokers that now can't stick the smell!).
These are I believe both my problems, Marriott was one of the earliest chains to go smoke-free but I'm very sensitive to the stench, and I've already explained my sensitivity to aircon noise. If either of these arise and both do at least once each year I just ring down and ask for a room swap. FD always obliges and its job done. No need for compensation or complaints.
I'm afraid the area where I encounter almost all my complaints are point shorting and missing stays which are now at near epidemic proportions. I'm now routinely asking for and getting 5,000 points per miss, but that doesn't stop the problem getting worse. Last year I received over 50,000 compensatory points for shorting-related failures. Though profitable to me I would much prefer Marriott to sort it out.
Well brightlybob, thanks for the tip! As you know from previous discussions, I am a huge fan of some Marriott Hotels here in the UK. I have no complaints about the service etc; on the contrary, we are always treated extremely well, and the staff always go over and beyond what could be expected of them.
BUT the Rewards Points are frequently wrong or missing, and I have to go through the loop of getting them sorted. So I will also ask for 5,000 points for every error and see if I am successful! However, I would much prefer for the points to be correct in the first place.
Well brightlybob, it never even dawned on me to ask for points every time i have to follow up on missing points in my MR account (5 times so far in 2016). From now on I'll ask and see what happens.
In the interest of thoroughness, and with an assist from carat, I got a call from the Director of Operations at the San Francisco Waterway Airport Marriott. (Example 2 in the original post) He appreciated the learning opportunity for his team, and shared the feedback with them. He also took care of depositing the points as promised.
I appreciate great service, and I get it at Marriott almost all the time. That's precisely how they've earned my loyalty. When I'm disappointed, they almost always work to make it right. That's precisely how they'll "keep" my loyalty.
Making it right is what is expected. What I would like to see is more proactive efforts on when an issue arises so we don't have to to complain...such as when elevators are out and no notice as to how long they will be - while you stand there on the 12th floor waiting for almost 30 minutes because you did not want to lug your 3 suitcases down 12 flights. I could have used the 30' to make two EXHAUSTING trips instead of one dangerous and very angry one.