This short article published in a hotelier's journal states in part:
"While the programs do get heads in beds, the programs do not come without their costs.
“It’s very expensive,” (one lodging executive said) said. “We pay extra fees on that revenue.”
There are costs associated with the loyalty programs but it seems that no one (except perhaps Hilton) wants to reduce benefits with no good explanation.
"On an average night, the percentage of rooms filled by loyalty program members can range anywhere from 40 percent to 60 percent, franchise operators said. And these particular customers tend to spend a little more on the hotels at which they stay.They become very valuable guests to you and you treat them as well as you can,” Artusio said."
This particular observation flys in the face of franchisees who treat Marriott Rewards Elite guests redeeming points as second class. I may be the exception, but my spend grows in proportion to positive treatment - especially when redeeming points. Often it starts at the front desk with a pleasant complimentary upgrade experience. If the front desk fails to deliver at check-in, it sets the tone that can make or break a stay.
IMHO, this is why attentive training combined with proactive management oversight can be so critical to a hotel's bottom line. Considering that mishandled requests can result in a request for refund or added compensation, one poorly trained associate can make a huge difference in achieving or missing revenue goals. So too with franchisees that attempt to evade corporate policy such as No Blackout Dates or fail to observe Marriott Elite status benefits for upgrading. Repeated guest complaints eventually catch up.
"I may be the exception, but my spend grows in proportion to positive treatment - especially when redeeming points. Often it starts at the front desk with a pleasant complimentary upgrade experience. If the front desk fails to deliver at check-in, it sets the tone that can make or break a stay."
TJC -- I like the way you think, but I'm taking this to the next level. Henceforth, I intend to walk if my expectations aren't met starting with the front desk arrival experience. Committment and loyalty is a two-way street. I've always said that I don't ask for, nor expect, anything extra -- just what Marriott has promised in the T&C. Short of that, I'll find someplace that stands by their word.
"I intend to walk if my expectations aren't met starting with the front desk arrival experience"
Life is too short, so we do what we need to do. Many destinations are saturated with hotel brands. In the northeast, it's oversaturation. That's provided ample opportunity to observe how big a difference brand reputation and training makes. If the FD fails to deliver, it's important to communicate it. Smart management receives it as a call to action.
Clearly, there are exceptions. Many franchisees operate multiple brands. It is not unusual for a franchise to have Marriott, Hilton and Sheraton properties in the same market. Due to turnover and other factors, these franchisees may or may not have dedicated people. Although it may be counter to Marriott guidelines, what stops them from sharing resources across brands?
To illustrate, here are 5 top-ranked* management companies that own and operate hotels promoted under Marriott, Hilton, IHG and Sheraton brands:
With upwards of 40 properties and a combined total number of rooms exceeding 11,000 (per company) job-sharing and resources crossing-over brands is probably more common than we think. It's not surprising that the distinguishing Marriott Elite from other elite gets very blurry. That said, if service isn't up to expectations, the best solution may just be to vote with your feet.