Be sure to check out What's New in the Insiders' Lobby. Marriott Insiders online community manager, Andrew has a heads-up on 2010 Hotel Category Changes.
What does it all mean? Well, some hotels are bumped up and others bumped down so they will cost 5,000 Marriott Rewards points less. Click here to get the Insiders scoop.
Very interesting. Thanks for pointing this out to us, TJC. Your post has got me thinking about these Categories: I have stayed at several of those on the list, and I'm thinking of three on the "being bumped down one Category list," and these three are among my favorite Marriott resorts/city hotels in the world. I just stayed at one of the three earlier this month, and it was super. So my thinking centers on an hypothesis about how these categories are determined. My hypothesis is that there is a big "popularity" factor in the mix of Category determining, or more accurately, a "projected" popularity factor (i.e., the higher the "projected popularity factor," the higher the Category). Then the hotel is moved up or down, depending upon whether that factor proves reliable. This is all conjecture, but it's interesting.
"My hypothesis is that there is a big "popularity" factor in the mix of Category"
One significant contributing factor to 'popularity' is location/destination. They go hand-in-hand, so I agree with that aspect of the hypothesis. An article posted by Stepping Stones in Over the Top points to a dire situation. The grand dame of hotels in the US national capital, the Mayflower Renaissance is unable to meet debt service. I'm certain this is not isolated, with occupancy at record lows in popular destinations and not-so-popular places, hotels are struggling.
As a management company, it is imperative that Marriott be proactive in providing solutions. Adjusting the mix of popular hotels in categories that require less points is very proactive because it responds to guest expectations for affordability and higher value. A Category 6 resort sliding into a Category 5 can have a huge impact on boosting occupancy.
For example, 120,000 points secures 4 free nights at Marriott's Orlando World Center. With 2000 rooms and occupancy hovering around 35%, the OWC is struggling at best. How can this be? The OWC is a quarter mile from the thriving and ever popular Downtown Disney. And, the timeshare resorts on property are hovering at better than 85% occupancy. Sliding the OWC into Category 5 makes 'free' even more affordable at 100,000 points. With Redeem 4 Get the 5th Night Free, the family on vacation gets added value. With Instant Redemption, the 20,000 points can be used like extra cash.
When the 2009 changes were announced in October of 2008, the outcry over the 'sticker shock' was unforgiving and unrelenting. Perhaps low occupancy is a symptomatic residual of the 'sticker shock'? Anyway, the 2010 Hotel Category Changes is a reversal of sorts. It's as close to a 'grandfathering' solution that loyal Elite were crying out for. At least that's my hypothesis.