Marriott is the main chain....IHG is my back up. Hilton gets one or two stays per year. This is typically because my client may have a local arrangement or they are the only game in town. I did the status match last year and was handed the Diamond card. I had one stay due to a flight foul up and now I'm in a Hilton in Arlington, TX. That's two stays as a Diamond.
I'm ready to declare that they have done a much better job of going all out than my favorite chain. I'm two for two on extra towels, extra pillows. I'm two for two for smiling happy "thanks for being a Diamond". I'm two for two on very nice upgrades without asking.
Over the years, I've noticed that Marriott properties have higher standards, and keep these standards, for cleanliness, general upkeep, and overall well trained staff....The competition, both IHG and Hilton have a better record at meeting the Elite Member's pre check-in requests. In fact, it is unusual for a Marriott property to actually have extra pillows or towels in my room at check-in or slightly after without me calling the front desk.
So, I ask myself. Do the GMs or their representative read the profile preferences in Marriotts? What have you seen out there? Is it just me that sees this difference?
Thanks for sharing what's out there on the other side of the fence.
Speaking for myself, I believe the 'preference' profile may have gone the way of the Welcome Amenity, The Bogo, The Early Check In, and the Virtual Concierge. I had over 25 stays last year and only twice did my preference of extra pillows (one lil' pillow would be fine by me) get implemented.
Here's the takeaway; I'm thrilled at the times when I have an extra pillow (Residence Inns don't count, because I can always often rely on the pullout sofa's pillow) once again highlighting the marketing brilliance of Marriott's 'enhancement' strategies. Hello, my name is erc, and I'm a Marriott lifer (run millennials, run).
ps- imagine my joy when a newspaper is delivered
painedplatinum, good question. In my experience, no it certainly isn't just you. I checked into Atlanta Marriott Northwest early yesterday, and while the effort to get me into a concierge floor room was appreciated, it took 90 minutes longer than the requested "on time" arrival. They were kind enough to give me a CL key while I waited, and held my luggage. They brought my bag up to me with my keys - those were nice touches to be sure. Once in the room, no extra feather pillows though as requested. I don't think preferences, or special requests via the app when checking in online, are routinely referenced. Of course, I guess we should give partial credit for bed size, right? Isn't that part "guaranteed?"
Does Starwood do this better erc? Of 40+ stays last year, I know my number had to be in the single digits for obliged profile/checkin requests. Still love my Marriott, but when I answer questions like this, I scratch my head...why?
My first Starwood stay begins in Feb. in Chicago (W), then followed by a DC stay (Meridien). I deliberately chose markets I knew well for a good comparison basis. I have been unable to find any competitive price for Starwood vs. my Marriott Eastside or Lexington in NY, so I'll have to go with the two for now. I wasn't interested in being a rookie at an aspiration stay (I'll go to a Ritz or Edition if I want that experience ).
In setting up my Starwood profile, I didn't notice any of the Marriott options - rather, they asked about upgrade preferences, room preferences (not much in options - unless someone was allergic to feathers), and 'lifestyle' preferences, space, running, working out (???) - I would imagine if you wanted either of the last two you would need space, but what do I know - I'll just wait and see.
My rub with Marriott, as often is the case; if you offer something, then provide it (and certainly stop hyping it, if you don't).
My experience with Starwood has shown me how I hate learning curves, so I'm definitely not interested in starting with other chains. Switching chains is a game for youngbloods like yourself and the OP*** (who's been pained for over a decade, I think it comes from eating too many cheesesteaks).
Taxes, medicare (oh yeah baby, coming soon for yours truly), 401ks, apps, and keyless rental cars are enough pita's for me, so I'll stick with Arne, Big Thom, and the gang for now and just whine and moan - ha, it's a gas!
*** that gray hair remark didn't go unnoticed - that's on your permanent record; you're one step away from being on double secret probation
erc please give us a report on the "W" in Chi-Town as we will be headed north later in the year as my old blood is too thin to enjoy the city in February!
And thanks for the reminder to set up my SPG account profile.
We've begun asking at every check-in if there might possibly be an upgrade for us - even when our reservation has already been upgraded. We've found asking (nicely, politely, of course) works about 90% of the time! However, as these decisions are usually made on the fly, we've given up expecting our recorded preferences will be met. And, like pluto77, we're finding extra pillows and towels to be standard in most rooms. C
Like you painedplatinum Marriott is the main chain with Hilton next, not ventured out to the Stars yet.
I find Hilton does a better job of meeting pre-arrival requests as well as each stay the room I've selected when checking in 24 hours ahead has been met. The Executive Lounges I've noticed seem to have equal breakfasts and evening selections vary as we know Marriott's vary from place to place as well. Over all I'd give Hilton about 1/2 a star rating higher for the lounge.
Having the extra towels that we request at Marriott is nothing more than a cr*p shoot, Hilton probably 3 out of 4 has them in the room when we arrive.
In my travels it has been a real 'hit or miss' in terms of Marriott properties recognizing my profile and/or status. It's easy to know if a property is paying attention when they hand me a key for a first floor room when my profile calls for a high floor. To me, that gets me paying strict attention to the details of MY asking them if they are giving me the points gift, pillows or any other request I might have made. I really don't ask for much, but when I do, I want to know why I didn't get it. Some of the better properties (the JW in Indianapolis comes to mind) always treat me consistently well and take great care of me without my even asking.
I had diamond status with Hilton all last year (status match), yet did not make one stay with them. For Marriott, I almost always get high floors, as indicated in my preference profile. There seems to always be 2 pillows/person (is this normal, or did they accommodate my preference, I really don't know), sometimes more and the extra towels are mostly provided in F/S properties, though not so much at select service joints. Lately, we've been given the farthest room from the elevator. A drag ('scuze the pun) with luggage, but being next to a busy elevator might be worse. I have to ask for an extra regular in-room coffee packet anyways, so if we don't get enough towels or pillows, it's just one more thing to add to the ask.
I like your play on the branding (HH) in your title. Very witty.
Between Jan 2, 2015 and Aug 15, 2016, I had approximately 260 nights at a full service Hilton. A colleague of mine had roughly half the number of nights (he was able to work remotely every-other week). My main request with the front desk staff was to be on the concierge floor and secondly, to have the same room every week. (My Hilton preferences are: 1) king bed, 2) high floor, the former as "most important".)
The concierge lounge was on the top floor, yet despite Diamond status, less than 10% of the time did I get the top floor, yet my colleague had the top floor/concierge access more than 50% of the time. Roughly 60% of the time, I had the same room but on a lower floor, necessitating an elevator trip to get to the lounge. Perhaps 90% of the time, I had a king bed.
I'm not sure what this means, but I can say that all of the front staff (and the managers) knew my first/last name, yet my major request to be on the concierge floor was sub-par to my expectations. Why my colleague was more successful than I can only be explained by "he's better looking than me."
I don't ask for extra pillows (I usually have too many) and I don't have any allergies to feathers. My only request is extra towels, for when my gf comes a long and we want more than one shower per 24h. More often than not, the room doesn't have additional towels, but it's often because they want to give me a choice of room.
I don't make a fuss about it; we usually don't really need it the first night. After that, we leave a little written note and a 5$ bill for housekeeping and our bathroom is stocked for an entire army battalion.
My high floor preference is always honoured though.
Congratulations on your welcome cookie and great service. This is what hospitality is all about, being treated well and made to feel truly welcome.
It has often been discussed as to whether or not folks are recognized (and treated accordingly) by their specific platinum level (plat, lifetime plat or premier plat) and further, whether or not front desk folks even have a way of knowing. We have read testimony on this site by elite members that the only status reference (with regards to platinum) that front desk people see on the display monitor is simply, platinum. It appears at this property that they definitely have a way to know your specific level of platinum status (and hats off that they have made the effort to act on it). This reminds me of something that Thom Kozik mentioned to us in Houston, that there are many different hotel management computer applications that are employed by many different hotel groups (just as there are many room key/access systems) within the Marriott universe, as it isn't cost effective to require hotel groups, upon acquisition by Marriott International, to have them convert to one universal system for all. This would explain then, why some properties have the ability to know certain things about their clientele, and other properties do not.
It's funny how all these different systems can seem to figure out how to charge you the correct amount of money during your stay, which is a miracle given all the differing room types and rate structures. However, they can't be programmed to tell the front desk clerk who is checking in with regard to their Marriott elite status. The hotels clearly have that information since they need to know whether you get a platinum arrival gift, bonus points, etc. I think most of the problem is with lack of training or inability to read a computer screen.
I maintain my belief in the likelihood that not all hotel systems have the ability to distinguish between the different levels of platinum (what I was specifically addressing). As to why this is, I think the answer is likely varied, i.e. not properly configured, not properly integrated, incompatibility due to many things, including design, etc., which can often be cost unwise to rectify (how important is it determined to be by local hotel group exec mgmt to differentiate between the different levels of platinum vs. cost to program that into a legacy hotel system?) It could be due to any number of culprits, and yes even including poor training, but I am unwilling to make any blanket characterizations.
They are smaller, for sure. I have no idea how their portfolio was built/developed prior to the Marriott merge. An article recently referenced on Insiders suggests that SPG's IT department has really got it going on and is far superior to Marriott's (darn, I wish I could find the link to that most interesting article!)
Yikes pluto77. Just read the article...This doesn't bode well for getting much enhanced along the way.
Very rarely does a Marriott property actually comply with my requests. I have a standard request of extra pillows and extra towels, and the only property that has ever actually had those items waiting in my room is the Hotel Minneapolis, Autograph Collection.
HHonors has been exceptionally good to me during the time I've been diamond, but to be 100% truthful, the only properties I've stayed at since becoming diamond have been Waldorf-Astorias, and you'd expect a very high level of service at those
Despite including Hilton (and SPG) in all my searches (thanks to comp diamond to March 2018) over the last 6 months, of my 40 paid nights, Marriott took 30, IHG got 6 and an independent took 4. This year my 4 stays in January are all IHG. SPG has failed to make the cut due to its London-centric offering meaning most of my stays there's no SPG nearby and Hilton because the rates are uncompetitive, the locations inconvenient, or the hotels shoddy (back in the 20th century Hilton franchised its name out to anyone, those remaining hotels are decidedly dodgy, as I remember from my pre-Marriott days). As a result I'm still looking to sample Hilton and SPG but am determined to put something both their ways this year, one way or another...
Excellent post, painedplatinum! You really got me thinking there... And really, outside of carefully orchestrated special occasion stays like my honeymoon trip, Marriott has never really provided my requested items, or even room preferences either. Upgrades made proactively by the property are also not that common. But it would be hard for me to compare, since I've only stayed with Hilton once. I status matched to Diamond and during that one stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village (1 night), they upgraded me proactively from a standard room to an Ocean Front room in the Rainbow Tower. Likewise, my two stays with Hyatt saw me proactively upgraded to a larger, high-floor room at the Hyatt Place Waikiki, and to a suite at the Andaz Maui.
My last stay at the CY Waikiki? No upgrade. My stay at the Ren. NY Midtown, I had to pay to upgrade (to a higher floor with nicer view) and was not offered anything further. But I did receive a nice view upgrade at the Portland Marriott City Center, and often get the top floor at the CY Kahului. The Waikiki Beach Marriott is usually good about upgrading, but I haven't been there in years.