Have you all been wondering what the value of the room that you book really is? It's not just the cost of that room. but the perceived usefulness of that room in terms of its value.
Consider price versus value: Adam Smith wrote in The Wealth of Nations, the "real price of every thing ... is the toil and trouble of acquiring it" I think that this is true when considering where to stay and why. Cost is always a consideration. But value also weighs in my decision.
Marriott's value for me is dependability and a lack of unwelcome surprises for the most part. Above and beyond that everything is appreciated.
TJ's comment about rental cars reminds me that I need to forget my anchoring bias when I do something: while everybody's situation varies, my experience recently with Hertz was that they were the cheapest of the on airport rentals of all brands. Previously, I like TJ had considered them to be priced out of my league. Full disclosure, I am in the President's Circle with them (Platinum equivalent) and with several other companies as well (National/Alamo among them.)
So, check every time, be aggressive in asking if there are better rates, use every discount you can, and be a good consumer.
Marriott is not always the cheapest but for me it has the most value.
-- Edited by SteppingStones at 03/26/2010 12:17 PM PDT
When traveling for work, I book government rate, which is locale based. So, whether I stay at a Marriott or any member of the family, or a Super 8, the rate's the same. My experience is that it's awfully tough to beat the quality of accomodations and service I get at any Marriott family property. Now, some of those are better than others, but I know I'm rarely not completely satisfied with Marriott.
"I know I'm rarely not completely satisfied with Marriott"
Whenever I travel, budget is always a key consideration. Dollars have to stretch across air, ground transportation, lodging and dining so value per dollar spent has become a key drives in my brand decision. For example, I switched from Hertz to Alamo to Thrifty and save upwards of 45% depending upon the rental location. What I drive and where I choose to rest for the night are two different brand decisions. Would I spend $49 to stay at Super8?
TJC -- I'm not likely to stay at a Super 8 either, especially since the gov't rate is the same at Marriott. Although I doubt you spend much time in the small towns of the midwest, I do, and sometimes a Super 8 is all some of these towns have. But, as I said, I'm rarely not completely satisfied with Marriott. Said another way, I'm very often completely satisfied with Marriott, therefore I have no interest in staying anywhere else. There are times, however, choice is limited in these "second-tier cities" as described by a previous poster to this board.