The interesting post Brand Scorecard: Is Hilton Overtaking Marriott? by TJC got me thinking from another perspective. What does the "average" traveler perceive among the different hotel brands? For assumptions' sake, my definition of "average" traveler is anyone who is not a seasoned road warrior or one who is not extremely loyal to a particular hotel brand. So I tried a little test - - - -
Say an average traveler wants a weekend in Chicago (07/23-07/25) alone the Magnificent Mile, or roughly 700 N. Michigan Avenue (per kayak, there are 50 hotels and 8 Marriott-branded hotels within 1/2 mile). They will likely search one of the major travel sites. In what "light" do these sites present Marriott among the different recommendations or suggestions?
I did my research using www.kayak.com and tried their different sortings on results looking for the first in list of a Marriott brand.
Sorted by "Featured": Marriott first showed up at 9th
Sorted by "Popularity": 16th.
"Price-low to high": 4th.
"Price-high to low": 6th.
"Stars-low to high": 8th.
"Stars-high to low": 28th.
I also tried www.tripadvisor.com, a site commonly refered within this forum to see how their ratings are viewed. I selected the four with the most hotels listed for the MagMile (total hotels 66 near MagMile): (# of hotels) and rankings (for all Chicago hotels):
Hilton (9): 1, 21, 27, 43, 46, 53, 60, 68, 75
Marriott (6): 19, 31, 33, 39, 72, 82
Starwood (5): 11, 29, 70, 85, 89
Intercontinental (5): 41, 42, 50, 67, 79
"In what "light" do these sites present Marriott among the different recommendations or suggestions?"
Great stuff, but my results for "Magnificent Mile" at TripAdvisor were very different. What search terms did you use? Did you choose specific dates to factor in availability?
"At tripadvisor I used July 23-July 25 as dates entering in Chicago. Directly beneath "Recommended by Travelers" I selected the "Not Confirmed"; then on the left margin, I chose "Magnificent Mile/River North" which yielded 66 hotels."
Thanks Pingreeman, That description enabled me to duplicate the results. I've been to Chicago many times on business, pleasure and to visit with family nearby. I agree with your assumptions that TripAdvisor is a tool for the "average" traveler.
Btw, along Chicago's Magnificent Mile, the Springhill Suites came up as 14 ahead of the Residence Inn River North @ 19, Courtyard @ 31, Residence Inn Downtown @ 33 and Fairfield Inn & Suites Downtown @ 39. The full service Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile shows up at #82. That's dismal and speaks volumes.
On the positive side, Marriott has done a great job in positioning various brands in major markets and thereby expanding their reach. Also, Marriott has done a superlative job of responding to market shifts away from full-service brands.
Interestingly, looking at all 165 hotels in Chicago, the Renaissance shows up at 28 but the JW Marriott doesn't seem to show up at all! What's up with that?