As a marketing research professional, I had always appreciated Marriott's leadership in utinlizing effective marketing research for the development of their portfolio. I was impressed with a presentation at an AMA MR conference regarding how the Courtyard brand was originally developed and optimized, and was an early purchaser in their well positioned timeshare product.
Recent 'disasters' (Courtyard bistros, new insiders forum, new MVC program) indicate to me that either they are doing the wrong research, hiring outside consultants who know little about the business, or management is ignoring the findings. They are either asking the wrong questions, using inappropriate methodology for the issue, or surveying the wrong people. I never received any survey for MVC changes even though I own five weeks and am MR lifetime platinum. Several others have mentioned that they have received several surveys for the same topic. Something is amiss in their sampling. Questions in the surveys seemed to focus on short term usage options and flexibility, rather than determining key elements of the program to preserve.
As a long-term loyal MR customer, I hope management recognizes these problems and makes changes before additional customers are alienated.
Excellent post Superchief, and I agree.
Sometimes the inside the tent filter creeps in to decision-making and the resulting outcomes are less than desirable.
I have long been an advocate for a group of all types of Marriott Rewards members, from casual stayers to Lifers, who would beta test any new ideas and then pass a consensus to the folks at Marriott Rewards. While we're far from being employees or consultants, the information gleaned from users is always valuable in any plan. Let's hope that your message is read and that serious consideration is given to your suggestions.
I am sure that ideas percolate down from the top but it would be nice to see some come from us (not at the top) before taking a new and potentially unwelcome direction.
We all win when there is free interchange of ideas.
I also find myself agreeing with your premise, SuperChief, when it relates to CY Bistros and MVC changes. I too am a Lifetime Platinum, currently Premier Platinum (for which I am very appreciative), and own five weeks in MVC.
As I mentioned in another thread, I did have a chance encounter with Brian King - the national CY Brand Manager - about 5 months ago at the opening of the new CY in San Diego's Mission Valley. It was in the AM and I asked him how the seed for the Bistro format germinated.
Brian said Bistro was his response to guest surveys. To which I responded that nobody ever surveyed me and I would have indicated a strong preference for a buffet, at least for breakfast. I did tell him I certainly have no problem with the Bistro for lunch and dinner (with its actually tasty but limited lunch/dinner selections).
I have since been told by others that Bistro was largely Brian's concept, so I'm sure there is strong ownership here. And, I realize that with the buffet format there likely was some wasted food - prepared for customers that never showed up - and higher labor costs with servers and a cook.
My recommendation: How about tweaking the Bistro breakfast menu to provide an option of either a la carte OR buffet-like package pricing (to include - for example - a choice of four or five items for one price)? For example: Orange juice, coffee, oatmeal and fruit --- all for one price. Like having the option of limited buffet-like package pricing within the Bistro.
If I had been surveyed, that would have been my compromise suggestion. But, nobody asked me.
I just wanted to say that I agree that Marriott is missing the mark, especially with the Bistro. It seems the Courtyard took a direction to make the guest feel less and less important(by looking only at food and labor cost, could be taking marketing suggestions from the accounting department) where the Hilton Garden Inns went where I thought the Courtyard should be heading. They took it a step farther with an omelet station and free breakfast for the diamond level. Very nice. They may loose on some food and labor cost, but just might make up for it with increase business. Just my two cents.