This content may no longer be relevant and is available for reference only. Visit Archive FAQs for more details.
Have any of you noticed, as I have, that at least two of the four forums seem to be dead in terms of daily exchanges? When posts are more than 4 days to a week ago, unless they are of immediate interest to a particular member, they are useless.
I would suggest restructuring the categories (especially if we are left with only four unlike the many a year ago). Local seems to comprise everything that doesn't fit into another category; Business seems to get almost no hits. Marriott Rewards and Hotels are consistently checked.
Could I suggest the following 6 categories? And I would add in advance that in view of recent discussion it might be useful to add an Amenities section (I would rather not have my towels changed, so I follow the guidelines, but I'm a single traveler; I need hair conditioner but have learned in most cases to bring it with me). Anyway here goes:
Local (Meaning really local)
For many of us either family or business are either unanswerable or different depending on who we are. Yet families is a category many people write about in rewards, hotels, local and international. Yet it would create a specific forum for those who need large rooms, extra beds, etc.
Likewise, to the degree I speak for those of us who travel most of all internationally, I only rarely get to see anything useful to me. If there is a dedicated category (as it sort of used to be, but better then), those of us who travel outside the US could target that forum.
I rarely ever see anything about Paris, Rome, London, Belgium or any other international sites unless I go to Marriott Rewards Home and that is not especially useful -- it's easier to do an advanced search.
We need to think about how Rewards Insiders can be most useful to those searching for ideas and answers. I answer a lot of questions in the Ask & Answer section but most of them would have been taken care of previously in the multiple site section.
Professor, I too have noticed the stagnation factor in the posts (as they currently stand) and agree that the four categories, while applicable to many are not applicable to all Insider's needs or wants.
Recall that in the former scheme one of the categories was "golf" a category that certainly has an appeal, but in the words of Mark Twain, is merely " a good walk, spoiled" for a lot of us.
Perhaps we can convince Marriott to do a little (or a lot) of survey research to determine which categories (among those here now and in the past as well as new ones as you've suggested) hold the most promise for getting a quick churning of posts.
Thanks for pointing this out. It needed to be said for sure.
Thanks so much for your comments. After several recent trips to Europe (one of which was in Avignon, where i had no Marriott access), I thought about this a lot.
We need to make the sites people want relevant to them. So while I suggested a few, I would ask all Insiders what do they see as CATEGORIES? There needs to be a distinction between basic comments and categories, but I think certain subjects could be better addressed than they currently are in the four basic ones.
So what do the rest of you think? What 6 categories (assuming, unfortunately the last three posts being the usual) would you prefer?
Many of us have previously suggested adding a MVC timeshare forum section. However, due to the contraversial reactions to the new Destination Points system, I doubt that Marriott would provide this forum. After all, there was never a response to the hundreds of complaints in the Insiders Lobby.
IMO, this forum has never recovered from the relaunch.
And, if Marriott sees fit to redo portions, or all of it, I think it would be helpful to make it as simple as possible and assume that (speaking for myself only) I am not tech savy. Please don't make me work so hard to simply use your system....Bill
p.s. I think Marroitt's problem is they hire experts to redo their program and they have the experts but just fail to ask us.
"I rarely ever see anything about Paris, Rome, London, Belgium or any other international sites unless I go to Marriott Rewards Home and that is not especially useful -- it's easier to do an advanced search."
Excellent topic, Professor!
I share your angst and think that your point is related to critical mass (or the lack thereof?) For the most part, the expansion of Marriott's brands in the US demonstrates how well the organization understands the needs and expectations of business and leisure travelers. As Marriott's new leadership restructures the company and the markets for overseas destination travel expands, social media travel channels will respond. TripAdvisor, Facebook and Twitter are largely a US market phenomenon.
To Marriott's credit, Marriott.com already has cloned 10 International Sites, but Marriott Rewards Insiders is US-centric because (I presume) that is where the critical mass is. The wisdom of 4 categories probably lies in the ability to roll-out a simple organization when critical mass grows let's say in France, Germany or the UK & Ireland.
Besides critical mass, another challenge is the naming convention. In French, is it Marriott Rewards Initié? Try Italian - the EUDictionary has no translation! Aside from language, there are so many cultural nuances to factor in to avoid a blunder.
Using the locations you mention, let's zoom in on another challenge, In the London market, Marriott's two dozen or so hotels are spread among Category 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. Similarly, the dozen locations in Paris share the same spread of Hotel Categories. Rome has only 4 hotels limited to Category 5, 6 and 8. And, Belgium has 4 hotels in Category 2, 5 and 6. From a "Marriott Rewards" perspective (with minor exception) there is a concentration of brands at the high end. This should be a plus considering that Insiders targets Gold and Platinum Elite. With Free Internet extended globally, the $$ barriers to online participation while on the road decrease.
As others have mentioned, there are many advocates that are pro re-thinking Forum categories. My hunch is that Insiders fits into a much larger global scheme that needs to be kept simple. However, w/o a user-friendly Browse by Destination - Domestic or International - re-categorization may be futile. Being able to browse in a user-friendly way, like one turns the pages of a newspaper for a headline is the capability that a destination-oriented community needs most. Do travelers think first about Hotels, Marriott Rewards, Local and Business? Maybe. As your post brilliantly illustrates, experienced travelers think ~first and foremost~ about destinations like Paris, Rome and London.
Wouldn't it be clever for Insiders to respond to that?
Some extremely good points, as usual.
It has been difficult for me, as a newcomer to this site, to find the areas that I am interested in or on which I could comment given the paucity of categories. In addition the few times I have made some responses in regards to a question I am not sure that they have even been read by the original poster. I like your presentation of categories and would consider even more as possible sub headings with those categories particularily in terms of the International Travel basket. It is a big world out there when you are traveling.
Thanks to all of you for your responses -- I think we remain frustrated at the new format, though what Andrew recently wrote suggests that improvements are really (I hope) on the way. Still, business as a category seems to garner very few posts; local, as I said, seems a grab bag. In both categories those two could probably fit into either hotels or Marriott Rewards while allowing the creation of maybe two or more different new categories.
I think another frustration many of us feel is the inability to follow threads unless subscribing (which often means getting our inboxes filled). The three most recent responses are not enough, except in cases like business where the third reply still posted is from August 30th.
To me, except for hotels and MR, the other categories need to be reconsidered, and more recent posts should appear.