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I'm a newcomer to this forum. I had stumbled on it a while ago, and then forgot it existed. When I wanted to find it again, it was difficult to find the link on the Marriott website. I finally had to look at the site map and even then it wasn't obvious. If the way to make the forum more lively is to have more participants, then the forum could be better advertised and easier to find
Just my $0.02.
I've asked this before... why do all the questions in the Unanswered Questions tab of the Ask & Answer section all have answers???
I posted a response to a previous topic yesterday... it didn't come to the top, it's buried somewhere and will never be seen by anyone!
And, who did win that summer story contest? I haven't seen any results.
"Many of the postings are very "narrow" - for example, a specific hotel or location or comments on the MVC; if I haven't been there or I don't own a timeshare, then I can't comment intelligently, so it's of no interest to me."
Along those lines, prior to April 1st, regulars and newbies enjoyed 10 diverse forums along with two dozen plus destinations to browse through. There were that many more opportunities to click and browse. Post April 1 all that richness was funneled into 4 forums. Regrettably, all the content largely became hidden and inaccessible - even to the authors who posted. Short of a roll-back, the enhancements in-the-pipeline may provide remedy.
While it is understandable that a non-owner may be reluctant to participate in a discussion about timeshare, the new Marriott Destination Club and Vacation Points program establishes a new business model and points-based system that heralds a significant impact on hotels* and benefits that Elite enjoy with Marriott Rewards.
Entering mature cosmopolitan markets like New York, Paris, Rome and London among many others with new construction is extremely high and probably cost-prohibitive. It may be more cost-effective to convert some existing hotel inventory to timeshares and operate hybrid businesses. Marriott International and Marriott Vacation Club has already done this successfully in Hawaii at the Maui Ocean Club and Kauai Beach Club.
With the potential for Concierge-designated floors converted to timeshare it is very conceivable that benefits once enjoyed by Elite may be curtailed and/or eliminated. Regards scope, I think the topic is not only expansive, but essential to the Marriott Rewards Elite community. Considering the brands that Marriott Vacation Club is promoting as part of the Marriott Collection, the potential impact is far from 'narrow.'
To illustrate, the top floor of the year-old, Category 6, Courtyard Ocean City Oceanfront in Maryland feature seven fully-furnished independently owned Condos. The 'villas' are available for rent from $300 - $600 per night. In this new business model, the condo owners do not participate in Marriott Rewards.
Encouraging discussion rather than dismissing it is about the only way Elite non-owners and Elite owners can share expectations about how Marriott Rewards responds to our loyalty.
Well done, Jerry. Count me in on the 'stimulus' plan.
I thought it was just me!
When I hear others feel the same way, there must be a way to improve.
Many of us are Marriott lovers, and we wish that the site would reflect the opportunity this site really is. A great way for all of us to learn and share more with others. What a way to learn, appreciate, and save time and money.
There must be a way to communicate the MR message with others!
Please allow my rant.....
I used to check in daily, now it's weekly (maybe). I cannot find posts I want to find, still have to scroll forever to get the newest posts on a suject, and am tired of seeing the same old questions asked over and over. I appreciate tjc and steppingstones making "ambassador" efforts, but I find them mostly boring (no offense) and lame efforts in getting people involved. Plus, take not of the minimal "threads" on any given subject. the life of a thread is now no more than a day or 2. For me, the site has been changed forever, and not at all for the good.
If it were not for the wondewrful prof chiara travel posts, I wouldn't even visit the site anymore. what a shame.
I also wonder if ANYONE was awarded the best of summer promo. I never saw anything. did anyone? why have another if that one never produced a winner????
I do like the idea of weekly polls. something of interest to bring me back.
I think its a number of things really.
1) visibility and community awareness. As mentioned this isnt' the easiest place to find from the main Marriott site and while honestly I do not look at a lot of the printed stuff I get in the mail, I do not see the insiders visible at the hotels. Perhaps Marriott needs to start targeting the members its looking for back here? Post up something in the new fancy Courtyard lobby screens? Better yet, put something on the internet sign up sheets thats in every single hotel? Encourage users to connect and find answers.
2) as also mentioned, lots of repeats in the forums and A&A section. Perhaps a main FAQ page would be better, then let folks dive into these other sections? On this same topic, perhaps there's a way to rate answers for correctness by Marriott? I find that I read some answers and question if they are right. I stop from answering questions that I'm not 100% sure of the answer unless someone is looking for opinions.
3) contests are only as good as their rewards. Others mentioned it, but who's winning what? Points are great but maybe something different would encourage folks just as much?
4) Diverse membership and participation. We probably have a few lurkers that are registered but alas it seems only the same 20 or so of us regularly participate. Also seems that its platinums and premiers more than other members that are back here chatting. Not sure how we fix this, just an observation.
5) More often and more visible communication with Marriott team members, not just Andrew. It seems they have this room for us but they dont hang out here much. In other forums you see the forum owners/staff/moderators/etc posting all over the place. They are the best source of information and honestly I've yet to see one of them answer one of the A&A questions
6) Make the site usable again... horse dead stop beating but really over 6months and they havent even come close to what it was pre April.
7) Don't have this be the only social media presence for Marriott. There's literally 100s of social media outlets out there, why doesnt Marriott have an official Facebook presence? I see lots of individual hotels but nothing official. Facebook, while a pain in the butt, will certainly drive membersihp here. Other sites are equally fun to work with but there are also software packages to help MR manage these contact points (I do this for a living).
8) Improve the site features if you cant fix #6 Perhaps when commenting on a property, have the ability to link the hotel's official MR site and show similarly as you can see it via the reservation page (pix, info, etc visible).
Thats all I can think of, perhaps we can get something from Marriott on their thoughts on this thread?
Overall, your suggestions are excellent. Thanks for taking the time to post. Here are some of my reactions:
"I do not see the insiders visible at the hotels. Perhaps Marriott needs to start targeting the members its looking for back here? Post up something in the new fancy Courtyard lobby screens? Better yet, put something on the internet sign up sheets thats in every single hotel? Encourage users to connect and find answers."
Ditto! With over 3,000 properties and still expanding, the 'Hotels' Forum needs kicking up a few notches. Travelers think first about where they're going and will explore the Marriott brands available for affordability, amenity and convenience.
Do some travelers think about the hotel first? Absolutely. I heard someone say, 'I'm going on vacation at Marriott's Frenchman's Reef in St. Thomas and will spend the entire time at the resort. More often, we hear questions about dining, sightseeing and entertainment options.
"Perhaps a main FAQ page would be better, then let folks dive into these other sections? On this same topic, perhaps there's a way to rate answers"
What about grouping and ranking the questions asked and then developing an FAQ landing page? FAQ's should also have links to Marriott.com. For example, Earning Points, Customer.Care or Missing Stays or T&C for upgrades or PointSavers or Hotel Categories.
"contests are only as good as their rewards. maybe something different would encourage folks just as much?"
Along these lines, hooking up with the brands to sponsor brand-oriented contests merits a try. "Dinner for two @ JW Marriott" for the best business travel related story. Or, "Family Buffet Breakfast @ Courtyard" for the best weekend getaway story. From a brand-agnostic perspective, what about a Fantasy-Marriott contest - where you invent your own brand experience?
"Diverse membership and participation."
Marriott.com has 10 international landing pages, but Insiders only appears on the US site. Encouraging participation by MR members in the worldwide English-speaking community has potential.
"More often and more visible communication with Marriott team members. In other forums you see the forum owners/staff/moderators/etc posting all over the place."
Besides resource constraints, there may by corporate and/or legal aspects unique to the Marriott organization that we're not aware of.
"Make the site usable again... horse dead stop beating but really over 6months and they havent even come close to what it was pre April."
Specific examples can be very effective. It's no secret that the Insiders search engine makes finding content a very challenging process. Millions of people hit TripAdvisor because they're looking for CONTENT about a destination, hotel or restaurant. If I don't find what I'm looking for there, I leave. It has to be instant gratification at TripAdvisor or Insiders.
"Don't have this be the only social media presence for Marriott. There's literally 100s of social media outlets out there, why doesnt Marriott have an official Facebook presence? I see lots of individual hotels but nothing official. Facebook, while a pain in the butt, will certainly drive membersihp here."
W/o the right resources, coordinated planning and performance measurement, such a presence could actually do irreversible harm to any organization, IMO.
Along these lines, Facebook, Twitter and yes, TripAdvisor are accessible from a mobile device / Smartphone. Marriott's app for the Blackberry is free and impressive. I spend more time than I'd like to admit comparing rates for a given destination and brand on the Blackberry. Ok, I might be a tad ahead of the curve, but it's really frustrating not being able to read and/or post to Insiders in the same way. It's no secret that the SpringHill Suites is targeting and marketing to a very specific demographic. Concurrent with the other ideas, why not align Insiders brand-by-brand and use the channels that the target demographic uses?
You did a lot of nice work here and you are "Right On"!
Let's get some real life into the site and seek the interest of as many as possible.
I really find it odd that so many good Marriott employees seem to know nothing about the site. When they see the information about their property and town it seem to provide some real pride for their work!
These Marriott employees are important to all of us, many of us have spent years counting on them.
After all, a job is a precious thing today!
"I really find it odd that so many good Marriott employees seem to know nothing about the site. When they see the information about their property and town it seem to provide some real pride for their work!"
Agreed! Kudos on your photos. They put a face on Marriott and highlight what the Spirit To Serve is about. On that note, what about a 'Best Travel Story of the Week' contest?
Every Sunday evening, Andrew or someone designated announces the theme for the travel story of the week. For example, one week the theme might be Concierge Lounges, another week Front Desk check-in or Reservations. When special promotions are on, the theme might be Megabonus or PointSavers. The themes can focus on Best Category 6, Best Courtyard, Best Value, Best Service, Best Dining, Best Upgrade and so on. The themes can rotate or be unique 52 times a year.
On Friday or Saturday, the Travel Story of the Week post that enjoys the most number of votes wins 500 or 1000 bonus points and bragging rights for a week!
The point is to stir-up positive Insider participation and stimulate Marriott associate involvement. A weekly contest potentially provides associates with the opportunity to be in-the-loop and talk-it-up, 'Did you know you can win 1,000 bonus points in the Best Travel Story of the Week contest at Marriott Rewards Insiders?'