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As many of you have probably noticed, the Business Forum has stagnated and there are very few overall posts compared to the other categories. I assume a large proportion of Insiders are for the most part business travelers with leisure travel as well. Most of us probably post our experiences in the other Forums. As we consider possible ways to make the website a better experience -- if it is possible given the LiveWorld platform -- would you favor eliminating this Forum in favor of another?
Well said Professor, I think you've hit it right on the head!
This business forum was a lively one pre-April 1st 2010 and it has become very underused since then. I am not sure what percentage of the Marriott Rewards community use Marriott hotels primarily for business, but I would wager that it's the majority, perhaps a large majority.
The forums should, in my opinion be specific enough to generate discussions, and I have always felt that having branches under each forum, much like Flyer Talk does, would increase customers to the site and enliven the discussion.
Thanks for posting
I agree that some change makes sense.
With corporate and group travel the primary 'business' of Marriott, perhaps replacing the title, 'Business' with a more descriptive one might stimulate meaningful contributions? For example, 'Conferences, Meetings & Special Events'.
Another idea is a forum that focuses on the Marriott business culture, Spirit To Serve. Here, Insiders might post about how associates exceeded expectations to make a stay memorable or encountered challenging situations that were successfully turned around to the guest's favor.
IMO- Two of the Four should be revised. I believe they should go as follows.
Not sure how many other Insiders, participated in the phone interview with a 3rd party company about this site. But I am more likely to pay attention to Platinum Insiders that have lived through the pain much like myself. I take those opinions in higher regard than a Silver or Gold traveler. No offense just my opinion.
Given the 4 current categories it is not conducive to utilize all 4 areas. You recommend a Hotel in one section then move to another to recomend a local restuarant or attraction?
just my thoughts!
I too took the telephone survey, which wasn't directly connected with the changes in the site, but is something that Marriott is using for further mainpage website development (at least as I understood it).
SteppingStones and I will be talking with the team next week and plan to bring up the many great points made by Insiders. Thanks!
Many of us thought it was an April Fool's joke, but for Insiders it seemed like the end of the world (I'm exaggerating, but we had come to see ourselves as a community that talked about all kinds of travel experiences). We had great forums, a fully-engaged community, many different easily accessible sites, and so forth. Then the host changed, many forums were eliminated, world cities (which had been prominently clickable) became nonexistent, and only the three most recent post for the new forums were listed. As a result, many Insiders got very upset or disengaged.
"What happened on April 1, 2010?"
First of all, welcome to Insiders. On April 1st, the Marriott Rewards Insiders team and the vendor that hosts Insiders, LiveWorld replaced fully-functional, user-friendly and visually attractive features with several 'enhancements' - many of which - did not work as intended or at all.
Building upon the professor's outline, one of the capabilities that is essential to have is the ability to access messages - those that you posted and those others posted. We were able to do this very effectively with MyProfile or looking at a member's Profile. On April 1st, My Profile was broken and rendered unusable. Since My Profile functions as an Index that the Search engine relies upon, Search became unreliable and Advanced Search completely unusable. Biggest of all, there was no back-up plan and no way to roll-back the changes.
Needless to say, many active members found Insiders impossible to navigate, counterintuitive, unfriendly, unreliable and irrelevant. While well-intentioned, the new capabilities did not appear to be fully tested rendering Insiders a waste of time. Many referred to the site as a 'mess', which it was. It took several weeks to restore capabilities like MyProfile. Only recently was Advanced Search scrapped.
As a travel site, one of the capabilities that made so much sense and was so easy to use was 'Browse by Destinations'. For the new user this feature provided the ability to point and click at a destination, let's say Paris or Rome and view all messages posted where the destination was mentioned with the most recent message first. As you can see from the Insiders Home page, the feature is gone. Only recently did a new feature appear, Browse Destinations Feedback is welcome.
Above: Browse by Destination prior to April 1st. Point and click on a city and see all the posts where that city is mentioned with most recent message first.
Below: Advanced Search after April 1st. Complicated, challenging and completely unusable. You could not find a Marriott hotel by brand, by city or any combination whatsoever - even if you tried for hours.