Seems that some of what's in this article is common sense but it is interesting to note that:
"On average, only 20 to 40% of program members regularly accrue points toward award redemption. That means hotels are losing out on significant opportunities to encourage at least 60% of their customers to become repeat and loyal customers"
Worth a look
It makes total sense to me. while many of us are loyal Marriott customers, I would bet that we are also members of 3-5 additional hotel loyalty programs. we usually have a single "favorite", but do not want to miss out on accruing points whenever and wherever possible. same goes with airlines and rental car companies. there is likely nothing the non-favorites can do to garner the #1 spot in our hearts, but we do belong to the program nonetheless just simply do not engage in the same way. With this in mind, I think companies should make the greatest effort to ensure continued loyalty with those that have already shown a propensity toward staying at their property as opposed to chasing those who either do not spend too many night out, or those who already have a competing favorite. Kinda like the old song "love the one you're with".......
Great topic. FWIW, here's my opinion. Perceived value and easy redemption resonate w/me as a best practices for Marriott. W/the exception of the 2009 program changes to Marriott Rewards and the severing of ties w/American Airlines AAdvantage last year, the program has consistently met or exceeded my expectations for being loyal to the brand.
The 2009 program changes increased points required for a free night - making it more difficult vs. easier to redeem. Although a true-up to account for increased costs to operate including taxes, labor and energy is understandable, there was widespread perception of loss of value for being loyal because of the magnitude of change and the manner in which they were communicated as so-called 'enhancements' under the guise of 'No Blackout Dates' where the organization experienced delays in implementation and expected service delivery.
But that's passed. 'No Blackout Dates' is alive and well; although there are anecdotal cases of controlled inventory, rarely do we hear of lack of compliance - except where hotels have contracts for large groups. Marriott has also grown the inventory where Marriott Rewards can be earned and redeemed including Ritz-Carlton and Autograph Collection. PointSavers | Redeem 4 Get the 5th Night Free and the Welcome Gift Points are additional touchpoints of increased value that illustrate best practice.
The new news is that Marriott Rewards continues to innovate and respond to changing perceptions. Complimentary Internet and to some extent, Rollover Nights illustrate. Instant Redemption falls short, IMO. As many have noted, Platinum Premier is a work-in-progress, but the opportunity to rev up value because of extraordinary loyalty is there.