Congratulations to our posters for achieving new posting statuses.
Please use the following link: http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Articles.aspx/6684/What-you-dont-know-about-your-guests-problems for proper copyright protections.
The article describes Problems Per Hundred Guests and how many guest have the problem, report the problem, and get the issue resolve.
The #1 problem guests experience 16% of the time is noise which is reported 43% of the time and resolved 35% of the time.
At exactly 9:59 PM EST on 10/06/2011 while I was in the middle of a post, the MRI site exclaimed
So I tried opening a new window:
Followed by a "Maintenance Announcement" which I hadn't time to screen capture but basically said, "the system is down for maintenance until #:## AM EST. Please check back . . ."
I was trying to filter MRI members by membership level as shown:
That's when I noticed that in setting up a profile, the only choice for displaying membership level is "Yourself."
So much for having badges that display our membership!
I believe most MRI members would concede that the new site is difficult to navigate and to find recent postings for all activity - whether or not those posts or posters are being followed. In version 2, it was very easy to find updated activity since the last time a member logged on to MRI (albeit, most were limited to the last three postings/actions).
In the Activity area, currently only two views are available: 1) All Content, and 2) Status Updates. A third view would be extremely helpful and would make visiting the site much more efficient. Per my screen capture, below, having a third view would expedite the finding of information that had occurred since a member last logged in to MRI. In addition, to see only those actions that have occurred since last logging in would encourage members to read/view/respond to nearly ALL MRI content. But as it stands now with only two views, one must wade through all of the Status Updates to find postings of relevance (not to diminish the view of new members, but 99% of MRI current members are not interested in seeing who recently joined, but are interested in travel content). I believe this perspective is also why so many MRI members have commented negatively on the "facebook" styled social community rather than a more appealing Travel Information Site a la version 2 of MRI.
To have this third view, one can then find (scrolling down) the "End Of New Updates" and can feel confident that no new information has been missed and that his/her time spent on MRI was "quick and easy."
Many MRI members have alluded to point value comparisons between Marriott and Hilton. I found the easiest way to get an accurate comparison of "pure value"*** was to go online and do some shopping under both brands comparing products and the number of points required. This analysis does not reflect how quickly points might be earned (another post coming), but the "raw" value of each chain's points.
It appears from the purchases below that it takes 1.9 as many Hilton points to equate to 1 Marriott point.
My next analysis will be how quickly points are earned under each program as top-tiered status using both branded credit cards and similar stays. (I will use some recent stays at a Hilton Garden Inn and Springhill Suites in Columbus, OH for easy comparison).
***Pure value is defined as "what is a point worth cash-wise" versus hotel room redemption.
Many MRI members have alluded to point value comparisons between Marriott and Hilton. So, now the question is overall, which is the best program for earning and using points?
Three previous analysises were used to drive to the final conlcusion:
If you can't earn points, you can't spend them, so IMO, the most important angle is to determine how quickly points can be earned per dollar spend.
Over the course of one year (and assuming two Megabonus promotions), spending $22,828 will yield 788,528 and 517,820 Hilton and Marriott points, respectively, or an "earning factor ratio" (EFR) of 1.52 Hilton:Marriott.
If you can't spend points, they're worthless, so IMO, the second most important angle is to determine what the points are worth "cash-wise." Since hotel rooms have many variables (quality, location, etc.), the best "pure value" comparison lies within like merchandise and gift cards.
To buy a melding pot of similar items, the number of points required is 2,728,500 and 1,434,000 Hilton and Marriott points, respectively, or a "cash factor ratio" (CFR) of 1.90 Hilton:Marriott.
If you can't spend points on hotel rooms, what's the purpose of earning points for a hotel loyalty program, so IMO, the third most important comparison is to determine hotel room value of points.
To purchase rooms on points, it takes 4,086,250 points for $27,567.19 Hilton dollar-value of rooms whereas Marriott requires 2,425,000 points for $43,492.54, or 148.23 Hilton points per dollar versus 69.43 Marriott PP$ or a "hotel factor ratio" (HFR) of 2.13 Hilton:Marriott. ***
Even though the EFR is significantly higher for Hilton, so are the CFR and HFR ratios. A comparison of the Rs determines the ultimate winner.
Gifts and merchandise are earned 80.0% "quicker" under Marriott versus Hilton (EFR/CFR or 1.90/1.52) - WINNER: MARRIOTT
Free hotel rooms are earned 71.3% "quicker" under Marriott versus Hilton (EFR/HFR or 1.52/2.13) - WINNER: MARRIOTT
Summary: Without a doubt, the earning capacity of points goes to Hilton, but the actual usage of points is clearly a Marriott advantage. And for those who wish to spend some points on London or Paris stays, it's a slam dunk on Marriott without question.
*** These numbers are from the Part 2 comparison, but eliminated the two venues (London & Paris) as these significantly skewed the points favorably towards Marriott. However, including these venues yields 5,970,958 & $34,508.67 Hilton and 2,750,000 & $43,492.54 Marriott, a HFR of 2.64 H:M.
Using all venues, then Free hotel rooms are earned 57.3% "quicker" under Marriott versus Hilton (EFR/HFR or 1.52/2.64) - WINNER: MARRIOTT by the widest margins of all
Many MRI members have alluded to point value comparisons between Marriott and Hilton. So, now the question is what are points worth when cashing in on hotel rooms? Part 1 is found here for gift cards and merchandise: Marriott vs Hilton Point Value
The below analysis makes the following assumptions:
RESULTS: It takes 2.64 Hilton points to equate to a Marriott point. 173.03 Hilton points buys $1 of Hilton rooms whereas 65.54 Marriott points buys $1 of Marriott rooms.
Note on rank: in the first line, a -3 appears as Rank before the highest rated Marriott property; this means that three Hilton properties ranked higher than the best Marriott, yielding a corresponding 3 in the Rank column by the Hilton property. In other words, Tripadvisor ranks three Hilton properties ahead of the best Marriott property subject to the conditions specified, above.
Many MRI members have alluded to point value comparisons between Marriott and Hilton. So, now the question is how quickly are points earned in both programs? Part 1 is found here for gift cards and merchandise: Marriott vs Hilton Point Value and Part 2 is found here for hotel rooms in major metropolitan areas: Marriott vs Hilton Point Value - Part 2
Now that we know how we spend points, let's look at how we earn points and compare.
The analysis below are for stays I made in September 2011 at a Hilton Garden Inn and a Marriott Springhill Suites, both in Columbus, OH and about 2 miles apart (both near my current client). Ironically, both have the same exact negotiated rates and state/city taxes making the comparison all the easier. Lastly, it should be noted that I have top-tier status in each program and also their "premier" credit cards and am signed up for Hilton's "Double Dip" bonus program and Marriott's Megabonus promotion. One assumption - I will make the number of required Marriott nights to earn the full Megabonus of 50,000 points.
Key findings: the Megabonus makes a HUGE DIFFERENCE in points earnings, nearly doubling the "normal points" earned when the promotion is not underway and not already achieved. Normal earning power of points is 35.54 points per dollar for Hilton and 18.30 points per dollar for Marriott yielding a ratio of 1.89 as many Hilton points per dollar spend versus Marriott points per dollar spent, whereas it is 34.54 and 36.53 respectively during Megabonus promotions or 0.95 ratio.
Finally, I added two additional columns to see how Megabonus works out on an annual basis using the assumption that 50 nights are needed to earn 100,000 Megabonus points (two promos per year) yielding a Marriott PP$ of 22.68 or a ratio of 1.52 H:M.
Everyone has their own preferences for visiting MRI and how they move about, but I thought I would share my favorite way to navigate to make certain I am catching all the posts and polls, etc.
SETUP DEFAULT (optional):
The first thing to do is to set your personal preferences for your landing page. This way, when you log into MRI, this is the page to which you default upon. To do so, click on your username (top right of any page) to open your profile. In the bottom-right is an "Actions" section. Choose the Edit preferences as shown:
Next time you log in, you will start within the Activity view. Now that the setup defaults are complete, here is how I navigate:
Depending how long it has been since I last logged in will determine how far I need to scroll to get to where only new items since my last log in are displayed. I know when I have scrolled throuh all the new items when I see the following line across the activity page:
Sometimes, there has been so much activity on the MRI that I will need to display even more items. To do so, I click on the appropriate command:
which will open additional pages until I finally get to the END OF NEW UPDATES shown across the page. Using Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome, the key is to having the "Right-Click to Open link in new tab" that will open the post into a new tab accross the top of your monitor screen. For example, assume this is a post I want to read that appears in the recent activity:
Once I have opened all the interesting stuff into new tabs, I simply go to the top of my browser where all the tabs are and open one-by-one to read, comment, or whatever. The small "X" in each tab closes the tab. Once all closed, I know I've completed my interests. I completely log out of MRI so that the next time I log back in, I default to the Activity page, and scroll through to the END OF NEW UPDATES repeating the process. Good news is I only see stuff that is new since last logging in to MRI.
Doing this type of navigation on the Activity page, one can see that off to the right is several icons and commands.
EXPAND: if you see this (not always there), this means there have been multiple posts within this activity since your last log in. Clicking the expand will display only those new posts since your last log in to which you can reply or like.
PREVIEW: choosing this command will display the original post and content (in case you wish to review what all the hub-bub is about).
AVATARS: these display members that have posted AND following. Members not being followed will not display their avatar.
Unfortunately, this method of navigation displays not only the new activity (posts) but also all the new members who have joined which, IMO, clutters up the display and makes this style of navigation more difficult than it should be. I have a recommendation in to the CM to add a third tab that is post activity only such as:
Very, VERY interesting article on Loyalty to hotel brands. Focus of the discussion is on three topics:
Most highly committed guests? ===> Four Seasons. Followed by (a tie): Marriott and Ritz-Carlton
See article at: How committed are guests to your brand?
Pingreeman - Thank you so much for letting me know of this, although compared to you, steppingstones and profchiara, I'm in the back of the pack! I agree that all opinions matter, but, I must admit, I value the opinions of some more than others! (Just as I'm sure some probably say, "I wish that nhtraveler would just travel right off of Insiders.")
Again, many thanks. It's always nice to be recognized.
Jasper, et al
sorry to have caused a stir. I was not dissing anyone for their opinion, I was just lamenting the reality that this site is becoming/has become more of a social networking site than a weary travelers site. I am glad you are enjoying the site and understand fully that you really were not around in the old days to compare the content of the sites, but I can assure you that it has changed and in my opinion, none for the better. That said, those of us that are less happy with the new site are clearly in the minority and will either need to get with it or move past it. Honestly, much of my rant is due to the fact that I still struggle to maneuver this site and feel helpless to accomplish much other than to respond to a post that seemingly magically appears on my screen. There seemed to be so much more information readily available on the old site. sigh.......
I beg to differ...I was around in the old days and can make a comparison of sites. I agree that I liked the old site better, but at this point I don't think I have a choice but to move forward with the new site and make the best of it.. I am as frustrated as you but again don't think I have a choice but to get the most of the new site!!!