This article describes a special program for a select few super rich travelers in which a hotel chain assigned a 24 hour seven day week 365 day a year ambassador to each of them. These ambassadors ensure that every wish that the frequent travelers had was fulfilled. Here's a hint, it was not Marriott.
Very interesting article. I wonder how many points Mr. Neuman was charged for his presidential suite and limo service (if those were
paid in cash I'm sure it cost an arm and a leg). The poster boy the article described leads a crazy life doing mileage runs (for airline
points) and shuffling hotel stays for bed runs (can you imagine packing and unpacking/ checking in and out one day after another
for weeks on end just to earn points?).
Ritz Carlton has an almost similar concept (luxury service) but this is not a loyalty program. For a minimum investment of
$100,000 (this price was ten years ago), they will arrange your own private jet (chartered), meet you at the airport with a limo,
have food (full meal if you require) and wine in the limo / and a personal assistant to assist you to conduct your business while in
the limo. In your suite your own personal butler awaits to serve you hand and foot,ready to pamper you from head to toe.
Ah, the lifestyle of the rich!
If this is true:
"Guests who reach Gold status (10 stays or 25 nights in a year) or Platinum status (25 stays or 50 nights in a year) for five years will be awarded lifetime membership in that category. Anyone who stays 75 nights in a year can check in and check out anytime, day or night. And those who stay 100 nights will be awarded the ultimate luxury of being assigned a personal Ambassador."
And you can receive this "preferred guests was given their own personal concierge, available to them 24 hours a day—and not just when they’re staying at a Starwood hotel, but anytime"
Here I come Starwood, no longer will I be a Marriott Point *****
I don't think you started anything SS. I think Marriott did, when they let their competitors up the rewards and have let their benefits to the elites, go the other direction. If Marriott just watches, more and more of their frequent users will go to the dark side (or to the light, depending on how you look at it). Hopefully a light will come on somewhere up the Marriott chain, and we'll see Marriott trying to take better care of it's Elite repeat business.
I would expect that Marriott will upgrade their elite program in line with competitors eventually. Unfortuately their beauracracy and new leadership (with Bill Marriott in semi-retirement), it will now take longer for them to react to their competitors. In the meantime, they will lose a lot of their elite members business, with some, as you say, going to the "dark side" to never return to the Marriott..As I have said in the past, it is very easy to lose your most loyal customers, and ten times as hard to convince them to come back. We have all these signs that Marriott is looking at their program but with very little follow-up..What a shame...Service is deteriorating and benefits are not keeping up with competitors. Not suprising that Marriott continues to lose business.
I'm really sorry to hear you say that because I LOVE being a point hound! I stayed an entire summer at a Waldorf Astoria because they offered a 10,000 points bonus for a 3 day stay. I didn't enjoy checking out of the hotel every 3 days to maximize the points available in the bonus program, but my family loved their 3 weeks in Hawaii (all on points).
I'll agree that over the last few years the Marriott promotions have been less than stellar compared to other chains, but I don't believe that calls for abandoning the chain. I maintain the top status level in 4 hotel programs (Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, and IHG), but Marriott is my hotel of choice. I've found that their reward benefit options of hotel + airline miles is one of the best in the industry. I'll take a free 120,000 airline miles anytime!
Yes, I wish that Marriott would improve their membership program, but I'm not willing to abandon the entire Marriott chain to "chase the holy grail" being offered by SPG. My problem is that I feel like Marriott does not do enough to insure their PPE and LPE members remain loyal to the chain. And perhaps that's what your post really meant.
Thanks! In addition, I spoke with some friends of mine that are part of this program, and they are less than pleased with the Ambassador program. They stated that hotels are "almost" required to contact their ambassador when making even the smallest change to their reservations. It causes major delays in processing these minor chnage requests, especially if your Ambassador isn't located in your time zone. Therefore, they attempt to not utilize this service unless they are traveling for personal reasons or leisure activities, especially to overseas locations.
In addition, I'm not sure if other PPE members have this option, but I have access to a Marriott business travel representative that has been an excellent resource for me whenever I find myself unable to secure reservations in the New Orleans market. Generally, I contact the hotel first, and if they are unable to accomodate me, I contact my Marriott business travel rep. She always seems to be able to come thru for me. Her official title is Business Transient Sales Manager.
I've never met her in person. Generally, I communicate via e-mail. I was referred to her thru the front desk manager at one of the properties that I frequent in the New Orleans market. She has been an absolutely great resource. Once again, whenever I find myself needing a hotel room and can't book it myself. I send her a note and within a few hours, she sends me my confirmation number.