It seems that the core group is now spending an inordinate amount of postings on benefits we would like to have as elite members. As that sentence suggests, it is somewhat self-serving, limited in scope, and not really getting us anywhere. As I see it, there are several key discussions going on simultaneously:
1. free guaranteed upgrades to platinums
2. free breakfast
3. lounges open seven days a week
4. platinum premier - raising it's value
5. upgrades in general
6. BOGO's - both meals and nights
I believe those are the key concerns being discussed at this time, maybe I forgot one or two. Either way, It's a broad range of 'wants', all of which come with a price tag. How do we rank them in importance? It may surprise some, but the ONLY one worth fighting for in my opinion is the free guaranteed upgrades for Platinums. I find that the hotels I stay at provide the free breakfast. check. Lounges open 7 days a week. I travel all week long and only sporadically do I travel on the weekend. If I do, it's a sunday, and the cl reopens sunday night. check. platinum premier. I'm all for raising the value, just don't know how to quantify the increase. Upgrades in general. Surprisingly, so far this year, I'm ok with the % of time I am getting upgraded. check. BOGO's. Honestly, I never used them. I would carry around the meal certificates, but for some reason, I find I hardly ever eat at the hotel. I never even noticed the bog's for nights.
So, there you have it. Granted these are my opinions based on my needs. I recognize that others have differing needs and I would love to hear from all of you. But let's be real. For all our polls, posts, rants, and raves, we have gotten nowhere. I think we need to focus on one thing possibly and pound away.
To be frank, I don't think whatever we are saying here is getting much attention and not having any influence on Marriott Management, which is a shame. However, by raising polls, at least, the Community Manager can see them and see what kind of interest the polls draw. For me, the two most significant improvements (supported by the number of votes received) would be:
As a resident of the nation's capital, I'm concerned I'm going to sound like a congressional rep, "I feel strongly both ways". Great idea to post, but I wonder the impact. Interesting that Jasper's thoughtful response was correctly deemed helpful. I'm just wondering, was it the narrative or the ranking - ha ha. My picks:
3. Lounges open seven days
1. Free guaranteed upgrades - here again, Jasper makes a good point by distinguishing - some hotels regard close to an elevator an upgrade, I view it as a potential nuisance.
6. Bogos - specificially the room. As I approached the twilight years, weekend travel is for pleasure and these are terrific. Coincidentally, I use the Bogo meals at the bogo property, almost as a thank you for the hotel offer ( Food cost %s being what they are, bogos on an entree is profitable by themselves, even more when appetizers, drinks and desserts are added in).
good points, shoeman. And, as you've pointed out before, whatever Marriott gives up, they'll recoup the costs of that perk in the going room rates. I feel like my upgrade history has been pretty good. And before I stay at a full service marriott or renaissance on a weekend, I call and confirm that there's comp'ed breakfast...if it's not available I find another place to stay...even if it's a nearby FFI or SHS. I guess the perk I used several times and probably would like to see reinstated is the BOGO for both the nights and meals. That seems to be of the most value to me personally.
I guess I'm more interested in seeing better promotions that are geared more for the "mega-traveler". When I stay more than 150+ nights per year, I would think that qualifies me for a little better promotion than the average traveler. I've demonstrated my loyalty, therefore in my opinion, that type of loyalty should be rewarded. And, maybe that's what the PP bullet point is all about. Unless I'm staying at one of my "regular hotels" I don't feel appreciated, and quite frankly, when I stay at the Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans, I'm almost embarrassed by the "we don't recognize your status" attitude of the front desk. If the PP level had more recogition, such as a free drink coupon, a personal note from the GM, or acknowledgement from the front desk manager on duty (see I'm not asking for much), maybe that would be enough to keep me loyal.
I'm not sure that I want to vote on the token of appreciation that I'd like to receive, but the entire list appears to be a good starting point to keep me loyal to the brand!
I have always felt that some kind of accelerator bonus should be given, perhaps based on discrete stays in a twelve month period, or multiple months in a single property. I had this happen a while back at the Santa Clara Marriott in silicon valley. Got a bunch of awards from the hotel on top of their excellent service.
I like this post. It brings an awareness. An awareness that discusses all our rants, polls, posts, etc getting us nowhere. That's correct. But, as also correctly pointed out by jasper, what we say isn't getting much attention or exerting any influence on Marriott. Unfortunately, I don't think pounding one issue will get a response either (look at Michellel trying to bring corporate to bear over just one issue....the suits just keep asking for more 'data'). These issues we are raising aren't what will bring the corporate gurus to adjust.....and getting a consensus to pound just one issue is another issue in its entirety. It's an instance where everything that is happening lately at Marriott is being guided by a revenue/cost analysis....and a bad one at that. That's because, if anyone has noticed, the CPA types have taken over in the upper echelons of the company (they promoted the finance chief with the Vacation Clubs to the CEO post after devising how to 'diminish' the points program there)..... and their 'perspective' is to cost analyze everything.
BUT, that being said, I do think this about the list:
I'm not the uber stayer as most of you are as I didn't travel for work and my travel time is all leisure. I've been with the Rewards program for decades, but never accumulated the big night numbers until I retired and travel for fun. So....
1. guaranteed free upgrades to platinums don't float my boat because I never spend any time in the room when traveling.....and a free upgrade could be the room next to the elevator. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for an upgrade when given, but guaranteed .....no. Now, if it was a 'free guaranteed upgrade to a suite on request' so many times a year, that's a good one. I could use it for 'special' deals.
2. free breakfast....is another 'data' driven issue with the higher ups. It should be a no brainer. If the cost of a breakfast can be absorbed by the FFI's and RI's , et al, it can be absorbed by the full service boys.....even on weekends. Don't tell me the cost analysis is an issue. The same people that make the breakfast in the full service joints make the scrambled eggs that go into the CL's. The cost is NEGLIGIBLE against the room charge....especially when the food is being bought wholesale (more on that later). Not having brakfast available for their best customers at full service hotels is stupid. I will stay where I get the breakfast. My weekend stays are just like husker says, if I call and there's no breakfast...I'm somewhere else like a FFI or RI. Lower rate but free breakfast.......means less revenue (since I'm staying at a lower priced property) and less profit for Marriott.
3. Lounges open 7 days a week...there are so many lounges that have no staffing now (it's a room service employee that stocks out the booze and food in most cases now) it's also a no brainer to me in this area. The cost is negligible and when not doing room service it gets PRODUCTIVITY out of someone who's probably just waiting for a room service call. Europe understands what a quiet place to have a moment and a cocktail means to a traveler. I think the lounge deal is important along with the breakfast.
4. I'm not a PP....but think you should be rewarded somehow for the extra it takes to be at that level. A free drink or letter from the GM or some 'little' amenity? Easy to do if they wanted to......but, the suits probably want more data. 'nuff said.
5. Upgrades in general.....see #1 response.
6. BOGO's meals and nights...... let's take meals. If I eat at your restaurant and pay $35 for a steak and get a steak free you didn't lose money. Yes, it's less profit, but the two each $11 drinks I bought for each person give far more profit dollars than the $25 profit you lost for giving me the free steak in the 'GO' part of the offer. Seems to me (since I ran wholesale companies for a living) that, based on costs, there would be about a $35 profit on the booze to overcome the $25 profit lost from the free steak. That's about $10 more profit from the BOGO transaction and if I don't eat there without the BOGO, you don't have any profit. It's more 'data' though....and most accountants deal with a revenue/profit structure based on a % factor that doesn't take into account that there could actually be MORE $$ profit in a BOGO transaction as I described. Their % analysis just says a BOGO doesn't give us the % of profit we need on a transaction. Last time I worked % numbers based on analysis don't pay the bills. Profit $$ do. I could analyze the nights, but I've gone on too long already.
Anywho, I do like this post. It brings home the reality of what we are dealing with. Thanks Shoeman......
thank you. it was meant to be provocative and it seems to have hit a chord with several folks. I agree with much of what you added. I wasn't really suggesting we all rally around one item, just wanted everyone to realize how many different agendas there were on the table. As you said, any decision is going to be driven by $$$, and something revenue-neutral, or revenue-enhancing, has a much greater chance of being adopted by the bean counters at corporate. By the way, I agree that the guaranteed upgrades allotted to Platinums and above should be 'suite' upgrades. period. Frankly, I'm surprised at how many folks church the bogo's. I guess I have been leaving some money on the table, so to speak.
Hey folks...back after a self imposed time out .
For me, it's all about the upgrades. Hilton did a status match for me a few months ago after one ask, despite the fact I've not stayed at a Hilton unless it was "decreed" by a all fees paid meeting. I've stayed twice at them since and on the first one, upgraded before I got there to concierge floor larger room. That takes some sweet talkin' at most of the Marriotts I stay at, unless it's one I frequent (BTW, made Plat this weekend for this year).
When I stay alone, it's not as key, although a little more room (since I do quite a bit of work in the room and like to be able to 'get away' from it a little) and relative proximity to the lounge is important to me. I DO NOT consider a CL floor room an upgrade, or a higher floor, or the one with the new lamps, an upgrade. I always ask and am often given a larger room in the Rens and full service.
When I'm with the fam, extra space becomes absolutely my barometer for status recognition. I've rarely been upgrade to a suite while with them, often am put in a 'larger' room, which can work, but when on points I generally feel they think I'm damn lucky to be there at all, so the small cave next to the laundry room seems to be something they think I should be grateful for.
It's also interesting to note my % of upgrades while on anything other than government rates vs. being on that rate--again the exception being hotels I stay at often.
Outside of those, when I am on govt rate upgrades are almost always 'not available' even when a variety of rooms are showing as available on the website. (Yes, I'm one of THOSE platinums). They give me some run around about 'room blocking' yadda yadda.
So to net it out:
1. Guaranteed Upgrades to suites (when it's more than me)
2.Guaranteed (i.e. no begging required) upgrades in general (and REAL upgrades, not 'ooh, I was able to get you the room with nicer towels' or whatever THEY decide is an upgrade. I am, after all, the customer so my opinion on this should matter.
3. Concierge lounges open 7 days
4. Free breakfast, especially at Courtyards. I will go OUT OF MY WAY to avoid a courtyard due to this not being offered (and they even took the lobby coffee away). I recently stayed at a Sheraton with no status (and they upgraded me, go figure!) because it was that or a CY.
The rest of them don't factor much into that. Never use BOGOs and I guess focused more on Plat than PP.
Welcome back...and lets hope Marriott wakes up and implements some of the upgrades that some of their main competitors made to their elite program including guaranteed suite upgrades. If they don't, they will continue to lose their most loyal customers business to their competitors!!