Today I spent approximately one hour digging into the "Weekend Rate Discount" that is supposedly a benefit to elite members. Here's the text on this:
Weekend Rate Discount: Receive a 10% discount on the regular room rate for Friday and Saturday night stays at participating Courtyard by Marriott and SpringHill Suites by Marriott locations. Rates vary from hotel to hotel. Weekend rate discounts are not valid with any other discount or on upgraded rooms at Courtyard by Marriott, and may not be available during certain special events.
This offer boils down to a "regular" rate that has been pre-established at each location. Unfortunately, the "regular" rate is extraordinarily high in most markets during the off-peak season as compared to the "Standard" rates tab available through your website. Since the off-peak season "Standard" rates are almost always less than 10% off this pre-established "regular" rate, your customers receive little to no benefit.
If anyone off the street can book a lower rate 90% of the time vs. the "Weekend Rate Discount" at Courtyard and SpringHill Suites locations, why do you even advertise this as a benefit?
Think I'm wrong? Go choose 5 random Courtyard properties and examine the "Standard" tab vs. the "Marriott Rewards Offers" tab. Those offers, by the way, are cluster E0S.
There is a permanent 10% discount at Courtyard and SpringHill suites that's advertised as an elite benefit at ALL participating locations, not just select hotels with promotions. What you mention is something else entirely and, by the way, those 20% off rates are also 20% off a fixed "regular" rate that is unpublished, not off their best rates for non-members.
It also can be advantageous to check hotel rates (especially for weekend travel) after a booking has been finalized. I have on many occasions found that a rate is dramatically adjusted to fill rooms (I once changed a weekend reservation at the San Fran Marriott Marquis from $249 to $110 the day I was arriving). It also helps to check AAA and (in my case) Senior rates. Amazing what can be discovered by trying different combinations and re-checking dates of stay.
tef's advice is dead on, these rates are like the futures market, live until check -in. If you are staying for two nights over the weekend (Th/F, F/S, S/S) check the actual hotel web site. About 10 days out they often have last minute weekend deals which are significantly reduced. AAA discounts are worth the annual membership all by itself.
tef6178 and erc,
thanks for your comments, but you're really missing the point. Marriott is advertising a benefit that in reality exists perhaps 10% of the time. This is about the truthfullness of Marriott's marketing and promises to members. They could just say "you'll get 10% off the rack rate at xyz properties," but instead they've chosen to use confusing language and even their own Platinum Premier reservation staff don't really understand the discrepancy.
Yes, you're right. This will not be the last promotional anomaly you'll discover (this site is full of them - most, all frustratingly accurate, I've posted several myself). Perhaps my jaded 'caveat emptor' attitude when it comes to securing the 'best guaranteed rate', led me to jump right into the how best to address the marketing spin. Wait until you find a AAA rate $75 higher than the standard rate, or promotional rates that no longer exist, but the promotion does. Your post reminds us all that unfortunately, sometimes even among one of the finest service providers in the industry, it's a dog eat dog world and we the customer are wearing milkbone shorts. Thanks for reminding us that we must always wear our gamefaces when it comes to securing the best rate (or the included weekend breakfast). Marriott's drive for industry best margins, a current major force behind stock price, sometimes leads to these promotional contradictions, but as a platinum, you no doubt realize, like the rest of us, that net - net, at least to date (and for many years) they're a superb operator of consistently high service quality. It's just that at times of late, it has become more 'arms length' between us and them.
To the contrary, I read your point loud and clear! In fact, as erc pointed out 'this will not be the last promotional anomaly'. I probably should have tagged my post with the caveat that I never even look at those 'discounted rate' promotions because I figured out a long, long time ago that they are not what they seem. Your post just further enforced it. My thought process was probably not well stated in that I was just trying to give a secondary thought process and direction.
Thanks for the post. It's a good point you've made.
Full Marriotts (especially airport properties) have Friday/Saturday night rates that are not only a great deal, but in many--if not most--cases less than a nearby CY or FI on the same days. I've found this to be the case pretty much everywhere in the US I've traveled, and it's not just Marriott, most of the majors are the same.
I honestly didn't know a thing about the "10% discount" deal, and couldn't care less, anyway. I get great rates nearly every time, everywhere. For me, I don't spend so much time sweating details, I just figure out the pattern in pricing policy, take advantage of the knowledge, and move on.