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EuropeanPete May 1, 18 2:49 am

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist (Post 29699968)
Do Ambassadors receive commissions on the reservations they make? Is there an implicit revenue productivity standard for them? {Hyatt seems to have something like this.]

I very much doubt it. My Ambassador has never shown any particular interest in booking normal rooms for me - he's just there when I need an extra hand.

Jiatong May 1, 18 5:33 am

Interesting thread

UA-NYC May 1, 18 6:07 am

Originally Posted by SHLTP (Post 29701253)
Quite obviously it is easier to hit $20,000 USD in spend when you are staying at more expensive hotels. Quite obviously a property with a Butler team that caters to luxury demanding consumers are better set up with executing special favors. The PDG in Paris obviously would be better set up doing something extraordinary that a Fairfield in the middle of Oklahoma.

Why the outrage at BHRubin? He is stating the obvious to me, which somehow you fail to get. That does not make a luxury hotel consumer better or more profitable (I have written before that a Courtyard customer might be more profitable than a highly demanding STR customer).

And based on your travel patterns you post here, you don't care about the thread count of sheets. Some of us do. Or like being welcomed. I am not saying you are bad or low but your expectations/ wants fit a Fairfield customer more than a STR one.

Amen to all that...the level of dismissiveness & jealously in this thread is pretty sad.

I have not been bhrubin-satisfied over the years, but nor have I had major complaints. I usually get a suite on all my "important trips" (aka vacations). Almost always get a F&B welcome gift. For my birthday in properties I have been sent travel bags, a travel book, etc. Received a bucket of craft beer one time, that was pretty sweet. Best one was an invite to a Prince Harry charity event when he was in the US years ago. Have received some other interesting invites to SPG Moments-type activities for free, couldn't do some of them due to work travel though.

I still book my own travel or through my TA for work, as I'm just used to it and don't like needing to wait. But my AMB has also helped arrange transit to/from properties, given me advice close-in on which properties in a market had the best chance of a SNA clearing, helping out w/early check-in even when Y24 failed.

Note I'm not a bhrubin-level revenue driver (and thus he deserves all the perks he gets)...I typically do ~80 paid nights a year, $210 ADR lifetime average. So even a more standard Ambassador guest can get great service & perks.

I will miss the service going forward.

txpenny May 1, 18 7:15 am

Originally Posted by bhrubin (Post 29701381)

As for this thread being necessary, I actually asked a Marriott moderatorís opinion and permission before starting this thread. There are threads herein explaining every other Marriott elite status level but none yet for this new level. I therefore thought it would foster useful discussion and be helpful for those interested in what a positive Ambassador experience can be like. Iím sorry that you donít see anything helpful.

I think it's going to be a very informative thread. I doubt my ambassador will offer much at my 200+ night/year hotel, however, I hoping this will be a nice benefit when traveling overseas and vacationing.

paolo64 May 1, 18 9:06 am

It's perfectly logical and reasonable that properties will offer higher level benefits to high-spenders, frequent-stayers, even if that is something as simple as chocolates/strawberries or having the aircon set. So, it's great that the OP gets the special treatment.
Personally I don't care for the program and value it far less than the Your24 and SNAs. Certainly I don't expect/need/want any birthday surprise or any other manifestation of a 'personal' relationship with an Ambassador.
However, I doubt that the highly variable experience with the program relates to $$$ value alone; as in most service roles, some are just better than others.

C17PSGR May 1, 18 9:57 am

I have an ex-gf who used to book travel for ultra-high net worth individuals -- she gets great upgrades whenever she travels! But those situations for those who are booking tons of meetings are outliers.

Other than the outliers ... what benefits are people getting from their ambassador and what should we expect?

From my review of the various threads, it seems on the Marriott side at least that the benefits that people including myself have reported are:

1. Requesting someone to be added on to a reservation (quicker to email call the ambassador in my experience)
2. Asking for a extra help requesting upgrades
3. Booking rewards travel
4. Assistance on family travel -- connecting rooms, etc.
5. Help recognizing a special event -- such as birthday or anniversary

Anything else for normal travelers we can add to the list?

I don't, for example, have any impression that my ambassador has told anyone at the JW I'm at tomorrow, the Autograph I'm at on Monday, the Marriott I'm at on Tuesday, or the Renn that I'm at on Wednesday, that I'll be there and they should do something special or give me priority on upgrades.

kennycrudup May 1, 18 11:13 am

Originally Posted by UA-NYC (Post 29702463)
... jealously ...

What's the emoticon for "went right over one's head"?

C17PSGR May 1, 18 11:40 am

Originally Posted by kennycrudup (Post 29703588)
What's the emoticon for "went right over one's head"?

I agree ... the concerns that some folks have aren't remotely jealously ...and I appreciate an earlier comment about blocking people.

Still, I think this can be a productive thread where we share ideas that more typically FT'ers can reasonably expect and ask from Ambassadors. I spend a third of my nights in Marriott/SPG properties (usually on corporate rates that are in the $150-200 range) and if there are reasonable things people are getting from their ambassadors that make their life easier and better, we can share in a way that helps.

UA-NYC May 1, 18 3:49 pm

Originally Posted by kennycrudup (Post 29703588)
What's the emoticon for "went right over one's head"?

No emoticons necessary...seemed quite obvious to me

hockeyinsider May 1, 18 5:39 pm

I'm not convinced that there will be any practical difference between the way individual properties treat platinum and platinum premier guests, as Marriott has seemingly failed to implement an order of precedence for the three platinum statuses. I can't imagine the number of platinum premiers at heavily trafficked properties after August 1 will be any fewer than the number of platinums at the same properties today. I think the only exceptions are some Marriott-managed properties and, of course, international properties.

I also think only those with platinum premier ambassador status will notice a difference in their experience.

I say all this because until now Marriott hasn't done a good job ensuring treatment of top-level elites at its properties, especially franchised properties with third-party management. There are a lot of properties that won't go beyond -- or can't because they don't even have suites -- a bottle of supermarket wine or a platter of processed cheese cubes.

I could be completely wrong, but am I the only one who thinks there will be more platinum premier ambassadors than there are platinum premiers in the present program? Platinum premier is currently unpublished but pretty much everyone has reported that you basically need 125 or 150 nights -- minimum! -- to qualify. 100 nights for platinum premier ambassador really isn't that much. Yes, the $20,000 threshold will help, but many won't have an issue meeting that threshold.

If everyone is ambassador then nobody is ambassador. Or, for that matter, if everyone is platinum then nobody is platinum.

DJ_Iceman May 1, 18 7:57 pm

I agree, hockeyinsider. I (like many here, I'm sure) remember when Club Marquis Black meant many properties really rolled out the red carpet. Even at the start of MR, platinum status seemed to mean something to most front desk associates. PP was a mistake because of the inconsistent and largely lackluster way properties were trained on it. We've all got the rare story of a property that did something amazing because we were PP, but dozens of stories where properties didn't know it was different from platinum or, worse, that it was somehow below.

A $20k spending threshold seems too low for them to ensure true VIP status when those guests travel. I'm sure Marriott has all the data to know just how many ambassador guests they'll have at that level, and how many actual ambassadors they need to hire to service them. But I'm not sure the bean-counters at corporate HQ paid any attention (nor did they probably care, if it even came up in the analysis) to how many ambassador guests will be staying at any given property on any given night.

kaizen7 May 2, 18 12:11 am

it might be better if Marriott change the ambassador service requirements altogether.

Set at $30k or even $40k (depends on what Marriott criteria as high value customer) and ditch the night requirements altogether.
And for people who manage to reach that level, give them status equal to PP75 without sna option.

And for PP above 75, provide those sna and other option for every extra 25 nights

EuropeanPete May 2, 18 2:49 am

A couple of thoughts to add to the OP's useful summary of the Ambassador programme:
  • Firstly, as he said there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that there is some kind of link between the service provided by the Ambassador programme and your programme spend. I almost never book rooms for anyone else, and so my annual spend is about 1/2 or less of bhrubin's. I too seem to get the "VIP" treatment in most Luxury Collection hotels and some of the better W/ Westins, but generally do not in St Regis hotels. I rarely get my Ambassador involved in general stay prep, but on the 1-2 occasions I've asked for a special room or requirement he has delivered. As an example, I'm probably going back to the Grande Bretagne in Athens soon where I'm usually upgraded to Suites, but have never had a view of the Acropolis. I'll ask to sacrifice size of room for a view this time and am pretty confident that will be delivered (probably in a Suite, but maybe not).
  • Secondly, where I think the Ambassador programme today is at its weakest is in setting expectations and helping members understand what services the "Ambassador" is able to provide. My welcome email was focused on him being able to book me airport transfers and liaise with hotel Concierges, neither of which has any value to me whatsoever. I hope they improve this before they roll the service out to thousands of new people.
I've experimented with requests over the year and have found the following value add services useful:
  • Help with logistics. Liaising with hotels to keep hold of packages, collect bags, do advance dry cleaning, etc. While I'd expect to arrange this directly with a Concierge at a top tier Cat 7 hotel, in a few cases my Ambassador had to use his creativity and insistence to arrange some things
  • Help with Starwood. Customer care is not always great in Starwood, and I've had legitimate points requests, BRG's, service failures and other denials from the programme. My Ambassador quickly figures out what is wrong and fixes it
  • Special occasions. I let my Ambassador know if there is something special about a stay, and he'll generally make sure that there's something special about the recognition. As bhrubin previously indicated, it certainly helps if this is in a luxury hotel, which my special occasions usually are. I also don't take the piss - I generally have my birthday and maybe 1-2 more stays out of 50 where I'd like some kind of favour which I suspect makes his life easier.
  • Hotel liaison. My Ambassador has contacts throughout Starwood and generally knows how things work. I've previously needed longer term stay rates negotiated for New York and might need the same for Paris later this year. He will know whether the Sales Directors are centralized or individual and can act as a liaison to collect options and potentially to put some pressure on properties to meet my requirements
All in all, I definitely attribute value to my Ambassador as a useful human face for when I'm spending 100+ nights on the road. I'm hoping he doesn't get promoted to a trainer role so that I can keep him.

hockeyinsider May 2, 18 4:20 am

I don't eat cake. I don't eat cheese cubes. I don't eat chocolate. Beer or wine is of little interest to me. The only thing that would impress or wow me is a bottle of real French champagne and not California, Italian or Spanish sparkling wines. Lanson is fine by me. I'm like Trump in that I drink 10 cans of Diet Pepsi or Diet Coke every day. I like suite upgrades if the suites are actually something special, but I find most domestic properties either don't have suites or have suites that aren't impressive and often are on lower floors or closer to elevators than a king-sized room on the top floor.

Every good J.W. Marriott or Ritz-Carlton property, as well as every Marriott internationally, has emailed me ahead of my stay. Every special request I've ever made has been fulfilled that way. Some have ranged from a Christmas tree in my room to a framed picture of my girlfriend on my nightstand.

I doubt there's anything the Four Points by Sheraton in Saginaw, Michigan, the Delta in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, or the Marriott in Norfolk, Virginia, could actually do that would impress. On the other hand, there are hotels like the Marriott in Los Suenos, Costa Rica, that surprised me with 4 bags of Costa Rican coffee (probably $12 a bag) after I commented on how good the coffee was. Or there's the Renaissance Paris Republique concierge that surprised me with VIP tickets to a concert in Saint-Chapelle when I mentioned that I wanted to visit this old church but it was closed for sightseeing.

EuropeanPete May 2, 18 5:13 am

Originally Posted by hockeyinsider (Post 29706217)
I don't eat cake. I don't eat cheese cubes. I don't eat chocolate. Beer or wine is of little interest to me. The only thing that would impress or wow me is a bottle of real French champagne and not California, Italian or Spanish sparkling wines. Lanson is fine by me.

You should definitely investigate Spanish and Italian sparkling wines some more (as well as French non-Champagne), as there are plenty which are a lot better than Lanson. I'd guess the same might be true of US sparkling wines, though it's an area I've less experience of myself.

Maybe it could be worth a visit to the Marques de Riscal?

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