Upgrade monetization

Old Aug 29, 18, 8:28 am
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Upgrade monetization

Since there are threads on airlines monetizing first-class upgrades, I thought it was a time for a hotel-related thread.

I noticed Marriott was really bugging me to buy an upgrade for an upcoming stay at the Marriott Waikiki Beach.

I booked a "premium" ocean view room and was told by the general manager's office I had been pre-upgraded into a junior suite, but Marriott is still trying to get me to buy an ocean front room for $58 per night extra.


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Old Aug 29, 18, 9:46 am
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Originally Posted by hockeyinsider View Post
Since there are threads on airlines monetizing first-class upgrades, I thought it was a time for a hotel-related thread.

I noticed Marriott was really bugging me to buy an upgrade for an upcoming stay at the Marriott Waikiki Beach.

I booked a "premium" ocean view room and was told by the general manager's office I had been pre-upgraded into a junior suite, but Marriott is still trying to get me to buy an ocean front room for $58 per night extra.
Just curious... did you call the hotel directly to find out that you'd been pre-upgraded to a junior suite? Does it help to call about upgrades? It has never occurred to me to do that...
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Old Aug 29, 18, 9:50 am
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That's disgusting. The hotel is asking you to pay extra for a downgrade from the room you originally booked? I wonder how much money they're hoping to make from dumb guests who agree to this. IMO it's far far worse than the front desk agents gushing about a suite upgrade when one has reserved and paid for the suite.
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Old Aug 29, 18, 10:05 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
That's disgusting. The hotel is asking you to pay extra for a downgrade from the room you originally booked? I wonder how much money they're hoping to make from dumb guests who agree to this. IMO it's far far worse than the front desk agents gushing about a suite upgrade when one has reserved and paid for the suite.
I'm less inclined to cry foul here. The property has already pre-blocked OP into a room, but the Marriott system can't see that. It's Marriott that's trying to upsell, not the property. I just think this is (another) case of a hotel reservation system not being in sync with the Marriott system--something I think is pretty common in the hotel world.

But to your other point...don't get me started on the "upgrade when you really bought the room" crap.
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Old Aug 29, 18, 10:13 am
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If we ignore the junior suite preupgrade, the OP purchased a premium view oceanfront room and was asked to pay extra for an ordinary ocean front room with balcony. It sounds like he's being asked to pay $58 for a DOWNGRADE relative to what was booked, or at worst the same room type. To me, that's fraud on the part of either the hotel, Starriott, or both. I'm just some people will mistakenly rush to pay the money for the opportunity to get either the same room or a lower room category than was booked.
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Old Aug 29, 18, 10:31 am
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Originally Posted by wtigerFF View Post
Just curious... did you call the hotel directly to find out that you'd been pre-upgraded to a junior suite? Does it help to call about upgrades? It has never occurred to me to do that...
I've stayed here a lot and between the front desk manager and general manger's office have always been confirmed an upgrade before arrival. There are too many other properties, particularly now with legacy Starwood properties bookable on Marriott.com, to stay somewhere when you won't get a "decent" room.

For other properties, now that Marriott's mobile application does mobile check-in a full two days before arrival I will often message properties and ask if they can confirm an upgrade.
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Old Aug 29, 18, 10:38 am
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Originally Posted by CLEguy View Post
I'm less inclined to cry foul here. The property has already pre-blocked OP into a room, but the Marriott system can't see that. It's Marriott that's trying to upsell, not the property. I just think this is (another) case of a hotel reservation system not being in sync with the Marriott system--something I think is pretty common in the hotel world.

But to your other point...don't get me started on the "upgrade when you really bought the room" crap.
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
If we ignore the junior suite preupgrade, the OP purchased a premium view oceanfront room and was asked to pay extra for an ordinary ocean front room with balcony. It sounds like he's being asked to pay $58 for a DOWNGRADE relative to what was booked, or at worst the same room type. To me, that's fraud on the part of either the hotel, Starriott, or both. I'm just some people will mistakenly rush to pay the money for the opportunity to get either the same room or a lower room category than was booked.
Technically, my original booking was for a "premium" ocean view whereas the monetized "upgrade" was for an ocean front room. I think this is more a case of Marriott or the property, which is Marriott-managed unlike many domestic Marriott properties, playing games with the names of room categories.

Basically, at the Marriott Waikiki Beach, ocean front rooms are the last room at the end of the hallway corridor whereas the "premium" ocean view rooms can be the neighboring room or a couple rooms past there down the hallway corridor.

In my experience, I've almost always been upgraded as a platinum-premier (and now as a platinum premier ambassador) to a junior suite, which has always been in the same location as the ocean front room. The only time I didn't get a junior suite was when I received a two-room suite with wet bar on the top floor that had amazing views of Diamond Head and partial views of the ocean. So, some or all of these ocean front rooms are also junior suites. However, I don't know if there is really any difference because the junior suites that I've had have looked about the same size as a regular room but had a full sofa. One had a coffee table, the other didn't.

I could imagine elite status upgrades at this property will be difficult in high season because of the "upgrade" monetization scheme.

By the way, I checked all my other upcoming bookings and none of them, including the Renaissance Paris Republique Hotel and J.W. Marriott Grosvenor House in London, are utilizing "upgrade" monetization.

But it's worth checking your reservations. Hopefully, others will contribute similar monetization experiences to this thread.
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Old Aug 29, 18, 10:42 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
If we ignore the junior suite preupgrade, the OP purchased a premium view oceanfront room and was asked to pay extra for an ordinary ocean front room with balcony. It sounds like he's being asked to pay $58 for a DOWNGRADE relative to what was booked, or at worst the same room type. To me, that's fraud on the part of either the hotel, Starriott, or both. I'm just some people will mistakenly rush to pay the money for the opportunity to get either the same room or a lower room category than was booked.
I'm familiar with this property. OP is being asked to pay extra for going from an ocean view to an ocean front, which is an upgrade.

There is another thread on this ... some company has an algorithm that pushes this and is in place with most of Hilton properties and some Marriott properties. I get this at the Lexington NYC as well, trying to upgrade me at time of booking to a room that I should be upgraded to if it is available when I arrive. I don't think the algorithm catches that there has been a preupgrade.

This is a very pro-elite property. For example, this thread caused me to check and I have already been upgraded to a junior suite on an upcoming stay, which is consistent throughout my stays (which is why I keep staying there rather than the Westin or RH, which don't give great upgrades).
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Old Aug 29, 18, 11:33 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
If we ignore the junior suite preupgrade, the OP purchased a premium view oceanfront room and was asked to pay extra for an ordinary ocean front room with balcony. It sounds like he's being asked to pay $58 for a DOWNGRADE relative to what was booked, or at worst the same room type. To me, that's fraud on the part of either the hotel, Starriott, or both. I'm just some people will mistakenly rush to pay the money for the opportunity to get either the same room or a lower room category than was booked.
OP booked a "premium ocean view" room and was offered an upgrade to an "ocean front" room, one category higher. Before calling something "disgusting", "fraud" or a "DOWNGRADE" (in all caps), please read what was posted or do a basic google search.
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Old Aug 29, 18, 11:52 am
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Originally Posted by hockeyinsider View Post
Technically, my original booking was for a "premium" ocean view whereas the monetized "upgrade" was for an ocean front room. I think this is more a case of Marriott or the property, which is Marriott-managed unlike many domestic Marriott properties, playing games with the names of room categories.

Basically, at the Marriott Waikiki Beach, ocean front rooms are the last room at the end of the hallway corridor whereas the "premium" ocean view rooms can be the neighboring room or a couple rooms past there down the hallway corridor.

In my experience, I've almost always been upgraded as a platinum-premier (and now as a platinum premier ambassador) to a junior suite, which has always been in the same location as the ocean front room. The only time I didn't get a junior suite was when I received a two-room suite with wet bar on the top floor that had amazing views of Diamond Head and partial views of the ocean. So, some or all of these ocean front rooms are also junior suites. However, I don't know if there is really any difference because the junior suites that I've had have looked about the same size as a regular room but had a full sofa. One had a coffee table, the other didn't.

I could imagine elite status upgrades at this property will be difficult in high season because of the "upgrade" monetization scheme.

But it's worth checking your reservations. Hopefully, others will contribute similar monetization experiences to this thread.

Not sure what the difference is at this hotel between the ocean front room and the ocean front junior suite. I've stayed in pretty much all the junior suites and suspect that the ocean front rooms might be on the lower floors as I think about it. Perhaps they are at the end of the corridor but not as big ... just the chair and no room for the sofa.

But the same program that gives the upgrade offer is used at Hilton and I've seen it at a couple of other legacy Marriott properties. I believe it is in use at most SPG properties since I saw this on a recent legacy SPG property. But, its a little like DL and AA selling upgrades to non-elites. It reduces the opportunity for upgrades but suites and F/J are there to sell -- not just to give away.

And while this property is very good on upgrades having stayed there dozens of times, they do occasionally sell out suites or types of suites -- king vs two beds -- particularly during peak season and when you have a multi-day stay. They are very good however about playing tetris/juggling rooms to make something work. GM's at that property are very engaged, the rooms managers are looking to take care of elites, etc. I was thinking about whether I should see if my ambassador could do something or using my new SNA's but decided to wait and see if things had changed at this property for the worse -- they haven't. Now ... if those drink coupons still work
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Old Aug 30, 18, 9:56 am
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Originally Posted by C17PSGR View Post
And while this property is very good on upgrades having stayed there dozens of times, they do occasionally sell out suites or types of suites -- king vs two beds -- particularly during peak season and when you have a multi-day stay. They are very good however about playing tetris/juggling rooms to make something work. GM's at that property are very engaged, the rooms managers are looking to take care of elites, etc. I was thinking about whether I should see if my ambassador could do something or using my new SNA's but decided to wait and see if things had changed at this property for the worse -- they haven't. Now ... if those drink coupons still work
Probably because it's actually managed by Marriott as opposed to a third-party management company.
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Old Aug 30, 18, 2:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Beltway2A View Post
OP booked a "premium ocean view" room and was offered an upgrade to an "ocean front" room, one category higher. Before calling something "disgusting", "fraud" or a "DOWNGRADE" (in all caps), please read what was posted or do a basic google search.
Sorry, but I missed the distinction between ocean view and ocean front, thinking that a premium room would be better than a nonpremium room that doesn't have any other superlative word in its category name.
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Old Aug 30, 18, 3:14 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Sorry, but I missed the distinction between ocean view and ocean front, thinking that a premium room would be better than a nonpremium room that doesn't have any other superlative word in its category name.
This is one of those properties that has about a dozen room categories, including two different towers, and it's very difficult to tell in some cases whether a given type is better than another.
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Old Aug 31, 18, 12:06 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Sorry, but I missed the distinction between ocean view and ocean front, thinking that a premium room would be better than a nonpremium room that doesn't have any other superlative word in its category name.
You would think. I arrived today and the front desk told me what the Marriott booking channels call "premium" the front desk actually calls "deluxe," which only further adds to the confusion. I'm sure someone in revenue management decided "premium" increases the bottom line more than "deluxe."
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Old Aug 31, 18, 12:11 am
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
This is one of those properties that has about a dozen room categories, including two different towers, and it's very difficult to tell in some cases whether a given type is better than another.
In the tower closest to the ocean and beach on the upper floors, all of the rooms ending in 31 and 32 are either ocean front rooms or ocean front junior suites. On these same floors, rooms ending in 12 are two-room suites with a double lanai (balcony) and amazing views of Diamond Head. Rooms ending in 17 also appear to be a junior suite. Rooms ending in 03 and 05 are also suites, but city view suites.
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