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Marriott CEO Asks Unhappy Members To Hold Tight, Platform Is Stabilized

Marriott CEO Asks Unhappy Members To Hold Tight, Platform Is Stabilized

Old Sep 29, 18, 3:13 pm
  #1  
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"Hang with us" or "Expect Better"

"Hang with us" or "Expect Better"...I know which I'm going to do. Nothing is forever and the pendulum is always swinging on loyalty programs, but the messaging out of Marriott right now is absurd. "Hang with us" 40 days in to a disorganized mess with no clear end in site doesn't excite me in any way about the new Marriott. For the rest of this year and 2019 I'm going to jump ship and shift stays over to Hilton. No idea how their promises will pan out, but at least "expect better" is a nod to the value of customer expectations (and trying to exceed them).
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Old Sep 29, 18, 10:38 pm
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Marriott CEO Asks Unhappy Members To Hold Tight, Platform Is Stabilized

Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson was interviewed by Skift this week and he opened about issues surrounding the programs merger that has plagued many of our readers.

Marriott CEO Remember when Sorenson called SPG members rabid – raving mad (read more here)? Well. At least the CEO is admitting that there are issues with the platform that still hasn’t been resolved.

You can access the Skift article here of which below is an excerpt:

“To watch that from the inside is like watching sausage being made; it’s not pretty,” he said. “We increasingly got to a place where the platform is stabilized, working for our customers. We are really interested and eager to see the results of that now over the next few months, but there’s a lot of work yet to be done.”

“When you look at the program from a credit card perspective or points earned or elite status, yes, there are some changes that are not loved,” he said. But, urging those who aren’t happy to “hang with us,” he pointed out that members now have more places to earn points, a better range of products, and a bigger selection of places where they can redeem points.

“I think people are going to love this on both sides,” he said.
Conclusion

Mediocrity and incompetence usually start at the top and then diffuse down within an organization.

It is now more than 40 days since the programs were merged and they are just now getting to a place where the platform is stabilized? Shouldn’t they have made sure that they are in a place where the platform is stable at the TIME when the programs were combined? I just don’t get it.

Sorenson asks members who are not happy to hang with them. I guess that he is not aware of the fact that there are hotels and alternate accommodation providers that are happy to take their business that have stabilized platforms and customer service in place NOW?

Arne Sorenson was interviewed by Skift this week and he opened about issues surrounding the programs
merger that has plagued many of our readers.

https://loyaltylobby.com/2018/09/29/...d/?omhide=true
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Old Sep 30, 18, 8:25 am
  #3  
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Sounds like a guy who thinks and acts like a monopolist, and that consumers don't have any choice...
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Old Sep 30, 18, 9:00 am
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Dear Mr. Sorenson, it's so great to finally understand how the top managment of Marriot does like and think about the former loyal SPG guests.
Seems like this is the way you thinkk and like to talk to us. Yes, I was really loayal to SPG and I really had a great time with them. Thanks you SPG.

Keep in mind the homepage of a booking platform or App is the most important instrument for a Hotel Chain. Usually pages like the "new" one
are called Fake-Site/Phising/SCAM and would be removed and banned from my PC.

I wish you all the best in China and I'm sure, you will be very successful as a US company in the near future in China.
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Old Sep 30, 18, 9:25 am
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Honestly, I have been able to accomplish all that I needed during transition. Frustrating that its taken multiple calls etc, The real problem now is that SPG is still separate in that SPG awards go to the SPG website. I have to talk to SPG reps and can't do point advance.
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Old Sep 30, 18, 9:29 am
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No one whose Rewards # begins with zero can make a reservation at an SPG property. That X% of properties that are off the table for Y% of frequent customers. I don't know what X × Y is, but I'd guess it's around 5%.

(Fix apparently hoped for in December, BTW.)

That's one heck of a definition of "stable."
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Old Sep 30, 18, 10:24 am
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I got his point from a business perspective, but I still can't understand why he thinks customers will and should wait for them to fix the problems. If things doesn't work, particularly for those who are on business, they will just find alternative solutions to get things work.

Also, I'm point-obsessed, then so what? It's a form of indication of how a chain value my business. I want to bank my business with a chain that treasure my loyalty. It need not to be in the form of points. Of course he has all the rights to adjust the point scale, but it's his / Marriott's overall attitude that annoyed us the legacy SPG members most I guess, at least I am.

All things aside, up till now I still can't see how they value SPG members in the merger. To them it's like "yeah we've added few thousands hotel into the chain for our Marriott members" and "SPG members? Who are they?"
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Old Sep 30, 18, 10:46 am
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Originally Posted by PlatinumScum View Post
No one whose Rewards # begins with zero can make a reservation at an SPG property. That X% of properties that are off the table for Y% of frequent customers. I don't know what X × Y is, but I'd guess it's around 5%.
That's a start of a good question. A better one might be, 'What fraction of Marriott + Starwood bookings in the last three years were made by SPG members who now have an account that begins with zero who made those bookings directly?' If it's a large fraction one can be sure they're working on it diligently for Marriott's benefit as well as owner/operators and guests.

The little bubble that is FlyerTalk/SPG seems to be blocking oxygen to the brain. All the hyperbole... yeh, crisis management consultants. Nobody took a cyanide-laced Tylenol tablet here.
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Old Sep 30, 18, 10:47 am
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Good to see the CEO admitting that things have been a mess in the past 6 weeks. Now ... hang in tight is IMO not enough. Marriott needs to think hard about how they can re-install the confidence they need in their 'loyal' customer basis. There are plenty of good ideas that don't cost much ...
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Old Sep 30, 18, 10:59 am
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Originally Posted by cfischer View Post
Good to see the CEO admitting that things have been a mess in the past 6 weeks. Now ... hang in tight is IMO not enough. Marriott needs to think hard about how they can re-install the confidence they need in their 'loyal' customer basis. There are plenty of good ideas that don't cost much ...
My guess in their minds: We are such a large part of the market now so we don't have to do anything. The sad part about those that walk away, there's very little visibility of this being a result of the merger flub. I think all those that have walked should collect their folios write across them "LOST REVENUE" and send them to Arne. He might have someone total them up and choose to do something for the members, both those that left and those still here.
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Old Sep 30, 18, 11:17 am
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They are just adamant about NOT saying what should be the first words in service recovery “We goofed up and are sorry “. Could it be that top mangers , hoping that the microscope is not turned on them , are telling Arne that everything is stable ? Who knows , but 2 old adages are true 1. It is easier to keep a customer than to recruit a new one 2. If you ignore your customers , they will go away .
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Old Sep 30, 18, 11:21 am
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Originally Posted by PlatinumScum View Post
No one whose Rewards # begins with zero can make a reservation at an SPG property. That X% of properties that are off the table for Y% of frequent customers. I don't know what X × Y is, but I'd guess it's around 5%.

(Fix apparently hoped for in December, BTW.)

That's one heck of a definition of "stable."
As a legacy MR member, I have the opposite problem. The app usually only shows legacy SPG properties which can, of course, be few and far between.

But yes ... both the app and website are barely usable. Curious what the next 10Q will report about this in terms of forward reservations. Certainly, they identified this at a possible issue in the last 10Q/10K
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Old Sep 30, 18, 11:48 am
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Originally Posted by PlatinumScum View Post
No one whose Rewards # begins with zero can make a reservation at an SPG property. That X% of properties that are off the table for Y% of frequent customers. I don't know what X × Y is, but I'd guess it's around 5%.

(Fix apparently hoped for in December, BTW.)

That's one heck of a definition of "stable."

Well, that explains me... I am 008...
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Old Sep 30, 18, 1:38 pm
  #14  
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I'm not seeing any softness in rates when making bookings. Marriott still seems to be commanding the same premium over Hyatt/Hilton in many markets that I was used to seeing prior to 8/18.
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Old Sep 30, 18, 7:33 pm
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On property everything is generally running smoothly and the merger a reasonable win... Off property a disaster. I had a CS agent email me yesterday how to book a room online when I emailed a question about a specific property. ...? Another yesterday emailed me nonsense too when I asked about missing points.

​i will give a few more months as stays On property nice. But it seems to me at top level there was little foresight and poor planning, from timing of merger to lack of CS for what clearly would be a difficult transition time even if IT was ok.

Again the problem is not IT as that was not intentional... It is everything else that Marriott was woefully unprepared for.

Last edited by SHLTP; Sep 30, 18 at 7:42 pm
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