Marriott Bonvoy - a brand explained

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Old Feb 18, 19, 12:14 pm
  #46  
 
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I've refrained from throwing in my two cents so far in this tread. It seemed to be devolving into yet another series of posts expressing dislike for the name Bonvoy. However, the post by WoodyWindy at the top if this thread is quite good, and there have been some interesting observations and questions in the replies.

My thoughts:

The ship has sailed. The brand name for Marriott's loyalty program is Marriott Bonvoy, whether anyone likes it or not.

Every day, we encounter hundreds of brand names that have meaning to us. They could have started as family surnames, portmanteaus, acronyms, foreign words, completely made-up words, and words used differently than their traditional meanings. They have become meaningful (and positive or negative) over the years. It's easy to order from Amazon. We might dread phoning Comcast customer service, but Comcast's Xfinity technology is great when it works. Friends don't let friends fly Spirit. Normally, we don't dissect the brand name itself.

SPG became a meaningful brand, but not because the combination of these letters was inherently positive or because of the underlying meaning of the acronym.

The old name, Marriott Rewards, needed to replaced for a number of reasons.

The term Rewards is so generic. Wyndham Rewards. Best Western Rewards. Marriott Rewards. The Ritz-Carlton Rewards. Because it's so generic, only the company name matters. If you look a the Marriott Bonvoy logo, Marriott is smaller and Bonvoy is larger. The identify of the new loyalty program is Bonvoy, although Marriott is on the logo too.

A good loyalty program provides recognition, especially for its best customers, and it allows members to collect and redeem points. A brand name that only relates to one these two components is inherently flawed. Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards were both flawed.

Combining three major programs really is a big change. Marketing the program with a new brand name makes sense.

Some people will never like the name Bonvoy. But most people will care a lot more about whether it's a good program than a good name.

Personally, I have nothing against the name Bonvoy.

Last edited by Horace; Feb 18, 19 at 12:25 pm
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Old Feb 18, 19, 1:10 pm
  #47  
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The name choice strikes me as a group that is not paying attention to detail. It means "goodbye". It means a journey, not a destination. A hotel group name should imply "hello" or "welcome" or "luxury" or "consistency"... the things you want in a hotel group. Just plain wrong.

Hopefully their properties and the people running them pay more attention to detail as the folks who chose the name did. Or maybe they did this just to set up an ad campaign about how stupid their name is and make fun of themselves. "Funny name... great hotels" would be the slogan then.

I'd like the name more if they make the app alert you, "Breaker 1-9, we have Bonvoy point posting in your account, partner".
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Old Feb 18, 19, 1:22 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyBitcoin View Post
The name choice strikes me as a group that is not paying attention to detail. It means "goodbye". It means a journey, not a destination. A hotel group name should imply "hello" or "welcome" or "luxury" or "consistency"... the things you want in a hotel group. Just plain wrong.

.
Amazon refers to a jungle region of Brazil. I'd guess the average American might not know that

Lots of names aren't literal. In this case, most people will get there's something sort of French ... which implies classy and sophisticated (except for perhaps random CGT strikes or gilets jaunes protests). And its something about good travels.

May we all have good travels with Marriott.
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Old Feb 18, 19, 1:33 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyBitcoin View Post
The name choice strikes me as a group that is not paying attention to detail. It means "goodbye". It means a journey, not a destination. A hotel group name should imply "hello" or "welcome" or "luxury" or "consistency"... the things you want in a hotel group. Just plain wrong.

Hopefully their properties and the people running them pay more attention to detail as the folks who chose the name did. Or maybe they did this just to set up an ad campaign about how stupid their name is and make fun of themselves. "Funny name... great hotels" would be the slogan then.

I'd like the name more if they make the app alert you, "Breaker 1-9, we have Bonvoy point posting in your account, partner".
I agree.

I would have called it "welcum"...that would have signified the importance of getting there...
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Old Feb 18, 19, 1:58 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyBitcoin View Post
The name choice strikes me as a group that is not paying attention to detail. It means "goodbye". It means a journey, not a destination. A hotel group name should imply "hello" or "welcome" or "luxury" or "consistency"... the things you want in a hotel group. Just plain wrong.
No, Bon Voyage means Have a Good Trip. Bon Voy would translate to Good See. Not goodbye. The French would say Au revoir, which is also not literally goodbye. Maybe this is why everyone thinks the name doesn't fit. But Bonvoy is a nonsense word meant to capture the "good trip" emotion I think.

I suspect Marriott is trying to suggest that they'll be a positive influence on your trip, whether for business or leisure. I guess I'd get a chuckle if all the angst about the name is because people think it means goodbye!

Do you feel slightly better about the name with the correct translation? I still think it's a dumb name, partly because it's not even a real word. At least Amazon is a real word, not just a rainforest in South America...oh yeah and that other thing too.
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Old Feb 18, 19, 4:01 pm
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Apologies as I did not read every page, but these sort of names have a tendency to establish themselves due to them not being a real word. I worked for Cadbury / Dr Pepper for a bit. Cadbury jettisoned the beverages, combined with the cheese company, then they split off the sweet snacks. New name, Mondelez. Real word - No. Allusion to real word - mon for earth, lez for candy / sweets. World of Sweets?

Would think sales pitch for BonVoy means simply - Good Trip. HHonors implies a reward, as does AAdvantage. I imagine Marriott may ultimately end up with a BonVoy Rewards by Marriott type name.
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Old Feb 18, 19, 4:10 pm
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Originally Posted by flown-the-coop View Post
Apologies as I did not read every page, but these sort of names have a tendency to establish themselves due to them not being a real word.
Fair point, but maybe more applicable to a company name, as they're often named after people or combined words...Wrigley or Amoco as examples. And of course Marriott is a name too. But for a loyalty or rewards program, it probably does make sense to mean something so people who aren't currently in the program understand. Marriott Rewards was pretty clear if you were looking to start accumulating hotel points. Bonvoy is not at all. But Bon Voyage might be even worse as a loyalty program name.

In the end, the name doesn't matter really. Just give me some points and lounge access and I'm happy.
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Old Feb 18, 19, 4:28 pm
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Even something like Marriott Destinations would have been an order of magnitude better than this odd two-syllable invented word that has no English roots and precious little French roots left.

The days when Marriott actually considered the associates and the guests are long gone. It's all about moar money. And moar. And moar.
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Old Feb 18, 19, 4:36 pm
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Whatever the literal translation may be, many customers probably recognize "Bon Voyage" pertaining to departure, more likely than not, on a cruise ship. If they like French, then a derivation of "Arrivee" or "maison" would have been better. Hotels are about looking forward to a welcoming arrival and feeling at home. Hotels do not move like a plane, train, ship or car. It is a destination, more than it is the act of traveling itself.

Thanks for the Mondelez reminder. Bonvoy is not as bad as Mondelez, I will give them that. And at least they did not go so far to rename the whole company and stock ticker "Bonvoy".

Amazon made sense right from the start. They intended on creating a vast network that touched almost every part of commerce. As important to ecommerce as the river is to Brazil. And it had the three syllables representing the beginning, middle and end of the alphabet. A M Z. An overly ambitious name back in 1999, but a great metaphorical name.
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Old Feb 18, 19, 4:53 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyBitcoin View Post
Whatever the literal translation may be, many customers probably recognize "Bon Voyage" pertaining to departure, more likely than not, on a cruise ship. If they like French, then a derivation of "Arrivee" or "maison" would have been better. Hotels are about looking forward to a welcoming arrival and feeling at home. Hotels do not move like a plane, train, ship or car. It is a destination, more than it is the act of traveling itself.
Having never been on a cruise, I wouldn't associate a common term for having an enjoyable journey with a ship. Marriott wants to be part of the enjoyable journey and is part of the travel.

Its a word where the average English, Spanish, German, French, Italian speaker will understand it has something to do with good travel. Using the most accurate word when using a foreign word in advertising may not be easily understood. For example, I don't believe the average English speaker understands "maison." And ... if Marriott had used some version of "Arrivee," people on FT would be complaining that it's not about the arrival, its about the stay. Of course, if we're being literal, voyage does not mean departure when translated from French to English.

And if Marriott wants to build a theme that they want to be part of a great trip, a good journey, or however else you want to translate it, while providing a level of international sophistication, I'm all for it. Plus, if the name break gets properties to focus on the T&C associated with the program and train their staff, I'm all for that too.
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Old Feb 18, 19, 5:25 pm
  #56  
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I guess when you take the meaning as the English definition and not the French root, Bonvoy(age) can confuse those who speak English as a native tongue...
From Merriam-Webster:

voyage

noun
voy·​age \ ˈvȯi-ij , ˈvȯ(-)ij\

Definition of voyage

1: an act or instance of traveling : JOURNEY
2: a course or period of traveling by other than land routes: a long sea voyage
3: an account of a journey especially by sea
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Old Feb 19, 19, 7:03 am
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Originally Posted by FlyBitcoin View Post
I guess when you take the meaning as the English definition and not the French root, Bonvoy(age) can confuse those who speak English as a native tongue...
From Merriam-Webster:

voyage

noun
voy·​age \ ˈvȯi-ij , ˈvȯ(-)ij\

Definition of voyage

1: an act or instance of traveling : JOURNEY
2: a course or period of traveling by other than land routes: a long sea voyage
3: an account of a journey especially by sea
Yeah, it may be more associated with a sea voyage here in the US. Here's another interesting angle (and I'm only a basic French speaker after 3 years of study )...
Bon = Good
Appetit = Appetite

When you put these two words together, Bon appetit is translated as "Enjoy your meal". So maybe there's an association with Bon voyage as "Enjoy your journey/trip" for those of us who aren't fluent? "Enjoy your journey" certainly seems like a good tag line for a hotel. Still, they cut off voyage to voy, which just makes it weird, but I suppose catchier. Perhaps the consultants and focus groups told them to cut it off because Bon Voyage seemed like "goodbye" to some people?
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Old Feb 19, 19, 7:56 am
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Originally Posted by JBord View Post
Yeah, it may be more associated with a sea voyage here in the US. Here's another interesting angle (and I'm only a basic French speaker after 3 years of study )...
Bon = Good
Appetit = Appetite

When you put these two words together, Bon appetit is translated as "Enjoy your meal". So maybe there's an association with Bon voyage as "Enjoy your journey/trip" for those of us who aren't fluent? "Enjoy your journey" certainly seems like a good tag line for a hotel. Still, they cut off voyage to voy, which just makes it weird, but I suppose catchier. Perhaps the consultants and focus groups told them to cut it off because Bon Voyage seemed like "goodbye" to some people?
Trademarking is much more difficult with existing words than with new words.
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Old Feb 19, 19, 11:39 pm
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Originally Posted by C17PSGR View Post
That being said, I don't think the people at Marriott involved in program design, the website, promotions, actually travel. If they did, many of these issues would be obvious. If they had a focus group of travelers, it would also be obvious.
I've often said that if CEOs had to actually use the systems and policies they promulgate, these systems and policies would be replaced immediately.

Originally Posted by margarita girl View Post
Since the reaction of 90-95% of the people on FT was something along the lines of "barf", I think they should have spent some money on focus groups. Obviously their marketing department is completely clued out as to what resonates with their most loyal customers.

And the fact that their customers are ridiculing the name, speaks volumes.
Marriott reminds me much of an old employer I worked for. The new marketing guy insisted that our core customer was a 25-34 year old male and insisted we cater and tailor our product to that group. Anyone with a working eye could see that our core customer (by both population & spend) were males >55 years old. The guys in my department set up a camera and we did our own statistical counts from what we saw. The marketing guy refused to believe our results, citing that they paid thousands to some research firm and that's where they came up with the number. How did the research firm get their data? QR code surveys. ::facepalm::

Marriott's too focused on chasing the elusive millennial rather than taking care of the people who are actually giving them business. As an old machinist told me, "You've got to work with the tools you've got, not the ones you wish you had.", albeit he said it with much saltier language.

From the non-working insiders page, it appears to be The Lacek Group, a Minneapolis based "customer-engagement agency that develops marketing solutions at the intersection of brands, data insights, and creativity.
Duly noted. I know who I won't be hiring.
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Old Feb 20, 19, 11:08 am
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Originally Posted by JBord View Post
Perhaps the consultants and focus groups told them to cut it off because Bon Voyage seemed like "goodbye" to some people?
No doubt because some people here learned it from the movies with the old transport ship pulling away from the pier while the family left behind says Bon Voyage! So some people think it means goodbye when it means "good journey". "Some" people don't like change. Most people, who are not posting here, will CARE LESS what the name of a rewards program is. It's a play on good journey which seems Okay to me.
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Last edited by hhoope01; Feb 20, 19 at 11:48 am Reason: Removed references to specific groups of FT Posters.
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