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Name Change Coming to the Combined MR & SPG Programs

Name Change Coming to the Combined MR & SPG Programs

 
Old Apr 5, 18, 10:47 pm
  #1  
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Name Change Coming to the Combined MR & SPG Programs

(Searched but did not see this posted. Moderators please merge if I missed it.)

In an interview Arne Sorenson had with Hotel News Now, he states that they will be bringing the two programs (MR & SPG) together in the second half of this year and he hopes to have a new name to launch the combined program very early next year. He also states they will be saying more about the new program in the near term. But more interesting perhaps is Arne's statement, "What we think we can do is deliver more value to our guests at more cost effective terms to hotel owners and drive a loyalty program that is second to none." The full interview can be found here: Arne Sorenson on Loyalty Integration and Innovation

So let the speculation begin! What will be the new name of the combined MR + SPG program? What does Arne Sorenson mean by more value to our guests, at more cost effective terms to hotel owners? Increased contributions from Marriott International? Better benefits? Benefit cuts? Points devaluation?


Regards,

RIP...
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Old Apr 5, 18, 11:23 pm
  #2  
 
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This sounds like an “enhancement” to me. It’s hard to imagine any changes that both property owners and members will like.

I just hope they don’t harm travel packages.
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Old Apr 6, 18, 1:03 am
  #3  
 
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Instinctively it's just spin! I mean to say they hope to have a name by next year, surely the name isn't that difficult to figure out. I get the feeling it will be a slow introduction of changes and 'enhancements' with the aim being that people get used to a cut here before the next cut there. It would be nice to think they will try and recognise the top tier more once combined and split things up rather than thro most resources at the lower end. Hilton recently took a step in that direction but I have yet to witness anything from Marriott that shows me they have out of the box thinking.

Equally to counter that I would say they have taken their time and not rushed in so there is maybe some hope!

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Old Apr 6, 18, 6:15 am
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by 1120 View Post
This sounds like an “enhancement” to me. It’s hard to imagine any changes that both property owners and members will like.
Yikes! We know what “enhancement” means in Marriott speak.
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Old Apr 6, 18, 6:21 am
  #5  
soy
 
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Not sure this bodes well. Value for the guest is very subjective and they can do all sorts of nonsense in the name of value for the guest (for example getting rid of desks in Marriott rooms). On the other hand being more cost effective for the owners is a lot more measurable. I expect the new program to be worse. I doubt the travel packages survive and there is no way they keep SPG's airline transfer arrangements. I think we end up with something like Hilton have
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Old Apr 6, 18, 6:51 am
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by soy View Post
Not sure this bodes well. Value for the guest is very subjective and they can do all sorts of nonsense in the name of value for the guest (for example getting rid of desks in Marriott rooms). On the other hand being more cost effective for the owners is a lot more measurable. I expect the new program to be worse. I doubt the travel packages survive and there is no way they keep SPG's airline transfer arrangements. I think we end up with something like Hilton have
1+
I believe Marriott will go the kind of road Hyatt took when it went from, in my opinion, very good Gold Passport to the World of Hyatt program. They destroyed their own program so badly and many of its customers left.
Including myself and I went 100% spg.

I've to say I'm not looking forward to the changes. I'm pessimistic and I'll enjoy my time with spg as much as I can.
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Old Apr 6, 18, 7:30 am
  #7  
 
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"... a loyalty program that is second to none ..."

I like this verbiage because it can be interpreted in so many ways that Starriott can do anything they like and still keep word.

To my best believe, this current dual program is industry leading when it comes to earning potential and spending options. Granted it isn't easy to keep abreast of all the fine nuances in the two programs but there's so much in them for the traveller that it will be hard to beat with a new program, however nice sounding the name may be.

If "second to none" would be read in a negative sense, there is a lot of ground to cover for Starriott. Just think of these on site benefits only hotel programs where loyal travellers receive two free bottles of water after their third stay...

Regarding airline transfers: I don't think that they are terrible value for hotel owners. The owners pay money for the points they give to travellers but aren't struck with low yield corporate reimbursement for reward stays. From a corporate perspective (Starriott/Airlines) this is very much a numbers game which seems to work out alright for both sides at present.
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Old Apr 6, 18, 10:19 am
  #8  
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Yes, there are lots of options here and good or bad will depend upon your use of the system. Loyalty programs have always had that aspect with everyone wanting something a bit different than the next. Given there will be options to choose another program, IF it's better for my travel plans, I'm not going to fret over what happens. I am single digit away from LTP in both plans and would hate to lose either, but I'm not making the decisions.

As for name, as I started using months ago: MPG is my guess for the new name.
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Old Apr 6, 18, 10:58 am
  #9  
 
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Loyalty programs have two main components: The "earn and burn" component (collecting and using points), and the "VIP" component (upgrades, welcome gifts, lounge access, breakfast, faster internet, various guarantees, and being made to feel valued).

The current name "Marriott Rewards" is all about the former. The name emphasizes collecting points to get "rewards." Although Marriott provides a portfolio of elite benefits, especially at five of its full-service brands, there's typically very little direct recognition, beyond the question (to Platinum guests) at checkin, "Ya want the points or the $10 credit?" and perhaps, "Thank you for being a Platinum member." Sometimes I get a key card that says "Elite" on it.

The current name "Starwood Preferred Guest" is all about being a VIP. I have much less personal experience with Starwood properties than with Marriott, but even when I only had Gold status, the front desk would treat me like a VIP. It was inconsistent, but, more often than not, I would get benefits beyond the published benefits. It seems to me that Starwood has a culture of valuing guests who have any sort of elite status -- and making them feel valued.

Even though SPG's "earn and burn" is inferior to that of Marriott Rewards for most guests, SPG members here at FlyerTalk value the SPG program. Many have been very concerned ever since Marriott announced its acquisition Starwood.

Perhaps we'll get Marriott Preferred Guest, which would be a nice nod to SPG members, along with trying to bring the Starwood culture to the new program,

Perhaps Marriott will dust off it's old loyalty program name, Marriott Honored Guest.

Or perhaps they'll come up with something entirely new.

But, in any case, I think Marriott will eliminate "Rewards" from the program name, and Marriott will push the VIP angle more than in the past.
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Old Apr 6, 18, 11:01 am
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by soy View Post
I doubt the travel packages survive and there is no way they keep SPG's airline transfer arrangements. I think we end up with something like Hilton have
While Marriott's airline transfers are quite as numerous as SPG's, the number of points needed aren't that much worse (for what I will call Marriott tier one airlines) than SPG, considering 3:1. Way better than HHonors. Allows transfers to WN and much better ratio for UA.
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Old Apr 6, 18, 11:16 am
  #11  
 
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drive a loyalty program that is second to none.
i read it as soon there will be no other programs - they will buy and convert them all...
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Old Apr 6, 18, 11:19 am
  #12  
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Originally Posted by azepine00 View Post
i read it as soon there will be no other programs - they will buy and convert them all...
Now there's an idea... Create a single rewards network and earn/use your points across many chains/brands! Name it RPG, blowing up the traditional loyalty programs.
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Old Apr 6, 18, 11:23 am
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by OU812 View Post

But more interesting perhaps is Arne's statement, "What we think we can do is deliver more value to our guests at more cost effective terms to hotel owners and drive a loyalty program that is second to none." The full interview can be found here: Arne Sorenson on Loyalty Integration and Innovation

So let the speculation begin! What will be the new name of the combined MR + SPG program? What does Arne Sorenson mean by more value to our guests, at more cost effective terms to hotel owners? Increased contributions from Marriott International? Better benefits? Benefit cuts? Points devaluation?
.
Thanks for sharing. In the recent earnings call he stated:

"We lowered our loyalty programs' charge-out rate to owners in 2017 and again in January 2018, and we expect to further reduce charge-out rates as we harmonize our loyalty programs later this year."

https://seekingalpha.com/article/414...answer-session

Originally Posted by Horace View Post
The current name "Starwood Preferred Guest" is all about being a VIP. I have much less personal experience with Starwood properties than with Marriott, but even when I only had Gold status, the front desk would treat me like a VIP. It was inconsistent, but, more often than not, I would get benefits beyond the published benefits. It seems to me that Starwood has a culture of valuing guests who have any sort of elite status -- and making them feel valued.
I keep hearing that but with 100+ Marriott nights in 2017 and 30ish SPG nights in 2017, I'm still trying to figure out what that VIP experience means

No matter what program, I was thanked for being a Plat (and in some Marriott's a Plat Premier!). In all Marriott stays, I received all published benefits. I often received additional benefits including food sent to the room and handwritten notes from GM's. In at least a handful of stays, the check in agent called someone and the GM himself/herself or the MOD came out to chat with me to thank me for my business. In SPG stays, I often failed to receive published benefits -- particularly room upgrades that were obviously available. In a few cases, they seek to call a corner room a "suite" that would never be described as a suite at a Marriott to fake meeting the published benefit. I did not receive extra benefits in any SPG stay -- no managers ever came out to chat or sent notes/food/drinks to the room. And in the one case in the past two years where I contacted a GM to express focused concerns, I didn't receive a reply. It was a SPG hotel. So .,.. what is that VIP thing?

That being said, I've stayed in both Marriott and SPG properties with exceptional customer service in the past few weeks -- Marriott PVR, JW Marriott Marquis Miami, SLS LA, W Miami, to mention some. I've also had some lackluster customer service at expensive properties who don't seem to really care about published benefits or elite recognition including JW Cabo, W Scottsdale, Westin Tucson, Westin PVR. Its not really the program (although there is certainly more inconsistency on the SPG side), its really the GM and perhaps the franchise operator.

I'm concerned about what lowering the charge out rate means but hoping that the new program will provide better defined benefits for those of us who stay 75+ nights, target inconsistency, and penalize hotels that don't provide published benefits. I rarely receive Medallia surveys which suggests to me that maybe they just don't care ...
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Old Apr 6, 18, 12:53 pm
  #14  
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I'd be happy with "Marriott Preferred Guest". Earlier in the year, there was an interview with a Marriott exec where he clearly acknowledged that the SPG culture and loyalty had huge value. Hopefully they actually take that to heart.

Horace said it well upthread: those of us who like Marriott like it for the rewards, with the TP being the crown jewel. Kudos to Marriott for that: the TP is probably the crown jewel of all hotel awards across all programs (at least now, in 2018). Those of us who like Starwood like it for the VIP treatment and, to some extent, a long history of more creative/unique properties that also did different things for elites. Most brands are starting to catch up in terms of unique, upscale, boutique-type properties, but this has always been in Starwood's DNA, not a bolt-on like Autograph or Curio sometimes feel like.

Hopefully the new program retains as much of that Starwood DNA as possible. They've landed on an exchange rate that seems reasonably fair to both sets of members, so why should there be any reason to devalue the entire program? Combine the two, keep the best parts of both in place, migrate to one set of categories, and go forward. If you simply put the two category charts together, you'd have about 15 total levels (with the top two Starwood levels being just a few very unusual properties). That seems a little complicated for members, so maybe condense to 10-12 levels and *maybe* - if you must - squeeze a little "devaluation" out of the inevitable category creep. But leave C&P, Travel Packages, 5th Night Free, airline partners, and other key aspects of the program that the members love. There's no economic reason not to, given that the programs are successful and sustainable today.

If all of the hotel programs go the way of Hilton and Hyatt, the hotel equivalent of the ULCC - Priceline, Hotwire, etc. - begins to look more attractive. I really hope Marriott doesn't lead the market in this direction.
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Old Apr 6, 18, 1:04 pm
  #15  
 
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Originally Posted by C17PSGR View Post
I'm concerned about what lowering the charge out rate means but hoping that the new program will provide better defined benefits for those of us who stay 75+ nights...
It means that MR corporate is charging the hotel owners less for every guest dollar spent at their property. There's a fee structure that MR charges owners based on several factors. It appears that rising room rates are allowing MR corporate to achieve growing profits with the rewards program while slightly reducing the fee percentages charged to owners. It's a win-win: Hotel owners make more money, and MR corporate makes more money. All of this IMO should give us hope that Arne's statement "What we think we can do is deliver more value to our guests at more cost effective terms to hotel owners" might not imply significant benefit cuts with the combined program*.

*God only knows what might happen with an economic down-turn where average room rates drop.
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