When everyone is “special”, is anyone actually special?
Marriott Bonvoy launched in 2018 with much promise in the wake of the merger between Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott, with an exciting new program that retained much of the delight for frequent guests.
But as pundits feared, over time, Marriott’s leadership has made conscious choices to water down the “elite” experience to keep the hotel owners, rather than hotel guests, happy.
The latest diversion from expectation is one that’s nothing short of laughable. It takes 50 nights to achieve Marriott Platinum status in a year and even more for Titanium or Ambassador, but no matter how many nights you stay, there’s now no guarantee that all that loyalty will even get you coffee, tea or juice for breakfast.
Marriott Properties Balking On Breakfast
It comes as surprise to some that Marriott, the big company based in Maryland doesn’t actually own most of the hotels around the world bearing its name, or the names of any of its brands like Ritz Carlton, or JW Marriott.
In reality, most hotels are owned independently by real estate groups, and Marriott is just a hotel management company that provides “standards”, pillows and ultimately, huge marketing reach.
It’s a tap *most* hotel owners want on, since millions of potential hotel customers are instantly plugged in to the property, versus going it alone as an independent hotel. You stand out right away. But lately, hotel owners have been on a crusade to cut costs, and giving out “free” breakfast to frequent guests is the latest tirade.
They want the reach of these loyalty programs, but they don’t want to pay for it.
View From The Wing notes an incredible story of a Marriott Luxury Collection Hotel in Vail, Colorado screwing elite guests out of coffee, tea or juice. If they’d like to convert their long term loyalty into coffee, tea, or juice, they can pay an $18 supplement, rather than the $42 others pay. Wow, geez, thanks. Unfortunately, they’re not alone.
If Platinum, Titanium or Ambassador guests don’t want to pay, there’s no coffee, tea or juice with their breakfast included. L-O-L.
Hotels Are Playing A Dumb Game
Honestly, what the f**k is the cost basis to a hotel for a pot of coffee? I buy expensive beans, own my own grinder, use a V60 filter and I’m still at a cost basis well under $1 per cup, without any scale to bring discounts.
There are plenty of issues in the world to stake your business on, but this is among the most illogical I’ve ever heard. I will actively avoid DiamondRock owned hotels based on their continued desire to f**k customers in any way possible.
See also: Marriott’s CEO basically agreeing with these clowns.
Unfortunately, this egregious move is far from isolated. I wrote recently that hotels are playing a very dumb game right now, and that it’s only fueling the rise of Airbnb and other sharing economy platforms.
I’ve spent more than $20,000 on lodging in 2022 thus far, and more than $15,000 of that has gone to sharing economy lodging operations. That’s a larger share than any previous year, and with each sub-par hotel experience, that needle will continue to shift.
Hotels are trying to skimp on cleaning, service and breakfast while Airbnb’s, VRBO’s and other sharing platforms go from basic lodging to clever concierge services. They are two curves moving inversely, rapidly shifting the hotel landscape.
If Marriott Bonvoy continues to allow greedy hotel owners to diminish the value of its Bonvoy Loyalty Program, there may be no place left in the marketplace for Marriott, or these hotels which hold hilarious contempt for the guests who fill their rooms.
A sad day in hotel loyalty, for sure.