Disappointing Perspective Of Marriott’s New CEO

Disappointing Perspective Of Marriott’s New CEO

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The things we’re hearing from CEOs in the hotel industry don’t make me very excited about the direction things are headed. Hilton’s CEO has made it clear that coronavirus related service cuts are largely permanent, as hotels will become higher margin. The CEO of a hotel investment firm has stated that he wants guests to tip more if they want decent service, rather than raise wages.

Marriott’s recently appointed CEO had an interview with Scott Mayerowitz, and the things he says sure don’t make me want to stay at a Marriott. I’m not sure if I should be disappointed by what Anthony Capuano is saying, or if I should be impressed by his honesty in telling us what we don’t want to hear. I wanted to highlight a couple of the comments that I found most telling.

Marriott Bonvoy isn’t great, and that’s fine

There’s no denying that since Marriott took over Starwood, there has been a lot of frustration among former Starwood Preferred Guest loyalists, given what a superior loyalty program it was. Over five years into the merger, how does Capuano feel that Bonvoy is doing?

“I think we’ve made terrific progress. The integration of Marriott Rewards and SPG was a monumental task. And it’s quite interesting. You hear SPG loyalists say, ‘My goodness, what have you done to our program?’ The program was very guest-friendly. It was less owner-friendly. What some of those SPG loyalists may have lost, a bit, in terms of the richness of the program, we hope that breadth of choice, whether it be brands or geography, is a bit of a mitigating factor.”

Furthermore, as Capuano sees it:

  • Guests should have a more “emotional” connection with Bonvoy; that’s typically a polite way to tell people not to expect a lot
  • With Marriott now being the world’s largest hotel brand, the company has the freedom to tip the scales more towards owners rather than guests
  • Many big decisions are unsolvable, as he needs to consider guests, associates, owners, and Marriott shareholders, to find the right balance

Here’s my take on this:

  • Unfortunately this doesn’t come as a surprise — at the end of the day, Marriott’s customers are hotel investors, and guests are just the product being sold
  • While I usually appreciate honesty among hotel executives (rather than a devaluation being spun as an “enhancement”), I feel like this takes it a step too far — why would a CEO openly admit that a program has gone from being “very guest-friendly” to “owner-friendly?”
  • I suspect many SPG loyalists would disagree with Capuano suggesting that the breadth of choice has made up for the loss in the “richness of the program” — those of us who were loyal to SPG clearly cared about a good loyalty program, and not about staying with the world’s largest hotel group, or else we would have been Marriott Rewards loyalists to begin with
Marriott’s CEO acknowledges former SPG loyalists aren’t happy

Marriott guests have short memory

Capuano was asked about general Marriott brand standards, as many hotel guests are once again expecting pre-coronavirus service levels, but aren’t finding that to be the reality. It’s pretty clear that for many hotel groups, service will never return to pre-coronavirus levels — the cuts that were made in the name of safety will stick around to save costs.

For example, Hilton has even permanently eliminated daily housekeeping as a standard feature at most brands.

Here’s what Capuano has to say about Marriott’s brand standards, and hotels reinstating services:

“I just spent two days with my leadership team talking through a bunch of these issues. I’ve described this phenomenon as the friction that exists between the short memory of our guests and the long memory of our owners.

And because of our short memories, you want everything to be the way it was. You want the restaurant open the hours that it was open before. You want the spa open with all the treatment rooms and all the technicians available. You want full service at the pool. You want daily housekeeping. You want all those things. And, in a way, that’s good because it means our consumers are anxious to get back.

At the other end of the spectrum, our owners and franchisees have borne a disproportionate weight, from the impact of the pandemic. They’ve lost billions of dollars of revenue. Suggestions about getting back to ‘normal,’ they look at you like you have three heads and they say, ‘You’ve got to be more sensitive to the steep climb we have in front of us.’”

Seriously?!

  • So we should just feel bad for hotel owners, who “have borne a disproportionate weight” from the pandemic? Never mind the fact that the average person has also suffered quite a bit economically from the pandemic, and that hotels are largely owned by multi-billion dollar investment groups
  • Since guests apparently have “short memories,” we shouldn’t expect a return to pre-coronavirus service, but rather should let hotels continue to charge high prices and increase margins because they’ve had a rough 18 months?

It seems that the hotel industry’s strategy is to essentially collude on cutting services in order to lower guest expectations. If all hotels equally cut services, then the industry on the whole can increase margins, assuming people don’t have great alternatives.

Marriott’s CEO doesn’t think guests should expect pre-coronavirus service levels

Bottom line

Marriott’s new CEO seems pretty content with the status quo when it comes to Marriott Bonvoy and lackluster brand standards.

He believes that Marriott Bonvoy is “owner-friendly,” while Starwood Preferred Guest was more “guest-friendly,” and he’s happy with how that balance has changed. Furthermore, he thinks that guests have short memory, and should be forgiving of hotels offering lackluster service for a long time to come, as they make up for losses due to the pandemic.

I mean, we certainly can’t accuse Capuano of not being honest…

What do you make of the comments of Marriott’s new CEO?

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  1. Kala

    Don't fix it, if it's not broken!
    SPG wasn't!

  2. Angelina

    It's quite intriguing that the CEO is not using common sense. Yes, investors are their baby but if customers stop enjoying their experiences with Marriot pretty soon there will be nothing to invest in because families will stop vacationing at their hotels. All the reasons people vacation for he wants to reduce. That's ridiculous. We will not be staying at their hotels if there isn't daily housekeeping, open facilities convenient to the customer, no rewards...

    It's quite intriguing that the CEO is not using common sense. Yes, investors are their baby but if customers stop enjoying their experiences with Marriot pretty soon there will be nothing to invest in because families will stop vacationing at their hotels. All the reasons people vacation for he wants to reduce. That's ridiculous. We will not be staying at their hotels if there isn't daily housekeeping, open facilities convenient to the customer, no rewards or advantages. His honesty is gonna bite him in the butt, would have been better for him to not have said nothing at all.

  3. Bob

    The changes that I’d be interesting knowing about is the impact on hotel room pricing that occurred since Marriott ownership has escalated. In major urban areas, like San Franciso or NYC where the number of Marriott corporate properties has grown significantly, the nightly rate is now typically $300-400 or even higher, much higher than before. Monopolistic tendencies at play?

  4. Jim

    He's totally ok pissing off Bonvoy elite members. Hyatt and Hilton, here I come.

  5. Alyse

    These are interesting perspectives. From those with multiple brand experience, is there a hotel loyalty program you recommend for the leisure traveler?

  6. Deanie

    As a previous Guest Service Manager who started out with Marriott in the first 7 years of my hotel career and ended with Starwood in the last 3 years of my career well before the merger, I am jaw dropped. My loyalty remained several years before and after the merger as using Marriiott for my choice if stay because of the service. Loyalty is around the experience. I have had my fair share of stays...

    As a previous Guest Service Manager who started out with Marriott in the first 7 years of my hotel career and ended with Starwood in the last 3 years of my career well before the merger, I am jaw dropped. My loyalty remained several years before and after the merger as using Marriiott for my choice if stay because of the service. Loyalty is around the experience. I have had my fair share of stays at locations with the wonderful amenities and none if it matters when the service is sub par or worse. He is focused on the wrong thing.

  7. FlyerCO

    @Kevin - the properties are paid by Marriott when an award is redeemed. It's not like they just give the room away for free.

  8. Warren Paulin

    So, I'm a nobody. I have an issue that needs to be resolved thru the Marriott Group. Here's what happened. I emailed several different levels of management with regards to my problem. Within 12 hours I receive a PERSONAL response and within 24 hours my issue is resolved. Regardless of what is printed above, my personal experience was above and beyond what you would expect from a multi national corporation. Maybe you need some real...

    So, I'm a nobody. I have an issue that needs to be resolved thru the Marriott Group. Here's what happened. I emailed several different levels of management with regards to my problem. Within 12 hours I receive a PERSONAL response and within 24 hours my issue is resolved. Regardless of what is printed above, my personal experience was above and beyond what you would expect from a multi national corporation. Maybe you need some real life experiences instead of writing blogs from your basement. Just sayin.

  9. Jon Vannevel

    This will continue to drive up demand on Airbnb's. If I'm not getting services I'm accustomed to at a hotel (housekeeping, really?) I'll just not clean the room myself and hand my money to an entrepreneur and not the world's largest hotel company.

  10. Buddy

    The entire point of staying in a hotel for pleasure travel is having great service and amenities. For the cost of a hotel room you can have an entire condo or house from Airbnb or Vrbo in a fantastic setting. The younger generations are already heading in that direction. Cutting services in hotels is shortsighted and will be a financial disaster in the long run.

  11. Carlos

    I don't like lying, but neither will I applaud his "honesty". It's very clear the CEO is disgusted with the "lowly customer". If he cares that much for his corporate family, fine. Let them continue to pay his salary with less and less occupancy rates. It was one of the most astounding and brazen confessions I've ever seen in a corporate exec. If this is the true future of hospitality, then there is no future in the hospitality industry.

  12. Tim Davis

    The problem here is the assumption that franchises are all owned by huge firms. There’s just as many that are owned by local business owners that might have 3-4 hotels in the area and they were hit the hardest with no mercy from customers and no assistance from corporate. I manage a Marriott and the treatment from corporate these past 18 months was horrible. They forced all of their hotels to purchase these ridiculous electro...

    The problem here is the assumption that franchises are all owned by huge firms. There’s just as many that are owned by local business owners that might have 3-4 hotels in the area and they were hit the hardest with no mercy from customers and no assistance from corporate. I manage a Marriott and the treatment from corporate these past 18 months was horrible. They forced all of their hotels to purchase these ridiculous electro static sprayers at $1000 per sprayer at a time when hotels were shutting down due to making only $500 or $600 a month. On top of that, they still collected franchise fees. They are greedy, money hungry bastards. Guests do need to understand though that hotels didn’t receive bailouts like the airlines and that most hotels open were running skeleton crews and stressed to the max because of an unparalleled level of hostility from customers over everything from wearing masks to changes in service because we didn’t have a choice or because Marriott made us.

  13. Goose

    Much to say - hes right hotel owners (and dont be fooled - its like restaurants — just as many mom
    And pop owned, small inv group, as large firms) have lost billions. What he should have stated was that it will go back once owners as a whole are back on their feet - months to years…bc what he does is allow speculators to now pump st rental market in all ways. So…its...

    Much to say - hes right hotel owners (and dont be fooled - its like restaurants — just as many mom
    And pop owned, small inv group, as large firms) have lost billions. What he should have stated was that it will go back once owners as a whole are back on their feet - months to years…bc what he does is allow speculators to now pump st rental market in all ways. So…its kinda dumb too.

    There are a TON OF FOLKS - who have saved, got economically stronger - more than 1/2. You know who you are. Fairness would imply THEY pay for the difference but lifes not fair

    Have compassion for every single employee and owner of all hotels food and beverage and brick and mortar. Most have had anxiety galore while other 1/2 half (cough cough anyone in tech/finance) have financially gained trillions. And tip more. Spend the f’ing money.

    Im headed to spain and portugal mon for 2 weeks and pumped. The edition has been amazing already there. Im vacced and ready to support the tourist dependent economies of these great countries and their people.

    Do your part. :)

  14. Matt

    If hotel owners are Marriott's customers and hotel customers are the product, what happens to the owners' interests when the product (hotel customers) stops being loyal because of the significant erosion in the value proposition of continued loyalty?

    Meanwhile Hyatt every day is making loyalty more valuable...

    I guess my decision to make 2021 the year I switch to Hyatt is looking better and better every day.

  15. Stephen Patrick

    Reducing consumer choice was always the point of the merger.

    Airlines and hotels are moving in the same direction: consolidation, reduction in choice, reduction in service and dilution of any loyalty schemes that may have once been a wy to build a consumer base. This was/is the purpose of Marriott's acquisition of Starwood. If customer service was once a source of brand distinction and a way of enhancing loyalty schemes, now it is simply...

    Reducing consumer choice was always the point of the merger.

    Airlines and hotels are moving in the same direction: consolidation, reduction in choice, reduction in service and dilution of any loyalty schemes that may have once been a wy to build a consumer base. This was/is the purpose of Marriott's acquisition of Starwood. If customer service was once a source of brand distinction and a way of enhancing loyalty schemes, now it is simply a cost that the larger corporate entity will reduce in order to increase profits.

    For consumers, there is only one way to win: choose smaller networks (e.g., Hyatt) or book directly with independent hotels, where owners still recognize repeat guests.

  16. magice

    Frankly, I hate these games that brands play.

    In comparison, Delta SkyMiles (fine, SkyPesos) is such a better program. A Delta mile is worth, give or take, $0.01. At this point, that's how much I care about the miles. Short hop? Well, it's $0.01 each. Long hop? Still $0.01. Biz? Still $0.01. I mean, Champagne is a bit cheaper ;), but overall, $0.01.

    This means I don't need to "maximize" value of Delta SkyMiles. Whenever...

    Frankly, I hate these games that brands play.

    In comparison, Delta SkyMiles (fine, SkyPesos) is such a better program. A Delta mile is worth, give or take, $0.01. At this point, that's how much I care about the miles. Short hop? Well, it's $0.01 each. Long hop? Still $0.01. Biz? Still $0.01. I mean, Champagne is a bit cheaper ;), but overall, $0.01.

    This means I don't need to "maximize" value of Delta SkyMiles. Whenever I got more than $0.01/mile, I am happy. Upgrade? Yep, do that. Lounge access? Bring it on. Champagne in lounge? Sure, why not? Even if it's $0.010001, it makes me happy.

    I would imagine this is good for owners, too. If Marriott just comes out and says, yo hotels, a point is $0.005 to customers (meaning a room worth $100/nt would go for 20,000pt) and $0.006 to hotels (difference being the fees), or any other ratio, well, hotels now know exactly how much to make from a point-only or point-and-$ booking. They would have little reason to play inventory games and all of that. After all, their revenue would be exactly the same. One standard, one process, one level of income.

    But instead, Marriott plays this ultra-complicated game. On one hand, they pretend to consumers that they are still "traditional loyalty program," with leveled redemption and all that. On the other, they let the hotels and owners cheat the system to cheapen its rewards to the most loyalty customers. And as cherry on top, they squeeze out any value they can, continuously upping the required points for each level.

    So instead of building loyalty between the hotels, the consumers, and the brand, they just use the Bonvoy program as cash cow from credit card issuers, then turn hotel owners and consumers against each other. It's sad, really.

  17. Dave

    Typical big company CEO who forgets who the actual end customer is and it is NOT the franchisee. I'm Titanium and it is basically of no value. I recently stayed at a Marriott Property in Hutchinson Island, FL and it was not a great experience. I used to love the Marriott Brand, but not anymore. We could be watching the slow demise of a once valued brand. Marriott might be going the way to the dust heap with other brands in the travel business like Howard Johnson.

  18. Susana Cereijo

    We recently stayed at Le Meridian in Dania Beach, Florida which is a Marriot Bonvoy hotel. Although the hotel lobby is beautiful, the rooms are not so much, but the worst part was the service. First, if you want your room cleaned you have to request it. The towels are pieces of stained rags AND they limit them to 2 per room, with 2 hand towels. They give you one small soap with one each...

    We recently stayed at Le Meridian in Dania Beach, Florida which is a Marriot Bonvoy hotel. Although the hotel lobby is beautiful, the rooms are not so much, but the worst part was the service. First, if you want your room cleaned you have to request it. The towels are pieces of stained rags AND they limit them to 2 per room, with 2 hand towels. They give you one small soap with one each small shampoo, conditioner and body wash. Cleaning your room means changing the sheets and towel. No vacuum, no dusting, no bathroom cleaning, leaving the empty bottles in the shower for a week (we stayed 10 days). No room service whatsoever. To be fair I have to say the receptionists and attendants were very nice but overwhelmed. We are not looking to stay at the Marriott until they change this awful management.

  19. Sonja L Marshall

    All I can say is that ai am glad I am a member of at 4 hotel brands and don't have to stick with Marriott if I don't want to. I thank the CEO for his honesty though.

  20. Ozzy

    I've been a top tier with Marriott, Hilton, and Starwood (pre merger) simultaneously in the past and I'll say this: if you want to cut the service, you better cut the price, Marriott. I guarantee there are plenty of people who will bail on you because if it's just basic lodging, it warrants no premium and if I can get comparable (or let's face it, maybe better) service from another chain for less, why wouldn't...

    I've been a top tier with Marriott, Hilton, and Starwood (pre merger) simultaneously in the past and I'll say this: if you want to cut the service, you better cut the price, Marriott. I guarantee there are plenty of people who will bail on you because if it's just basic lodging, it warrants no premium and if I can get comparable (or let's face it, maybe better) service from another chain for less, why wouldn't I save my money as well? I don't care about your profitability; I care about the value for my money. Marriott consistently tops the list on price in almost every market at the typical tiers, yet honestly a $135/night courtyard is no better than a $79/night best western. Sorry. Bad choice if you want to cast yourself as a premium product. Name alone won't carry you far. I hope you and your shareholders choke on your smug arrogance. See you at the Comfort Inn!

  21. Alex

    Looks like it is time to abandon the Marriott Bonvoy program and stop visiting the Marriott Hotels. After all, the paying customers are the products that the program sells to the hotel owners... The hotel owners are more valuable to the program than we loyal customers...
    That is the symptom of the problem. The program does not force any standards to the participating hotels, so we don't get the expected standard level, and from...

    Looks like it is time to abandon the Marriott Bonvoy program and stop visiting the Marriott Hotels. After all, the paying customers are the products that the program sells to the hotel owners... The hotel owners are more valuable to the program than we loyal customers...
    That is the symptom of the problem. The program does not force any standards to the participating hotels, so we don't get the expected standard level, and from the program we don't get the usual perks at many hotels, and nothing ends up happening for us to get the benefits of our tiers we can complain, but it is useless, and the hotel owners know this...
    So, looking for more niche brands that want to grow... and give them my business

  22. Beau

    Does anyone remember this much hubris spewing from the executive management at Sears? Just a matter of time.

  23. Michelle J Mosher

    As a Timeshare owner at a Marriott property in Mexico, they definitely treat guests on hotel sides where loyalty members redeem points better.. Solaz a luxury branded suddenly closed this month. Little explanation and no significant compensation for those who invested in this luxury property. Not impressed. I also am a Bonvoy member and former Starwood member. Not impressed. I was charged daily for maid service and would then be asked at check in if...

    As a Timeshare owner at a Marriott property in Mexico, they definitely treat guests on hotel sides where loyalty members redeem points better.. Solaz a luxury branded suddenly closed this month. Little explanation and no significant compensation for those who invested in this luxury property. Not impressed. I also am a Bonvoy member and former Starwood member. Not impressed. I was charged daily for maid service and would then be asked at check in if I wanted less housekeeping? Really....

  24. Jay Nodelman

    I've been with Marriott a long time. My last couple of stays included the highest prices I've ever paid, no breakfast as in the past, the workout room, and spa closed, and the pool area open, but not kept up. And the room not cleaned unless you ask for it.
    Guess whose not coming back and wasting $200+ a night for that experience.
    Oh, check in at 3-4 pm
    and checkout 11 a.m. not even a full day

  25. Jason

    I find that this is mostly only true with North American Bonvoy Properties. Travel to Asia. I am treated like GOLD. I expect this will not change. Canadian and US property's do not have the same customer services.

  26. Susan

    As one who was a long-term Marriott loyalist during my work travel years, the CEO's comments are disappointing. My husband and I are now frequent leisure travelers and have remained Marriott-loyal because we always could rely on receiving great service. While we are patient (for now) with less service, we will not be patient longer term. Unfortunately, the comments from the CEO pretty much sum up the service industry attitude toward customers today. People are...

    As one who was a long-term Marriott loyalist during my work travel years, the CEO's comments are disappointing. My husband and I are now frequent leisure travelers and have remained Marriott-loyal because we always could rely on receiving great service. While we are patient (for now) with less service, we will not be patient longer term. Unfortunately, the comments from the CEO pretty much sum up the service industry attitude toward customers today. People are anxious to travel right now and likely are more tolerant of less service. That does not mean we will always be so. Marriott may find us taking our travel dollars elsewhere (AirBnB and VRBO are good alternatives).

  27. Bob

    So sad to see things deteriorate. On a 6 week, 6000 mile trip where our sçhedule could not be preplanned and we had special requests that the website did not accommodate, so we had to phone for each reservation, usually while driving, and we NEVER WAITED on the phone LESS THAN 15 minutes. I am a lifetime titanium elite and there is no special line. Also, many were lacking skills (e.g. had no way to...

    So sad to see things deteriorate. On a 6 week, 6000 mile trip where our sçhedule could not be preplanned and we had special requests that the website did not accommodate, so we had to phone for each reservation, usually while driving, and we NEVER WAITED on the phone LESS THAN 15 minutes. I am a lifetime titanium elite and there is no special line. Also, many were lacking skills (e.g. had no way to tell what properties were along the route ahead, and apparently worked at home with slow internet so after the long wait, it was still an ordeal. Tried calling the hotels direct and only once, at a Courtyard in downtown Amarillo, was there a clerk who, with ease, and a “great to see you” attitude handled it perfectly. SO RESERVATIONS, using points, etc.COULD be done at each property if they had trained, competent personnel. Like was said above, a big opportunity for a giant killer. So sad. Making it harder for your loyal customers to stay loyal. Say you’re going to fix things for your traveling customers Tony...., please!

  28. Jay Adams

    As a spg employee anybody can fail but you just do the best you can not too. I worked for other brands and there is nothing better overall. Some are better at this or that but thats competition. Everything considered you do not beat marriott no matter how old the building is.

  29. Phil Ridolfi

    Extremely disappointing. Yet another reason we're moving from Marriott to Hyatt. For long time Marriott Rewards members, we've seen the value of the program cut by more than 50% since Bonvoy began. And we should have an emotional attachment? That only happens in sports.

  30. Rick

    If the only things the big hotel chains offer are a bed and a bathroom, I could just stay at an Air B&B. If I have to make my own bed and clean a room, I can save a lot by AB&B’ing it.

  31. George

    I mean for me this situation sucks for the guests, that were in it for SPG such a wonderful program demolished by Marriott.
    But as always quantity over quality prevails.

  32. James

    I'm dumping my allegiance to Marriott. It's obvious they have given up on their customers. The difference between spg and bonvoy is depressing. Points are utterly meaningless now. It's criminal the way they've diluted them. I used to be able to stay at a decent hotel for 4k points. Now it's 40k. This CEO seems like a colossal dipshit. Eff you Marriott.

  33. Iamhere

    Unsure how this is surprising to you.
    Would add that I am equally unsure why you are disappointed because platinum at the others is like Gold Marriott.

  34. Steven L. Johnson

    Some things I can get along with, others not so much. This will not be a case of wanting something for nothing, this is about wanting, something worthwhile for so much being given.
    Loyalty programs are beneficial to corporate travelers (mainly), certainly there are exceptions but I’d task Marriott or Hilton Sheraton or Weston hell Disney even, to show me any healthy employee(s) not dealing with a circumstance that’s given 75 vacation days in...

    Some things I can get along with, others not so much. This will not be a case of wanting something for nothing, this is about wanting, something worthwhile for so much being given.
    Loyalty programs are beneficial to corporate travelers (mainly), certainly there are exceptions but I’d task Marriott or Hilton Sheraton or Weston hell Disney even, to show me any healthy employee(s) not dealing with a circumstance that’s given 75 vacation days in a year to become a Platinum member of any rewards program. I’ll wait.
    Next you if want to increase revenue, make prices attractive. No gouging immediately upon reopening to make up for a year of lost revenue in a month.
    This was truly unplanned and no fault of the consumer, so why be so abusive in making us compensate for the losses. No room service in a top tier ”full service” hotel is absurdly pointless. I spend more times at your front desk checking in, than with the server. Why not leave my tray cart at the door and once the server knocks and gets acknowledged, simply leave.
    Ordering done through a TV menu
    eliminates the need to contact / interact. The nearly 4 glasses of milk I wanted for my kids was nearly $40 at the Gaylord, that’s not being cheap, that generalizing that milk & valet parking cost the same. To this is I say revenue can be generated if prices are pleasing. In these “full service hotels” we venture off because, 4 burgers for a family shouldn’t be nearly $100 without side & drinks. The Ritz is a brand, the burger your serving, not so much. Basic beef burger with Rolls Royce pricing. You claim full service, well paying customers have an impression on what that’s supposed to be. Changing room linens daily is what is expected at a full service hotel, but honestly I change home linens nearly weekly (generally showering twice daily) so u wait a few days, no big deal to this particular customer but beyond that you nickel and dime everything from Valet to self parking, right down to the resort fee, which is well known to be not be used or agreed with by the masses.
    Picture this, having to pay to park and spending 20% of you bill to shop at a Walmart and no I’m not talking about the $3 to $5 p/h that some of the garages charge.
    Valet parking $45, self parking $40, So again why does parking in your private property come at a cost to me for patronizing your full service hotel with your limited service and full on pricing. I ask the same thing about Disney & Universal etc.
    Valet is a convenience cost, but what is $40 for self parking on your private property . And why is this gotten away with, because in the corporate world, I figure the thought process is 10 people paid it, there by making it affordable to all.
    I remember specifically an employee saying she couldn’t afford to stay at a Marriott even using her discount. Basically she implied it’s a good discount but still unaffordable vs. her wage.
    I may have been all over the place with this reply but I just had to vent about certain things. I’m a Marriott loyalist and will return but my salary allows for the corporate beating, doesn’t necessarily mean, I want to be beat.
    Big business took a hit during the pandemic…. boo freaking boo because big business has been taking hits on us consumers long before there was ever a “PANDEMIC”. Do better big business do better. We took hits during the pandemic and sadly now we are taking punches after it.

  35. JDE

    Marriott is crap. Bonvoy never works. I stay in Ritz Carlton points to Bonvoy never credited status Bonvoy not working at Ritz etc
    I am with Hyatt, love them, love their loyalty program.
    Only issue not many hotels in Europe
    Regarding this tipping policy you guys have in the US it is horrible. I tip in Europe too, but this is a real tip, for going the extra mile, not for just merely do your job and be polite & efficient. That is part of the job description.

  36. Mark

    Titianium 2019 2020, 2021 and Diamond with Hilton 2019 2020 with actual stayed nights. Could easily get to Ambassador with Marriott 2021 versus Diamond again with Hilton. Stay mostly in SF Bay Area, also PHL as daughter in college there. 2019&2020 every time stayed at Marriott/Hilton my status mentioned snd thanked me, especially after March 17, 2020. Last few months status not mentioned at any type of Marriott’s.
    In a democracy we have two...

    Titianium 2019 2020, 2021 and Diamond with Hilton 2019 2020 with actual stayed nights. Could easily get to Ambassador with Marriott 2021 versus Diamond again with Hilton. Stay mostly in SF Bay Area, also PHL as daughter in college there. 2019&2020 every time stayed at Marriott/Hilton my status mentioned snd thanked me, especially after March 17, 2020. Last few months status not mentioned at any type of Marriott’s.
    In a democracy we have two choices, doesn’t mean either are good choices as my Father said. As a business owner who never closed during pandemic, worked 330 days out of 365 from March 2020-March 2021, understand customers versus customers Capuano.
    What is ironic I sent a letter to sales department at a Marriott where I stayed 50+ times in August 2020-February 2021 (average occupancy was less than 10%) to do a deal where I would commit to staying 100+ nights in 2021 at a consistent, fair price, no response. Therefore, Capuano who thinks he wants to help his “owner customers” versus “paying customers” is out of touch who pays the bills. Short term is myopic thinking, not long term which is big picture, successful mindset. Whoever is on the board supporting Capuano might like his thinking now, they and Capuano don’t understand customer service and it will hurt them down the road.
    In 2008-09 AMEX decided that my business spending $150,000-200,000/month, where we were never late on a payment for a decade, that they wanted 2 years tax returns and going to cap my spending at $100,000 with AMEX. I did not give them tax returns, switched $75,000-100,000 to VISA and MasterCard and have for 12 years. AMEX by one decision lost fees on $12 million in charges. Will Marriott paying customers or enough of them make the same choice if offered alternative? If Hilton/Hyatt would be open to make a deal, I would leave Marriott yesterday. Is Hilton or Hyatt or others listening?

  37. Adrian

    I can't imagine a better advertisement opportunity for Airbnb, which is already gaining traction. I am still a bit traditional when it comes to accommodation, but these kind of speeches from Hilton and Marriott CEOs are not comforting for hotel guests. In many major cities, owners are already adding destination fees and all kind of nonsense. Sorry I want daily housekeeping if you want to charge me $25 destination fee daily.

    Honestly the hotel...

    I can't imagine a better advertisement opportunity for Airbnb, which is already gaining traction. I am still a bit traditional when it comes to accommodation, but these kind of speeches from Hilton and Marriott CEOs are not comforting for hotel guests. In many major cities, owners are already adding destination fees and all kind of nonsense. Sorry I want daily housekeeping if you want to charge me $25 destination fee daily.

    Honestly the hotel industry needs to remember that guests have options now. Airbnb might get a major boost after Covid-19, if these major hotels don't differentiate their service further from them. All I see is higher rates and less service. That's not going to work for me.

    Covid-19 affects everyone and hotels are being selfish now. We as customers need to also tell them that we have options and will not give them business if they don't value our business. Covid-19 is not an excuse for cutting costs. I am determined to make an effort to call hotel daily for housekeeping and recommend you to do so.

  38. Anon

    There is a reason that Hyatt and Starwood loyalty programs are/were viewed as better by guests. These brands owned a owned a substantial portion of their properties. Not the case with Marriott and Hilton. Loyalty programs need to work for both guests and owners and it’s a constant struggle to balance.

  39. Lightnin Joe

    Loyalty is earned by its employees. Go the extra mile to keep customers returning. Marriott has raised prices too high and charges crazy amounts of points for stays. I have to work very hard for my points and should be rewarded. Dated rooms and lack of amenities drives me away. Invest in the future where did the Marriott go that I loved and trusted.
    Joe: Titaniun Elite Member

  40. Tom Clayman

    I've been staying at a lot of Marriotts and I do everything to waste money. Leave the shower on 12 hours a day, take as much free food from the breakfast - sometimes 15 runs - and give it to the homeless shelter, when I walk past a unattended housekeeping cart I take anything valuable off it and throw it in the dumpster. I leave the room a huge mess so it takes a long time to clean. F these clowns.

    1. Kair

      I don't think this is the solution either...

  41. Matt

    You have to thank Marriott's CEO for this. This is basically a PSA advising you to not stay at Marriott or chase Bonvoy status.

  42. Matt

    Marriott is the American Airlines of hotels. Both are hoping to win the race to the bottom in terms of quality, service, and customer experience. As far as I can tell from staying at Marriott and flying with American, they are succeeding in their aim.

    I avoid both of these third tier toilet brands as much as possible. I would rather pay more for a pleasant experience.

  43. David Compean

    Sad day... I will not tolerate bad service! and they charge more for my stay. My family and I have other options 2 include purchasing an RV. we the consumers will have the last laugh........

  44. Brad B

    I think getting rid of daily housekeeping is smart and prudent. I'm not sure what the objection is here.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond

      Because part of the reason you stay at a full-service hotel is housekeeping and other amenities or services. Otherwise, the hotel is a modern-day boarding house. If a so-called full-service hotel isn't going to provide services and amenities then you might as well as book Airbnb or stay a limited-service brand.

    2. Bread

      If you don't like daily housekeeping then just leave the do not disturb sign on your room door. Or better still, just go stay at an airbnb. Why take it away from people who wants it?

  45. M. Andersen

    Spent the last 20 years traveling for my work and Had always considered Marriott then Hilton the best quality for business stays both domestic and international. Times are changing and now there are many more options. Now that Marriott and Hilton have cut back on services and made lounge access less meaningful I believe they will have a very difficult time competing with all the other options out there (e.g., Expedia, VRBO, AirBnB, Investor owned Condos, ........).

  46. Steve

    Well if you aren’t offering amenities. Then I can go to a Holiday Inn express or an AirBnB. There are alternatives and we will not pay more for less. The Marriott CEO IS TYPICAL of an Ivy League elite type with an MBA who just doesn’t care. Unfortunately you are in the customer service business and will be out on your butt within 2 years. Of course you’ll have a multi million golden parachute so you won’t care.

  47. James Hamlin

    I only like Westin (in their portfolio). I’ve always felt Marriott it’s screwing me when I stayed. This just reinforces it. I’ve started using another. Are to accumulate points. F them if they can’t show some appreciation

  48. OneManAA

    Overall, yes he was honest - and being a SPG loyalist, I seen this coming years ago.

    One of the things I see going forward people do have a choice, and that choice is Airbnb and other Bnbs'. When hotels aren't offering more than a room, then what's the point in staying in a Hotel. I have decreased my hotel stays yearly since SPG disappeared, and increased my Airbnb bookings. The only thing Marriott offers is convenience at this point, which Bnbs' don't.

  49. David Lamb

    I agree that he is being honest. It’s good news and bad news. Good in the respect that he is articulating his goals and bad in the context of what hotels guests can expect going forward.

    There are two things that will change this equation: Competition is the first. If other hotel chains want market share, they have to step up their game. Perhaps not today, but in a year from now?

    The second is...

    I agree that he is being honest. It’s good news and bad news. Good in the respect that he is articulating his goals and bad in the context of what hotels guests can expect going forward.

    There are two things that will change this equation: Competition is the first. If other hotel chains want market share, they have to step up their game. Perhaps not today, but in a year from now?

    The second is the bigger driver of change: The corporate traveler and corporate travel departments. There is a level of service that this market demands and if a chain loses large corporate travelers, that’s a bad thing. Right now, they don’t make up the large share of travelers, but those leisure travelers today are going to be the corporate travelers in a year.

    This will change…not today. Give it a year.

  50. Steve

    "That's just not logical. In a competitive market you can't offer less and charge the same amount. "

    Of course you can...if you are a monopoly. When the CEO says they are the largest hotel company what he means is they have lots of market power ie a quasi-monopoly. People will book with Marriott even if it's not as good a deal as the alternative because Marriott is so big customers either don't know or...

    "That's just not logical. In a competitive market you can't offer less and charge the same amount. "

    Of course you can...if you are a monopoly. When the CEO says they are the largest hotel company what he means is they have lots of market power ie a quasi-monopoly. People will book with Marriott even if it's not as good a deal as the alternative because Marriott is so big customers either don't know or can't be bothered to search out other options.

    The only solution for this is to either break up the monopoly like entity or for other options to come into existence that reduces the entities market (and therefore pricing) power and return it to the consumer.

    This is why we have antitrust laws. They keep the balance of power in check. But not all monopolies are illegal, just those that were created through unlawful actions.

    The best way to combat a company that believes it has a lot market power is to take away their power by taking your business someplace else. That's why the CEO says Bonvoy is good for owners because it causes customers to work against their own interest by continuing to book with Marriott even if they'd be better off booking with someone else (like a small chain or even an unaffiliated hotel).

    That "loyalty" you feel, its Marriott using you sense of being a member to give you a bad deal.

    Fight back by booking other brands and independent properties and tell them that you are staying with them because they aren't a Marriott.

    It won't change anything right away but if occupancies slowly drop, even a little, compared to other hotels owners will notice. Since the money that comes in from selling a vacant room is nearly 100% profit hotels are very, very aware of the occupant rates at comparable properties. If a Hyatt near a Marriott is consistently a few points higher then owners are going to ask why that is and what Marriott is doing to fix it.

    1. Steve

      To be clear when I say 100% profit I am referring to the income from selling a marginal room.

      Hotels costs are almost all fixed. If a hotels sells to 80% occupancy the cost is essentially the same as if they sell out. So the income from that 20% of additional sales is almost all profit.

      If there are two compatible hotels were A is consistently selling to 80% and B is selling to...

      To be clear when I say 100% profit I am referring to the income from selling a marginal room.

      Hotels costs are almost all fixed. If a hotels sells to 80% occupancy the cost is essentially the same as if they sell out. So the income from that 20% of additional sales is almost all profit.

      If there are two compatible hotels were A is consistently selling to 80% and B is selling to 85% hotel B is going to be wildly more profitable than A because they have the same costs.

      So the owner of hotel B is going to be extremely unhappy if his occupancy is trailing what he feels is a compatible hotel. Marriott is claiming their market power will enable the hotel to make more money because customers the brand is so powerful that customers will choose Marriott even if the price is higher and/or the amenity less. Marriott then splits the profit from being able to charge more or provide less with the owner.

      Since Marriott doesn't own most properties they aren't laboring under the fixed costs, just the owners. So owners are the ones who either push to cut the value of Bonvoy (if they believe Marriott can still deliver the occupancy rates) or to reverse course and beef up the benefits (in order to boost occupancy that is trailing comparable properties.

      Hits the owners where it hurts, their profits. Boost the occupancy rates and other hotels. It will take time but they'll notice.

  51. Miguel Angel Rojas

    On the contrary...having sooooo many hotels around the globe to earn the points and then focus them on the hotel you would really like to vacation, on the back of your company's dime (assuming you get reimbursed for the business travel and most likely the case) is great. At that point you can have your employer pay premium rates to stay at the expensive convention hotel and earn tons of points to use your points...

    On the contrary...having sooooo many hotels around the globe to earn the points and then focus them on the hotel you would really like to vacation, on the back of your company's dime (assuming you get reimbursed for the business travel and most likely the case) is great. At that point you can have your employer pay premium rates to stay at the expensive convention hotel and earn tons of points to use your points at the Fairfield in the middle of nowhere, if you want "bang for your buck", or go to a Ritz Carlton or similar, if you want a great experience less nights. People do minimize the fact that with more properties you get more chances to earn freebies. Stop whining over free stuff people, we seem intitled.

  52. Davidehi

    I think it may be time for those of us who have been disappointed time and again by Marriott to start looking at the lower cost alternatives such as some of the IHG properties. This paying for what we hope will be excellent service and amenities and getting virtually nothing is getting pretty old. As a Titanium member I called the JW in Austin Texas and they could not give me a date for reopening...

    I think it may be time for those of us who have been disappointed time and again by Marriott to start looking at the lower cost alternatives such as some of the IHG properties. This paying for what we hope will be excellent service and amenities and getting virtually nothing is getting pretty old. As a Titanium member I called the JW in Austin Texas and they could not give me a date for reopening their executive lounge. Virtually every restaurant in Austin is open, no excuse for the JW not to have their lounge open except to save money for their “owners”. This new CEO of Marriott could very well have a short tenure.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond

      Not to mention they could sell access to the lounge if they made an effort to have good food and drinks in there.

  53. Marc

    I have found the decline in service to mean - staying at Marriotts is now worthless to me. The only reason I continue to stay at Marriotts is the perks. No perks, barely even basic service...now I'm free to choose any hotel.

    I just earned Hyatt Globalist, on a lark. Because, staying at Hyatt for 30 nights having no status, was equal to my Titanium experience at Marriotts. No perks in either place.

    I...

    I have found the decline in service to mean - staying at Marriotts is now worthless to me. The only reason I continue to stay at Marriotts is the perks. No perks, barely even basic service...now I'm free to choose any hotel.

    I just earned Hyatt Globalist, on a lark. Because, staying at Hyatt for 30 nights having no status, was equal to my Titanium experience at Marriotts. No perks in either place.

    I do certainly have more choices now...although probably not in the way the Marriott CEO had in mind.

  54. Tracy L Walker

    I'm very disappointed in Marriott. To find out that their hotels are basically franchised out and they own only a dozen of it's nearly 8k hotels is disgusting. I knew I was done when I checked and my bathroom shower had mold visible everywhere on the tiles and around the bottom of the shower door had yellow nasty film and dirt. They moved me and I see a nasty roach crawl across the bathroom counter!...

    I'm very disappointed in Marriott. To find out that their hotels are basically franchised out and they own only a dozen of it's nearly 8k hotels is disgusting. I knew I was done when I checked and my bathroom shower had mold visible everywhere on the tiles and around the bottom of the shower door had yellow nasty film and dirt. They moved me and I see a nasty roach crawl across the bathroom counter! Marriott has NEVER had a cleanliness issue in the 20 plus years I've stayed with them. Since your shareholders is the focus, I will happily tear up my Bonvoy membership. What's the point if the brand is boldly admitting they dont care about its customers? They will regret this bad move in the future. Hilton is my new choice. Good riddance Marriott!

    1. Echo

      You realize Hilton has the exact same business model, right?

  55. Brent

    So when we’re told that as Marriott guests we should not expect pre COVID service, I likewise believe that Marriott and it’s owners should not expect pre COVID prices or gratuities.

    How did this guy become CEO of such a large corporation. Horrible messaging.

  56. Mike

    Bonvoy is a disaster. Customer service won't respond to merge requests. Hour+ hold times to get a real person on the phone to take care of the issue on their end. End up getting an email from customer service they can't merge the accounts due to the issue on their end. No reply to follow up emails.

  57. BrianMIA

    I stopped caring about Ambassador status and have started looking for the best hotel with the best service at the price we want to pay since venturing out post-covid.

    We recently experienced a horrendous customer service experience with Marriott trying to resolve a billing error that was acknowledged by the hotel yet never fully resolved. The Ambassador desk stopped responding, but American Express resolved via their dispute process within a week. Sad that it...

    I stopped caring about Ambassador status and have started looking for the best hotel with the best service at the price we want to pay since venturing out post-covid.

    We recently experienced a horrendous customer service experience with Marriott trying to resolve a billing error that was acknowledged by the hotel yet never fully resolved. The Ambassador desk stopped responding, but American Express resolved via their dispute process within a week. Sad that it came to that, but it reaffirms my decision to not be loyal to the mega brand but to the properties we like regardless of brand.

  58. Christine

    My memory is pretty good. When I am working and traveling again (the pandemic has been hard on non-property owners, too), I will go with the best deals and the best loyalty program. It’s simple. If Marriott wants my business, they need to provide me a reason to stay at their properties.

  59. Colleen D

    We recently stayed at a hotel in Florida, and the quality was less than average. His comments are directly in line with the crappy service we received. That’s ok, there are Hyatt’s and Hilton’s available!

  60. Neil D

    He’s honest but not very intelligent. As pre-Covid business, special event and personal vacation travelers, we do remember ore Covid standards. While not expecting everything to be back to normal, we have reasonable expectations, especially with jacked up costs for parking and “resort fees” at hotels which are not providing resort amenities, or amenities that are less than pr Covid days. Despite your honesty, we do have long memories, we work for companies that use...

    He’s honest but not very intelligent. As pre-Covid business, special event and personal vacation travelers, we do remember ore Covid standards. While not expecting everything to be back to normal, we have reasonable expectations, especially with jacked up costs for parking and “resort fees” at hotels which are not providing resort amenities, or amenities that are less than pr Covid days. Despite your honesty, we do have long memories, we work for companies that use your properties and will eventually stop using them if our employees say the properties are below standard, as was the one we stayed at last weekend (150 room nights over 4 days, group reservations made months in advanced, and no rooms ready early as requested, many not ready at 4 and some even not made up when the guests (attorneys, doctors, engineers, and yes, even a general manager of a large Visitors Bureau. Not the type of “guests” - some whose companies are owners and some who have timeshares and therefore should be treated as owners as well as guests (and yea, I realize owners are the franchise owners of actual Marriott named hotels) Having stayed recently at a Marriott property, for the first time ever, I was dismayed by the reduced level of service - and I have stayed at various Marriott and SPG properties before and during Covid. Guests do not have short memories and I just feel sorry for the Marriott staff, who have always been helpful and consistent with rooms ready on time. I realize some folks don’t want to come back to work. Hospitality wasn’t the only hard hit industry during Covid, and Marriott is a montage that made a shit ton of money ore covid, so no one feels sorry for Bonvoy. It’s just ok is not ok. Period. I don’t want a lot, but I want my room clean and ready when I need it, an easy reservation and check in process (none of our great perk pre arrival checkins mattered, since the rooms weren’t ready in time, on cell phone keys didn’t work, Etc. And if one was lucky enough that their iPhone key worked, and they (as did Happen!) entered a dirty room, I’m guessing they won’t be forgetting that for a while!

  61. Mike

    I work for a Marriott property, and was there before and during covid. The things we are doing now are more out of necessity. We can not get anyone hired. Then the staff we do get, get so mistreated by the guests. They come in and trash the rooms and don't tip at all. Especially these people that use their status as currency. They demand so much and give very little. If you want to...

    I work for a Marriott property, and was there before and during covid. The things we are doing now are more out of necessity. We can not get anyone hired. Then the staff we do get, get so mistreated by the guests. They come in and trash the rooms and don't tip at all. Especially these people that use their status as currency. They demand so much and give very little. If you want to stick it to the hotel, putting the staff who is there just trying to pay bills a hard time is not the way. These cry babies complain that they can't check in early because we don't have a room ready because we are spending so much time cleaning these rooms, then they demand a late check out. Think of someone else besides yourself.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond

      If the owners or management company can't properly operate (and staff) a property then they should close. They are setting you up for failure. There are plenty of good hotels that are doing very well. In fact, some hotels are doing better than 2019. The problem (like restaurants during covid restaurant capacity restrictions or indoor dining shutdowns) is there are a lot of very average to bad hotels that can't survive this because they were...

      If the owners or management company can't properly operate (and staff) a property then they should close. They are setting you up for failure. There are plenty of good hotels that are doing very well. In fact, some hotels are doing better than 2019. The problem (like restaurants during covid restaurant capacity restrictions or indoor dining shutdowns) is there are a lot of very average to bad hotels that can't survive this because they were bad in the first place. I don't know how all those Marriott corporate office park hotels are surviving because they were bad hotels to begin with ... no good restaurant, no spa or upscale amenities, outdated building, and a location built around business travelers.

  62. ELAINE A BEERS

    They expanded way too fast and lost their minds!!!
    I’m fine with them being in the hotel business rather than the hospitality business...just restructure the value properties like super 8’s
    And let have our beloved Ritz Carlton back

  63. Jeff

    I used to spend my 40-50 of my 60 travel nights per year in Marriott properties. When the lowest points criteria for a free room went from 7500 to 20,000, they lost my loyalty. Now I understand why they changed it. Hope they understand why it cost them over $200,000 of my annual spending.

  64. Mike Fernandes

    Marriott also reduced the commission from 10% to 7% paid to Third Party Independent Meeting Planners and Travel Agents. This amounts to a significant amount of money to mostly small businesses. Marriott started it and then Hilton and Hyatt adopted the same policy. I know many meeting planners who don't even contact these hotel chains anymore. Shame on Marriott for hurting the small business men and women who work hard for their clients.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond

      Marriott also requires an IATA travel agent number to get a commission. I know several meeting planners who plan meetings. They're not travel agents. So they can't get a commission.

  65. AC

    As a long time business executive (and also traveler w over 8 millions miles and thousands of hotel nights over 30+ years) I agree w him. Too many on here are very self centered and only worry about how it impacts them. His top priority is to ensure the financial success of his franchisees. Yes he needs guests to want to stay there but if a franchisee loses money so can’t keep up the property...

    As a long time business executive (and also traveler w over 8 millions miles and thousands of hotel nights over 30+ years) I agree w him. Too many on here are very self centered and only worry about how it impacts them. His top priority is to ensure the financial success of his franchisees. Yes he needs guests to want to stay there but if a franchisee loses money so can’t keep up the property or hire competent people that drives guests away much more than changes to a loyalty program.

    Understand the vast majority of people that stay in hotels or fly in planes never accumulate enough points/miles to do anything or the nuances of the programs just doesn’t interest them.

    Like all things if changes result in less business Marriott (and any other company) will change. However this is a sellers’ market in the travel industry and there is a lot of ability to raise prices, devalue programs and make other changes.

    You can’t keep reliving the old “glory” days - accept changes, make an informed decision regarding how they impact you and move along. Your individual desires, complaints or loss of business won’t change a thing.

    BTW lifetime Titanium w over 1300 nights w Marriott. If I don’t get all upset over not getting an upgrade, have a mediocre or worse “free” breakfast (God forbid) or other travel micro aggressions why should you?!

    1. Lune

      I disagree. The customers these hotels want, i.e. frequent business travelers who spend a lot of OPM on travel, *do* very much care about points and perks. That's always been the underlying deal: get your company to pay a little more for your hotel, and we'll give you "points" that'll allow you to take your family on a free vacation. So you find ways to direct your corporate travel office to book hotels based on...

      I disagree. The customers these hotels want, i.e. frequent business travelers who spend a lot of OPM on travel, *do* very much care about points and perks. That's always been the underlying deal: get your company to pay a little more for your hotel, and we'll give you "points" that'll allow you to take your family on a free vacation. So you find ways to direct your corporate travel office to book hotels based on the value of the points you accrue rather than the absolute best deal, thereby spending an extra $10,000 of someone else's money, spread over maybe 200 nights of overpaying by $50 a night, in order to get a $5,000 hotel stay somewhere.

      Marriott loves these people spending $$$ on last minute reservations in Dubuque, Iowa but think it's BS when the same person wants to spend the points they earned on a nice hotel in Hawaii at the end of the year. Sure, it's their right to find a way to deny that person that vacation in Hawaii. But then they shouldn't be surprised when 200 nights of profitable, high-margin stays in their other properties disappear the next year.

      You're right, the vast majority of *leisure* travelers, taking 1 or 2 vacations a year, don't care or even know about points. But they're also the ones that book their hotel 1 year in advance, have no loyalty to the Marriott brand, search 5 different booking sites for the absolute best deal, and then stuff 4 people into a room, all of whom go down and eat the free breakfast every morning. But hey, at least they'll never try to get a "free" room in that precious property Marriott has in Orlando! If "Giving" 5 free nights during the low season when the room would be empty anyway to some person who directed $10,000 worth of spend to your company overall is such a burden, feel free to fill up those rooms with exactly those travelers who don't care about points but do care tremendously about their dollars.

      I also disagree that Marriott is being "owner friendly". The fundamental reason why owners are unhappy providing Bonvoy point stays is because Marriott is underpaying them for those stays. Again, Marriott thinks it's great to sell billions of points to their credit card partners, but then, when it comes time to use that revenue to pay the hotels that must provide the rooms those credit card users expect to get, they stiff the hotels. If Marriott reimbursed hotels their full rack rate for any bonvoy stay, you'd bet franchise owners would fall over themselves to offer rooms for points.

      The truth is, Marriott is stiffing both sides: the owners aren't being reimbursed enough for bonvoy stays, which is why they're complaining and finding workarounds to honoring those obligations. And the customers are purchasing bonvoy points from Marriott (either by paying for hotels, or buying the points Marriott sells to their credit card partners) which Marriott then avoids providing the expected service. The only one that wins is Marriott's shareholders, the CEOs true customer.

      Of course, it will all fall down if/when people stop staying at Marriott hotels. Whether it's due to points devaluations, or service cuts, or general unpleasantness of the experience, if people stay away, then the franchisees won't be happy either, and neither will credit cards be buying points that no one wants to accumulate. But at least no one is free-riding by using their points for free nights!

  66. Jamie Vana

    What hoteliers are going to find is that without perks and services that keep people coming back, it's going to now be which is cheaper. IHG really isn't all that different than Marriott which isn't all that different than Hilton. With all things equal, that being, "ownership friendly" loyalty programs, lowest prices will win every time. Then watch what happens... That said, my parents rave about Drury Hotels. If I'm not mistaken, I believe Drury...

    What hoteliers are going to find is that without perks and services that keep people coming back, it's going to now be which is cheaper. IHG really isn't all that different than Marriott which isn't all that different than Hilton. With all things equal, that being, "ownership friendly" loyalty programs, lowest prices will win every time. Then watch what happens... That said, my parents rave about Drury Hotels. If I'm not mistaken, I believe Drury still has "Kickback"(complimentary wine, beer, finger foods, etc)daily between 5 pm-7 pm. Unfortunately, Drury is regional.

  67. Ron

    We all have the choice of going somewhere else and than the Owners Will not recoup their cost they lost during the pandemic as they lose guests. Quite honestly the Marriott Ambassador Elite program has been relatively unimpressive for the last few years even before the pandemic. The only thing that allows for brand loyalty today is continuing to build reward points for free night stays. Unfortunately the airline industry is just as bad. I...

    We all have the choice of going somewhere else and than the Owners Will not recoup their cost they lost during the pandemic as they lose guests. Quite honestly the Marriott Ambassador Elite program has been relatively unimpressive for the last few years even before the pandemic. The only thing that allows for brand loyalty today is continuing to build reward points for free night stays. Unfortunately the airline industry is just as bad. I find it amazing that companies don’t cater better to their loyal, high spending guests. Maybe they should eliminate some of the lower tier perks to offset.

  68. Nate nate

    Someone should flag this interview for Biden's antitrust team. Clearly the merger was anti-consumer, and the company is proud of that.

  69. Reno Joe

    The issue is industry-wide. In economics, it's called "price leadership." Companies do NOT conspire to manipulate prices, etc. Instead, one company publicly states "we're initiating a fee for X" or "we're discontinuing daily housekeeping" or fill in the blank. Then, other companies follow suit. No conspiracy but same result. COVID has given that first company the excuse to take that first step. And, others follow suit. When COVID ends, the changes will be permanent. And,...

    The issue is industry-wide. In economics, it's called "price leadership." Companies do NOT conspire to manipulate prices, etc. Instead, one company publicly states "we're initiating a fee for X" or "we're discontinuing daily housekeeping" or fill in the blank. Then, other companies follow suit. No conspiracy but same result. COVID has given that first company the excuse to take that first step. And, others follow suit. When COVID ends, the changes will be permanent. And, others follow suit. I have commented in other posts and other blogs that hotel loyalty means nothing to individual property owners (unless one frequents their specific properties). Elite status benefits have become devalued, unavailable, or elusive. The biggie -- suite upgrades -- are something individual property owners actually resist (this coming from someone on the inside). With this article -- thanks Ben -- the cat is out of the bag. Resign yourself to the fact that it's purely a points game with the hotels. Have no expectations regarding elite status benefits.

  70. Mike

    His answer is a microcosm of what's happening in the country right now. Willing to sacrifice the the many for the betterment of the few.

  71. DCS

    Refreshing to have a CEO tell it like it is, especially to former SPG loyalists who, I suspect, are the ones hollering the loudest.

    Unless one believes in reverse Darwinism, i.e. the Demise of the Fittest, and contrary to the claims of rabid SPG loyalists, the reason Starwood and, by extension, SPG went belly-up is that the product that the chain and its loyalty program offered was inferior to the competition's. The whole enterprise folded...

    Refreshing to have a CEO tell it like it is, especially to former SPG loyalists who, I suspect, are the ones hollering the loudest.

    Unless one believes in reverse Darwinism, i.e. the Demise of the Fittest, and contrary to the claims of rabid SPG loyalists, the reason Starwood and, by extension, SPG went belly-up is that the product that the chain and its loyalty program offered was inferior to the competition's. The whole enterprise folded because it was based on faulty business model. Really.

    1. Eskimo

      Hello DCS, peace!!!!!
      Demise of the Fittest maybe applicable to US political system. The attack on the capital either means the demise in Democracy or, Democracy isn't the best system. (Kim's on to something?)

      Demise of the Fittest might not apply to Starwood. First they got acquired, they didn't went belly up (yet).
      In a very competitive low margin business, maybe the only right business model is do M&A to have monopoly and...

      Hello DCS, peace!!!!!
      Demise of the Fittest maybe applicable to US political system. The attack on the capital either means the demise in Democracy or, Democracy isn't the best system. (Kim's on to something?)

      Demise of the Fittest might not apply to Starwood. First they got acquired, they didn't went belly up (yet).
      In a very competitive low margin business, maybe the only right business model is do M&A to have monopoly and become too big to fail. SPG folded into Marriott because it got acquired.

      I thought SPG was your ex-bae before you went in bed with Hilton.

    2. DCS

      Demise of the Fittest might not apply to Starwood. First they got acquired, they didn't went belly up (yet).

      A distinction without a difference. It's like debating the status of the Titanic after it'd already hit the iceberg or that of the Hindenburg's after it fire had already started. Just like those vessels at the time, SPG is no more.

      I thought SPG was your ex-bae before you went in bed with Hilton.

      Well, you...

      Demise of the Fittest might not apply to Starwood. First they got acquired, they didn't went belly up (yet).

      A distinction without a difference. It's like debating the status of the Titanic after it'd already hit the iceberg or that of the Hindenburg's after it fire had already started. Just like those vessels at the time, SPG is no more.

      I thought SPG was your ex-bae before you went in bed with Hilton.

      Well, you thought wrong. I have always been a Hilton guy. Could never stand SPG, although I had status in the program through AMEX cards. I occasionally stayed at Starwood properties when they were picked as a conference venue or when they were the only game in town, like Sheraton Changsha, Hunan, PRC, for my 2013 Year-end Asian Escapade(tm).

  72. Ralph

    Thank you for putting into words exactly what I thought.
    His comments struck me as odd. And reinforced my efforts to move away from that tragedy called Bonvoy.

  73. Stephen Morrissey

    This CEO is a true douchebag. But an honest one.

    Does not make me like him any more though.

  74. Atlas Flowers

    More reasons for families and vacation travelers to stay at AirBnb and similar places. As for business travelers, good luck with that. The first time I would stay in a hotel that didn't service my room on a daily basis would be the last time. But thanks for letting your potential customers know in advance. Now we can book elsewhere.

  75. The Travel Scholar

    I respect and like the honesty. Ultimately, I'm going to reward hotels with higher standards with more of my business. The trick is finding out which properties those are ahead of booking a stay. Ultimately, unless locations with lower standards aren't punished with low occupancy and lower ADR as a result, then there will be little incentive for them to do better.

  76. Jorge Paez

    Bonvoyed again! When your program name is a negative verb, BAD!

  77. Kbulo

    Now the Solaz debacle makes total sense.

  78. Elliot

    Unfortunately the hotel owners will ignore all of these comments. The owners are mostly investment bankers who only see the hotels for the return on their investment when they sell the hotels at a better price than what they paid. Customers? Better service? Forget it. I'm using up my points before they're worthless.

  79. Joel VW

    Oh the power of Capitalism. I completely get Marriott has to make business decisions that support their ownership groups in 2021, but as consumers, if we don't like where Marriott is going, we will move.

    The ownership groups are hurting. Bookings and Cash Flow is way down. Airbnb is making inroads into the business market. They had to layoff good employees who aren't coming back.

    My biggest concern is that the brand footprint...

    Oh the power of Capitalism. I completely get Marriott has to make business decisions that support their ownership groups in 2021, but as consumers, if we don't like where Marriott is going, we will move.

    The ownership groups are hurting. Bookings and Cash Flow is way down. Airbnb is making inroads into the business market. They had to layoff good employees who aren't coming back.

    My biggest concern is that the brand footprint is just to big. How can Marriott make decisions that work for owners and consumers of brands ranging from Fairfield and Aloft to JW Marriott?

  80. J Gordon

    It’s sad really. Those corporate pinheads have it twisted: Guests have LONG memories - and will respond accordingly. As a Ambassador Elite member, the experience has been “meh.” Instead of cutting service and hoping that guests have an “emotional” relationship with their brands (which is presumptuous BS), they should take a cue from United Airlines and make a genuine effort to put the customer first (given United’s latest effort upgrade their inflight experience - including...

    It’s sad really. Those corporate pinheads have it twisted: Guests have LONG memories - and will respond accordingly. As a Ambassador Elite member, the experience has been “meh.” Instead of cutting service and hoping that guests have an “emotional” relationship with their brands (which is presumptuous BS), they should take a cue from United Airlines and make a genuine effort to put the customer first (given United’s latest effort upgrade their inflight experience - including returning monitors to each seat, because removing them in the first place was a horrendous decision, which United recognizes).
    When revenue, rankings and customer loyalty drops, the hotel conglomerate boards will wake up and replace those leaders who oversaw such craziness.

  81. Doreen

    Since June I have stayed at five Marriott hotels in San Antonio, San Francisco and Napa Valley. None have returned to the brand standards I think the hotels are using the pandemic as an excuse to not provide service As a life time platinum elite it is very disappointing that the service you pay for and expect is nonexistent. I also read the interview and agree with the analysis, I think Arne Sorensen’s perspective would...

    Since June I have stayed at five Marriott hotels in San Antonio, San Francisco and Napa Valley. None have returned to the brand standards I think the hotels are using the pandemic as an excuse to not provide service As a life time platinum elite it is very disappointing that the service you pay for and expect is nonexistent. I also read the interview and agree with the analysis, I think Arne Sorensen’s perspective would be different not sure he would agree with his successor.

  82. G. Moore

    I've worked for Marriott for 20 years in 3 different cities and one of the great benefits was discount Hotel rooms. That perk for Employees seems to have disappeared. I feel that now Mr. Marriott has retired Customer service, Employee training and Employee perks have deteriorated.

  83. David

    No wonder Marriott has gone downhill. This guy doesn't seem to understand that it takes decades to build a brand and good reputation, seconds to tear it all down. I've been a loyal, lifetime Titanium member for more than 35 years but recent experiences are telling me to stay elsewhere, where good customers are actually valued

  84. Tina

    If the hotels take away all services now - then they can roll them back out over time and WOW us with (ahem) "new benefits"

    In planning my fall trips, I am amazed how many good hotels have a slew of really bad recent reviews, Seems like there are dirty rooms everywhere!

    1. FNT Delta Diamond

      About 90% of the hotels I have stayed at since May 2020 have had had dirty sheets, unchanged sheets, hair in the shower, or hair on the toilet seat. Like basic housekeeping 101. Clean the sheets, wear a hair net if you have long hair, wipe the toilet seat and rim, and at least wipe the shower if not wash it down.

  85. BM

    The Marriott brand has been going downhill since the Starwood merger, if not even before that. Quality, consistency, standards - all seem to be too much to bother with. While in the short term Capuano's approach may favor owners over guests, the long-term effect is that people will abandon Marriott as their brand of choice. I see Marriott becoming another Howard Johnsons - once a reliable institution with a loyal following morphing into option of...

    The Marriott brand has been going downhill since the Starwood merger, if not even before that. Quality, consistency, standards - all seem to be too much to bother with. While in the short term Capuano's approach may favor owners over guests, the long-term effect is that people will abandon Marriott as their brand of choice. I see Marriott becoming another Howard Johnsons - once a reliable institution with a loyal following morphing into option of last resort. The hotelier that restores historical levels of service with an emphasis on customer service will be the premiere hotel brand; with Capuano at the helm, it won't be Marriott.

  86. Deltahater

    I love me my Hyatt. I was loyal to Marriott from 1997 to 2017. No mas

  87. Laurie Kennedy

    Unfortunately stretches the reality of caring for owners a bit also. We are vacation plan owners and are receiving few if any of the rewards we are accustomed to receiving when staying at Marriott properties. None of the guarantees we use to get for years of loyalty seem to matter any longer. Very disillusioned. And property managers do nothing when its brought to their attention that they have fallen fallen short. We were told "sorry...

    Unfortunately stretches the reality of caring for owners a bit also. We are vacation plan owners and are receiving few if any of the rewards we are accustomed to receiving when staying at Marriott properties. None of the guarantees we use to get for years of loyalty seem to matter any longer. Very disillusioned. And property managers do nothing when its brought to their attention that they have fallen fallen short. We were told "sorry mr. Kennedy maybe we are not the right fit for you". Then I don't know who you are the right fit for cause my standards are not those of some upper crust raised with a silver spoon on my mouth by any means but construction trash left out by back entrance for a whole month at a Marriott??? Come on!! Really_?? beddkirt mending with safety pins and hairs in newly made bed during a pandemic. What's on pillow cases? which when brought to their attention were told they couldn't do anything about it cause house cleaning had gone home for the day
    I changed my own sheets. For free!!! No compensation.... Marriott standards??? Hmmmm. lk

  88. James

    Seeing how Marriott treated their employees during the pandemic, I’d say it’s best to need t expect much of anything from the organization.

  89. GS

    "why would a CEO openly admit that a program has gone from being “very guest-friendly” to “owner-friendly?”" -- Because the owners are the more-important customers. guests come and go, and there are so many of them. There are fewer owners, they each are more important economically, and they stick around. On the other hand, it IS possible to be an owner and be guest focused -- that would be called Hyatt.

  90. Kair

    It doesn't make sense to me as they already have limited service line ups.
    I can see that Fairfield Inns, Residence Inns and such would be attractive to people who doesn't care much about the loyalty programs and I am sure they operate well.
    It sounds like Marriot (and Hilton also?) would like to remove much of diffrentiation from the full service line ups.
    I think the only thing that it will...

    It doesn't make sense to me as they already have limited service line ups.
    I can see that Fairfield Inns, Residence Inns and such would be attractive to people who doesn't care much about the loyalty programs and I am sure they operate well.
    It sounds like Marriot (and Hilton also?) would like to remove much of diffrentiation from the full service line ups.
    I think the only thing that it will acomplish is making their full service properties compete more directly with their limited service portfolio. Maybe they believe that they are still different enough, some people will find that they are not.
    Maybe they should come up with a new "Limited" brand so propertied that would like to cut some of the standard services can easily rebraded as "Marriott Limited"

    1. Lukas

      This is exactly what I think - why would you pay the premium for a Hilton/Marriott/whatnot when you have lots of ”limited service” brands with almost identical rooms and now also the same - if not better - amenities.

  91. Mike

    And its comments and reasons like this that AirBNB and VBRO are going to thrive. Many people stay at hotels for the service. If the service isn't there ... many folks will simply forgo the hotel and book an AirBnb.

  92. Lie

    Customer don't have short term memory, only for non loyal guest. Never need daily housekeeping, hence there is green choice which is dead too by bonvoy. Greedy Ravi hotelier.... Doesn't share the burden or pain or Marriott property in smaller area.
    Also Marriott has jacked up the price so much now with later pandemic travel. It has become ridiculous. Lot of badly managed property now

  93. Andy

    He’s right that he needs to balance the different stakeholders - not too different from any business, as a matter of fact.

    But he’s wrong about “short memory” of the guests. When Hyatt changed their loyalty program also a couple of years ago, I used up my points and left. And I also convinced my employer to remove all Hyatt properties from the travel policy list and cancel all corporate contract. This brought down...

    He’s right that he needs to balance the different stakeholders - not too different from any business, as a matter of fact.

    But he’s wrong about “short memory” of the guests. When Hyatt changed their loyalty program also a couple of years ago, I used up my points and left. And I also convinced my employer to remove all Hyatt properties from the travel policy list and cancel all corporate contract. This brought down the nights at Hyatt from about 2000 per year to 1 in 2019 and 0 in 2020. I understand this is not even noticeable at Hyatt’s C-Level, but I know other corporates did the same.

  94. Edward Van Halen

    While honesty is a good thing so is a healthy self-awareness. His comments, in plain speech, are garbage. Think for just a moment what would happen if every industry and every company decided to take this same approach to their business and ultimately their customers. Everything we hate about paying for a service or a product would be amplified beyond measure. I don't see his tenure as CEO being a long one. Hopefully, he will...

    While honesty is a good thing so is a healthy self-awareness. His comments, in plain speech, are garbage. Think for just a moment what would happen if every industry and every company decided to take this same approach to their business and ultimately their customers. Everything we hate about paying for a service or a product would be amplified beyond measure. I don't see his tenure as CEO being a long one. Hopefully, he will be replaced with someone who actually appreciates the paying public. I look forward to staying at hotel chains that have a different perspective than Marriott and cringe most of the time when I have to stay at a Marriott property. Rest assured that there are way better alternatives.

  95. Regis

    The US hotel/hospitality is done. I am at a Holiday Inn Express in the California coast for work paying almost $200 a night. Fitness center is closed, no housekeeping at all, lousy bagged breakfast, indifferent staff. They just don't care anymore. Contrast this with my stay st the Renassaince in Sao Paulo earlier this month: lounge access, free breakfast, suite upgrade (I am Titanium), all ammenities open, daily housekeeping, amazing service, friendly and helpful staff,...

    The US hotel/hospitality is done. I am at a Holiday Inn Express in the California coast for work paying almost $200 a night. Fitness center is closed, no housekeeping at all, lousy bagged breakfast, indifferent staff. They just don't care anymore. Contrast this with my stay st the Renassaince in Sao Paulo earlier this month: lounge access, free breakfast, suite upgrade (I am Titanium), all ammenities open, daily housekeeping, amazing service, friendly and helpful staff, daily vouchers for drinks etc. This road warrior's conclusion is: forget about expecting any level or service or status recognition here in the US for now. Go abroad for that, South America and Asia.

  96. khatl

    It's a question of the company's business model and the difference is between those that see a business model focused on owning their hotels and those focused on having others own the hotels on which they put their brand and apply brand standards.

    Marriott has moved to increase its franchising (i.e. others own the hotels) compared to, for example, Hyatt recently buying and owning Alila Big Sur.

    With Hyatt owning Alila Big Sur, they...

    It's a question of the company's business model and the difference is between those that see a business model focused on owning their hotels and those focused on having others own the hotels on which they put their brand and apply brand standards.

    Marriott has moved to increase its franchising (i.e. others own the hotels) compared to, for example, Hyatt recently buying and owning Alila Big Sur.

    With Hyatt owning Alila Big Sur, they are not as concerned about occupancy as much as they would be if someone else owned the hotel (as occupancy would be a much bigger deal). Don't get me wrong - occupancy still matters. But if, as Hyatt, I can use Alila Big Sur to drive motivation and incentivize people to stay MORE at all my other hotels and use Big Sur more as an aspiration, then the occupancy at Big Sur doesn't matter as much, as across my hotel portfolio I'm doing very well.

    That's what should be concerning for Marriott if they take the approach Ravi suggests i.e. if Marriott removes the opportunity for people staying at Fairfield Inns 150 nights a year to then vacation at the St Regis Aspen, then it's only a matter of time before those people will, instead, switch to staying at the Hyatt Place for 150 nights, as then can vacation at the Alila Big Sur.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond

      Franchising isn't just about others owning the hotels. Because Marriott moved this model it had the inevitable consequence of more franchisees either directly operating their franchise or hiring a third-party management company to do it. Marriott no longer manages most of its properties across all brands. Even Ritz-Carlton is no longer exclusively operated by Marriott. This is becoming a big problem because even when Marriott didn't own a hotel it still managed it. Now management...

      Franchising isn't just about others owning the hotels. Because Marriott moved this model it had the inevitable consequence of more franchisees either directly operating their franchise or hiring a third-party management company to do it. Marriott no longer manages most of its properties across all brands. Even Ritz-Carlton is no longer exclusively operated by Marriott. This is becoming a big problem because even when Marriott didn't own a hotel it still managed it. Now management is independent and Marriott's only revenue source is a sliver of revenue from each room. Presumably, it's a lot easier for a disgruntled owner to remove Marriott's flag completely if Marriott doesn't manage the property. Look at the couple hundred properties that literally de-flagged overnight and became Sonesta.

    2. stanislav pertsev

      Franchise agreements typically run anywhere from 10 to 25 years. Not that easy for a hotel owner to get out if Marriott does not want them to.

    3. FNT Delta Diamond

      Sonesta found a way.

      My guess is a lot of owners of older properties had clauses that prohibited Marriott from opening a similar hotel within so many miles. Marriott is getting around this with all these brands. Some hotels in SE Asia and elsewhere complained. I believe there's a lawsuit in Thailand or Singapore over this. It's probably just a question of whether an owner making money is willing to rock the boat and take...

      Sonesta found a way.

      My guess is a lot of owners of older properties had clauses that prohibited Marriott from opening a similar hotel within so many miles. Marriott is getting around this with all these brands. Some hotels in SE Asia and elsewhere complained. I believe there's a lawsuit in Thailand or Singapore over this. It's probably just a question of whether an owner making money is willing to rock the boat and take on Marriott over a breach in the agreement when Marriott is cutting their costs.

  97. Kevin

    The problem is this hotel loyalty model doesn’t work. If I’m the owner of a hotel and I have loyal customers come monthly to spend cash at my property, you bet I’ll up grade these customers’ rooms and go out of my way to be great to them. If I’m loyalist to Marriott and spending lots of money at their various hotels, when it comes to points redemption, of course I’m going to spend my...

    The problem is this hotel loyalty model doesn’t work. If I’m the owner of a hotel and I have loyal customers come monthly to spend cash at my property, you bet I’ll up grade these customers’ rooms and go out of my way to be great to them. If I’m loyalist to Marriott and spending lots of money at their various hotels, when it comes to points redemption, of course I’m going to spend my points at that aspirational property with my family even though I never patronize that hotel before.

    The only way for current hotel loyalty program to work is Marriott owns all the hotels. SPG worked because it’s a much smaller program that concentrate on higher end customers (ie higher margin). Bonvoy doesn’t work because it covers way too many properties that has mostly mid to lower end with few high end properties. People in general don’t redeem at mid to lower tier hotels because that gives you lowest bang for the buck so to speak. So you have a much larger group of loyalist that tries to redeem their points on just a few higher end properties. Hence satisfaction of everyone has been dragged down. Maybe someone should create another SPG program again.

    1. magice

      It's worth remembering this: the value of redemption, especially of mid- and low-tiers, is dictated by Marriott. *They* decide which hotels fall into which tier, and how much to charge for each tier.

      The thing about high-end is that there are hard mental limits with which people are stuck to. For example, 100K is a limit. Not that people won't redeem at that level, it's just that it's a mental jump. Going 95K to 105K...

      It's worth remembering this: the value of redemption, especially of mid- and low-tiers, is dictated by Marriott. *They* decide which hotels fall into which tier, and how much to charge for each tier.

      The thing about high-end is that there are hard mental limits with which people are stuck to. For example, 100K is a limit. Not that people won't redeem at that level, it's just that it's a mental jump. Going 95K to 105K feels like crossing the Rubicon, although it's less (percentage wise) than 20k to 30k.

      So the value of high-end redemption is limited by historical context, but mid- and low-tiers are not.

      The horrible value of mid- and low-tiers, thus, is due to *Marriott's* choice. They *can*, tomorrow, double the values of these redemption choices and relieve the pressure upon the high-end options. They *choose* not to. They *choose* to squeeze out any value anywhere they can get away with. That's on them, not the customers.

      Reversely, they can just do a Delta approach. Delta's miles have predictable value: around $0.01. They have sales from time to time, but as a rule of thumb, it's $0.01/mile. In that case, consumers stop seeking to "maximize" values, except in sales (which, you know, even hard cold cash bookings have sales). Marriott can just be truthful and go that route also and just push for a 1pt=some-fixed-value. In fact, that move would also be owner-friendly. If a point is, says, half a cent and is to be reimbursed at, says, 0.3 of a cent to the hotel (the difference being the cost of accounting and advertisement), the hotels and owners then no longer have reasons to differentiate between the 2 classes of bookings (points and $). This also removes the annoyances of inventory games.

      But Marriott refuse that path, too. They pretend that loyalty value is intangible (as in, not fixed), and that there have been little or no devaluation. However, they flex the rules to cheapen out that loyalty. Thus, they put the game out there to "maximize" the value of points. If there is a game, well, *of course* consumers would play it. Similarly, of course the hotels would play it. Instead of building mutual loyalty between hotels, brand, and consumers, the brand chooses to maximize *its* revenue and turns the hotels and consumers against each other.

      And thus, anyone still looking for any reason for loyalty with Marriott is Bonvoyed.

  98. Paul

    Marriott treats their business like it is their church, where membership can have its privileges. You belong, and, or you accept their premises or you attend when convenient and accept the limitations.

    Marriott is no longer my preferred hospitality provider because they ceased to regard their guests as valuable contributors, we are commodities.

    1. uldguy

      I think Marriott would be happiest if we would just tithe them 10% of our income and never stay at their properties.

    2. Zip Silver

      The gym membership model!

      Lock people into a contract, and most of them fall off of attendance but are still paying.

    3. Lune

      They're already in the timeshare business :-)

  99. Hotel Guest

    I can make my own bed at home. I don’t have to travel for business, so the hotels I will stay in will have full service. Period.
    I won’t be staying in “owner friendly” properties going forward. I think this will shake out though as successful companies have to treat customers well. Or fail.

  100. Endre

    When Marriott gives you the finger

  101. Evan

    In fairness to him, he never said Marriott switched to being owner friendly.... I read his spin as shifting the balance somewhere in the middle of those two priorities.

  102. eponymous coward

    “No alternatives”?

    Other than AirBnB and VRBO?

    :)

  103. G. N. Janes

    Ravi,

    If I’m spending all of my money on one particular brand, you’re damn right I want to be able to use my points wherever I want to for whatever room I want to. I don’t care who owns it. I’m paying for the brand.
    It’s very frustrating to watch these companies reward “loyalty” with increasingly smaller sets of benefits to benefit franchisees. This is why the government needs to step in and BLOCK...

    Ravi,

    If I’m spending all of my money on one particular brand, you’re damn right I want to be able to use my points wherever I want to for whatever room I want to. I don’t care who owns it. I’m paying for the brand.
    It’s very frustrating to watch these companies reward “loyalty” with increasingly smaller sets of benefits to benefit franchisees. This is why the government needs to step in and BLOCK these monopolistic practices. This IS collusion and it mirrors what has happened in the airline industry. Break these things up and let’s see who wins in the marketplace.

  104. Ryan

    I was an SPG loyalist, eventually earning lifetime platinum status that I still have at Marriott today. What I loved was the simplicity of the program, easy redemptions, value I felt as an elite, and honesty and transparency of the program's leadership. Bonvoy has none of the above in my experience, and I've cancelled my credit card and now barely register more than 2-3 nights a year.

    I fear though that he's right in that...

    I was an SPG loyalist, eventually earning lifetime platinum status that I still have at Marriott today. What I loved was the simplicity of the program, easy redemptions, value I felt as an elite, and honesty and transparency of the program's leadership. Bonvoy has none of the above in my experience, and I've cancelled my credit card and now barely register more than 2-3 nights a year.

    I fear though that he's right in that what used to be the norm won't return. Look at the airlines after 9/11 - they cut basically all meal service, significantly devalued loyalty programs, added fees for checked baggage and many seat assignments, added crazy 'fees and fuel surcharges', etc. etc. It was understandable while they were bleeding money... but of course a few years later (after many of them merged and eliminated competitors they started raking in the cash), they simply gave it all away in the form of share buy backs (and then came with their hands out once again when COVID-19 hit) rather than return to what used to be...

  105. RF

    Bonvoy conned many SPG loyalists into staying in the new program with promos during the transition. But now that is over, do they really think customers like getting continuously bonvoyed with cuts and devaluations to the program? Anthony Capuano is an idiot.
    Speak with your wallets and go seek out a better loyalty program.

  106. CF_Frost

    They have essentially killed Bonvoy as a way to retain business.

  107. Eskimo

    I actually respect him a lot more.

    But he never tries to spin it off as an enhancement. Is this a devalue, yes but he admits it.

    At least he is being straightforward and honest.
    He admits tipping more towards owners.
    His hint of short term memory means he admits Covid devaluations are staying for good.

    Do I like his policy. As a customer, absolutely no.

    1. DenB

      I respect him, cuz instead of lying and saying that he isn't gonna urinate in my Ginger Ale, he's telling me, honestly, that he's gonna urinate in my Ginger Ale.

    2. Eskimo

      To be fair, you also saw him urinate in your Ginger Ale too.
      Yes, and hopefully you're not full of sarcasm enough to drink Ginger Piss Ale.

      Or would you prefer Mr. H that claims your Ginger Ale is mixed with an enhanced special blend to make it taste better for you, even when you saw Mr. H urinate in your Ginger Ale.

      And I guess you should be smart enough to know respect doesn't equal more business.

  108. Allen

    When I hear his argument that it's ok that an excellent loyalty program has been replaced by a mediocre one because it has more hotels, I can't help but recall the episode of the Office where Mike attempts to convince his subordinates that's it's better to have a lot of mediocre pizza than a moderate amount of excellent pizza. The response of the office workers was unanimous because it's obvious to everyone with any sense.

    ...

    When I hear his argument that it's ok that an excellent loyalty program has been replaced by a mediocre one because it has more hotels, I can't help but recall the episode of the Office where Mike attempts to convince his subordinates that's it's better to have a lot of mediocre pizza than a moderate amount of excellent pizza. The response of the office workers was unanimous because it's obvious to everyone with any sense.

    Michael: Okay, okay, what’s better? A medium amount of good pizza? Or all you can eat of pretty good pizza?
    All: Medium amount of good pizza.

    1. DenB

      One bottle of Krug, once a year. Diet Coke the rest of the time.

  109. TravelerMSY

    “We really wish we never started competing by giving stuff away. Now we want to stop, but you miles and points guys keep crucifying us.”

  110. ND

    There are some good hotels in Marriott’s portfolio, however that doesn’t change the fact that Bonvoy sucks. If I stay at a Luxury Collection or a St. Regis, it is because I like the property. I won’t give Marriott any additional business because of Bonvoy. Hotel service levels must remain competitive with the best. If Marriott looks to Motel 6 as its peer for service, I’m not interested. After all, hospitality is a service business.

    1. DenB

      I regularly "give Marriott any additional business because of Bonvoy"

  111. Bob

    I started this game right around when the Marriott merger happened and given how SPG loyalists were feeling at the time, I gave them a hard pass. I'm currently Hyatt Globalist and Hilton Diamond and I've never stayed at a Marriott and hopefully will never have to

  112. Ravi

    As an owner of multiple hotels across the US and Canada, this is exactly why my company chooses to do more business with Marriott. One of the coolest ideas talked about is allowing the owners to block dates for points redemptions for our best customers first. Instead of someone who's never spent at one of our premiere properties being given first dibs to use points, we can instead hold the space and assign to a...

    As an owner of multiple hotels across the US and Canada, this is exactly why my company chooses to do more business with Marriott. One of the coolest ideas talked about is allowing the owners to block dates for points redemptions for our best customers first. Instead of someone who's never spent at one of our premiere properties being given first dibs to use points, we can instead hold the space and assign to a loyal guest vs someone who signed up for a credit card.

    Nothing wrong with the points hoarders but I think limiting them to Class/Tier 1 hotels is the eventual move across all of the major chains. That way you can still travel and see the world but not hit revenue as hard.

    1. Abey

      Ravi about to get toasted on this blog…

      It’s not about right or wrong it’s about who customers will choose to use as a brand

    2. Bob

      Your perspective is exactly why I avoid Marriotts like the plague. Hyatt has had my business for a while and I'd rather stay at an Airbnb than a Marriott

    3. Dan

      So Ravi, you are telling me you don't want me to pay to stay at your "high-end" hotels because they are part of the Marriot brand.

      If I can't use my points at "high-end" hotels, that I earn when I pay to stay at your property, I won't pay or redeem to stay at your property. Why would the brand you pay to belong to, be of any value to me as a customer or...

      So Ravi, you are telling me you don't want me to pay to stay at your "high-end" hotels because they are part of the Marriot brand.

      If I can't use my points at "high-end" hotels, that I earn when I pay to stay at your property, I won't pay or redeem to stay at your property. Why would the brand you pay to belong to, be of any value to me as a customer or to you as a business?

      Did you just graduate with one of those $100,000 MBAs, that are now fully online because of COVID? :-)

    4. Lara S.

      I think, Dan, what he was saying was people who sign up for a CC to get status and accumulate points by using the CC should be restricted to redeem them to lower tier properties bc they won't EVER spend cash at a hotel and especially not a high end one. He is basically saying he doesn't want to lose money on folks who are more loyal to a CC than his hotel. It's not...

      I think, Dan, what he was saying was people who sign up for a CC to get status and accumulate points by using the CC should be restricted to redeem them to lower tier properties bc they won't EVER spend cash at a hotel and especially not a high end one. He is basically saying he doesn't want to lose money on folks who are more loyal to a CC than his hotel. It's not dumb if you are a rich hotel owner and want to make a lot of money and don't care how you get it. It is for pretty much anyone else who is reading what he wrote.

    5. FNT Delta Diamond

      Except Marriott pays him whenever someone uses points, even points accumulated with a one-off credit card sign-up bonus. The idea that any hotel is hurting because folks are paying with points is absurd. Moreover, those free night chits that come with the credit cards are pretty much worthless anywhere in North America since they're limited to like 35,000 points per night. With a few exceptions, 35,000 points basically limits that free night to a roadside...

      Except Marriott pays him whenever someone uses points, even points accumulated with a one-off credit card sign-up bonus. The idea that any hotel is hurting because folks are paying with points is absurd. Moreover, those free night chits that come with the credit cards are pretty much worthless anywhere in North America since they're limited to like 35,000 points per night. With a few exceptions, 35,000 points basically limits that free night to a roadside Fairfield or Courtyard.

    6. Darin

      If you are truly a hotel owner, you need to brush up on your understanding of loyalty marketing. Bonvoy is an advantage for you because it brings people into the hotel who wouldn’t have otherwise stayed there. Offering aspirational stays is a cornerstone of people utilizing the program. Telling people they can only use points for Courtyards in Dubuque would destroy the value of Bonvoy and your incremental stays.

    7. DenB

      As an owner, Ravi sees "hoarders" as lower priority, compared to the "loyal guest" who pays retail repeatedly. That's fine, as far as it goes. But the points bookings sell otherwise empty rooms. The inventory has a hard "best before" date and Bonvoy sells expiring product and creates brand loyalty. If the Ravis of this world want to stop selling cheap to "hoarders" they can drop Bonvoy and charge full pop for every guest. But...

      As an owner, Ravi sees "hoarders" as lower priority, compared to the "loyal guest" who pays retail repeatedly. That's fine, as far as it goes. But the points bookings sell otherwise empty rooms. The inventory has a hard "best before" date and Bonvoy sells expiring product and creates brand loyalty. If the Ravis of this world want to stop selling cheap to "hoarders" they can drop Bonvoy and charge full pop for every guest. But if he likes the revenue and traffic that Bonvoy delivers to his door, it only works if we "hoarders" perceive value in the redemption. I'll pay hundreds of thousands of points for a week at St Regis, if it's an authentic St Regis experience. Start trashing us, make us sit in the back, take our points and treat us different, and see how it works out for you.

      I get it. The owners have had a terrible thrashing. Worldwide, the suffering among staff and shareholders is epic. "Hoarders" don't look like the solution, short term. What's needed is a tsunami of Big Spenders!... paying new, higher prices, accepting lower service standards! ... tipping lavishly!

      Newsflash: a healthy hotel ecosystem, including the Loyalty space, is the solution.
      Marriott's Chief should show the owners why we're a big part of the solution; it looks like he's pandering to their prejudices instead.

      Are we taking more than we give, dear Hotelier? I call your bluff. Go independent and I'll see ya around.

    8. FNT Delta Diamond

      It doesn't help when the development division (aka finding owners to plant new Marriott flags) or the managed by Marriott division (aka the folks who manage the plurality of Marriott properties operated by Marriott and not an owner or a third-party management company) undercut the loyalty division (aka David Flueck who runs Bonvoy) by actively working with owners and third-party management companies to undercut Bonvoy and find ways around defined benefits, like not providing coffee...

      It doesn't help when the development division (aka finding owners to plant new Marriott flags) or the managed by Marriott division (aka the folks who manage the plurality of Marriott properties operated by Marriott and not an owner or a third-party management company) undercut the loyalty division (aka David Flueck who runs Bonvoy) by actively working with owners and third-party management companies to undercut Bonvoy and find ways around defined benefits, like not providing coffee as part of breakfast because the breakfast benefit doesn't expressly require a property to provide complimentary coffee.

    9. Nick

      Den, it appears that Ravi doesn't want leisure travelers. Too much fuss. Instead it appears that he only wants a steady stream of corporate bookings via Concur and similar tools where he benefits from agreements with Marriott. Fewer expectations, more expense accounts and probably more time sensitive guests willing to put up with less as long as they are in a property of a chain endorsed by their employer.

      I think this is a big...

      Den, it appears that Ravi doesn't want leisure travelers. Too much fuss. Instead it appears that he only wants a steady stream of corporate bookings via Concur and similar tools where he benefits from agreements with Marriott. Fewer expectations, more expense accounts and probably more time sensitive guests willing to put up with less as long as they are in a property of a chain endorsed by their employer.

      I think this is a big reason why we now see the Autograph, Curio, Unbound, etc across the chains. They don't really want a brand standard, they just want a way into Concur and not be labeled an independent (which comes with some risk to the business traveler).

      For a more fundamental question, why does anybody need more than limited service these days for business travel, unless they are attending a group meeting? Does anybody use a business center any more?? And most attendees at group meetings don't have sufficient status anyway.

    10. FNT Delta Diamond

      I spent $37,000 last year (2020) with Marriott on my own rooms. This year, I've already spent $30,000 and it's only July. I spend another $150,000 in entertaining customers or prospects with 8-12 small-scale getaway-type meetings/junkets. Please let me know what properties you own so I can be sure to avoid giving you a cent of my business. If you want to reward "your" customers then remove Marriott's flag and become an independent hotel. Of...

      I spent $37,000 last year (2020) with Marriott on my own rooms. This year, I've already spent $30,000 and it's only July. I spend another $150,000 in entertaining customers or prospects with 8-12 small-scale getaway-type meetings/junkets. Please let me know what properties you own so I can be sure to avoid giving you a cent of my business. If you want to reward "your" customers then remove Marriott's flag and become an independent hotel. Of course, you won't do that because you depend upon Marriott for a large percentage of your business.

    11. Eskimo

      @FNT Delta Diamond

      Please let me know, what you are selling. I'm definitely a prospect. I'm willing to be part of your 8-12 small-scale getaway-type meetings/junkets, preferably in Hawaii or Caribbean.

    12. Dr.plantain

      Hey Ravi, please let me know what hotels you own so that I can make sure to NEVER stay at your properties and I’ll make sure to spread the word as well.

  113. Abey

    I’ll I can say to all this is “Bless the free market” this is opportunity for other hotel groups to show costumers what a great loyalty brand looks like and actual service looks like and yes that is Hyatt which I’ve taken to exclusively use. Unfortunately Marriott is targeting the every day traveler and barely even signed up for the loyalty program and just expect a uniform brand and some “points” that he will use...

    I’ll I can say to all this is “Bless the free market” this is opportunity for other hotel groups to show costumers what a great loyalty brand looks like and actual service looks like and yes that is Hyatt which I’ve taken to exclusively use. Unfortunately Marriott is targeting the every day traveler and barely even signed up for the loyalty program and just expect a uniform brand and some “points” that he will use in 10 years from now.. and I suspect they will be successful at it but frequent travelers have to band together and protect the brands that we love so they can continue serving us.

    1. Lara S.

      Its like the Delta v United v AA thing- if Hyatt charges more but gives a much better product, and Marriott is a slum lord but is cheaper, you will see how people vote with their money. Delta is nicer service and quality in general (though they are being the slowest to bring back proper food and drink) but costs more and its loyalty points are harder to spend, but United and AA are bad...

      Its like the Delta v United v AA thing- if Hyatt charges more but gives a much better product, and Marriott is a slum lord but is cheaper, you will see how people vote with their money. Delta is nicer service and quality in general (though they are being the slowest to bring back proper food and drink) but costs more and its loyalty points are harder to spend, but United and AA are bad at service/food/whatever though a little cheaper, what is more important? The problem is that with hotels there are only a few options globally that have rewards programs and depth of property saturation to compete. We will see if people move or not (I am guessing not, people are creatures of habit). I am moving my loyalty away from the unholy pairing of United and Marriott due to all of this.

    2. Abey

      I do hope your wrong on the consumer choice. If something DL being the fastest growing and UA following it’s lead in trying to provide a better experience, gives me hope. Hyatt can only stay profitable so long if consumers don’t give them more business

  114. FNT Delta Diamond

    The best part is his family and kids almost exclusively stay at non-Marriott hotels when on vacation, according to their social media posts. Marriott is so bad that even the CEO’s family won’t stay at its brands.

    1. David

      And bear in mind that Marriott's CEO (and family) has the secret "Five Stars" status level, yet they would still not stay at their own chain.

  115. MRL

    I'm interested in where you see Hyatt in this trend, Ben, as the remaining historically guest friendly program.

  116. John

    "as hotels will become higher margin."

    That's just not logical. In a competitive market you can't offer less and charge the same amount. It would be like Toyota saying we're going to strip out the sound deadening, use cheaper plastics, remove features on the RX so it's just like a Highlander. But we're still going to charge Lexus prices. Think of all the money we'll make!

    Um...that's not a thing.

    Also, in terms of...

    "as hotels will become higher margin."

    That's just not logical. In a competitive market you can't offer less and charge the same amount. It would be like Toyota saying we're going to strip out the sound deadening, use cheaper plastics, remove features on the RX so it's just like a Highlander. But we're still going to charge Lexus prices. Think of all the money we'll make!

    Um...that's not a thing.

    Also, in terms of the newfound realization that we've been too generous with allowing anti-consumer mergers. They need to break up Marriott.

    1. NSS

      It's happening in a ton of other categories. Airlines charge the same for less legroom. Food companies sell smaller packages for the same price. You can vote with your wallet or not. But it ain't just hotels.

      I just had a pretty bad experience at a W on the West Coast but I'm not moving to Hyatt any time to start over building status.

    2. John

      "Airlines charge the same for less legroom. "

      IIRC Delta and United are looking to gain market share by offering a product better than AA's Oasis. A lot of that has been due to Delta proving that you can charge more for a better product.

    3. NSS

      And IIRC American, Spirit, Frontier, RyanAir, and more aren't taking seats out to provide a better customer experience.

      Not sure what your point is, but thanks?

    4. Lara S.

      Yeah this is a case study in how consumers lose out when businesses absorb their competitors. There is clearly a winner and a loser and its shareholders not loyalists or customers. And I am going to guess that Marriott contributes to politicians heavily, and has stockholders who do the same.

      Which is basically what you get when USG is supported by companies donations to campaigns and lobbyists can influence for their companies. It all ties together.

    5. Sonja L Marshall

      Sounds about right.

  117. INS Vikrant

    I just had the courtyard nyc world trade center cancel my reservation for next week with no help finding alternative accomodations.

    I contacted bonvoy twitter support but they are just forwarding to the hotel’s GM (who was the one who cancelled my res).

    Do I have recourse here at all? What happened to the ultimate guarantee?

    1. Sir Walter Raleigh

      You've been bonvoyed — good luck.

    2. Steven

      Yes, an action in small claims court for damages due to breach of contract.

      Send a polite letter to the GM with a cc to the owner of the hotel saying that they've breached their contract with you and unless they rectify the situation you'll be forced to take action to cover your losses.

      BTW some states allow for damages above your actual losses in small claims cases. So in Oregon for example if you...

      Yes, an action in small claims court for damages due to breach of contract.

      Send a polite letter to the GM with a cc to the owner of the hotel saying that they've breached their contract with you and unless they rectify the situation you'll be forced to take action to cover your losses.

      BTW some states allow for damages above your actual losses in small claims cases. So in Oregon for example if you have to pay say $150 more to say somewhere else you can sue for $5,150. That gets peoples attention which is of course the point discouraging them from reneging on their obligations.

  118. Alonzo

    I’m not sure why anyone would be surprised by these comments. They were meant to appease shareholders. Shareholders keep him as CEO, not customers. Marriott isn’t going anywhere no matter how much folks dislike Bonvoy. So yeah, buy some Marriott stock. He said what the CEO's of Hilton and Hyatt were afraid to say. Will Marriott lose business/market share over this? No.

    1. John

      "Will Marriott lose business/market share over this? No."

      If it offered less service for a lower price that might work. Their plan of offering less service for the same price just isn't a thing.

    2. Alonzo

      The entire hospitality industry is offering less service for higher prices. Where is that not the case? Prices have gone up across the board, service has not. You can't even get a hot meal on AA right now in first class. Hotel prices are up across the board while still offering limited service in most major markets.

    3. John

      Hyatt is being much better about returning to previous service standards than Marriott. So your theory that it's universal is just not correct.

    4. DAVID

      John,

      I agree with your comments totally. I was a loyal SPG member because they went the extra mile for there guests. My second hotel brand was Hyatt and I was very sad when Marriott out bid Hyatt for the SPG! If I was just starting out with my business career, I would differently choose Hyatt as choice of hotel program.

    5. MikeFreebie

      It’s a thing now, John. If they’re successful at keeping revenue high and lowering costs, they win.

      If enough people switch to Airbnb, VBRO, or small boutique hotels, then they’ll reverse their course.

      They probably figure that anyone they lose can be brought back cheaply with a few bonus or perk offers, so it’s a relatively low-risk gamble.

    6. BlackHill

      If you carefully read his recent interviews, he clearly mentions his(Marriott's) customers are the hotel owners and we are customers to the hotel owners not to Marriott.

      So the company focus is on hotel owners and to maximize their return and NOT the customer's like us who stay at their properties.

    7. DenB

      If you don't understand the business model, you're the product

  119. DRJ

    Marriott Bonvoy removed my YOUR24 facility midway through the year, and added an extra 100 nights to the previous condition for becoming Platinum for life just before I reached the 500 nights mark.
    I can't say I am surprised by this.

  120. david

    all while hotel prices are skyrocketing

  121. Dylan

    Another disappointing bonvoy moment

  122. Terence

    He put it politely that 'We are too big to fail.' from the coverage's perspective - both in terms of the footprint and loyalty programme members.

Featured Comments Load all 179 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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DenB

I respect him, cuz instead of lying and saying that he isn't gonna urinate in my Ginger Ale, he's telling me, honestly, that he's gonna urinate in my Ginger Ale.

FNT Delta Diamond

The best part is his family and kids almost exclusively stay at non-Marriott hotels when on vacation, according to their social media posts. Marriott is so bad that even the CEO’s family won’t stay at its brands.

Kevin

The problem is this hotel loyalty model doesn’t work. If I’m the owner of a hotel and I have loyal customers come monthly to spend cash at my property, you bet I’ll up grade these customers’ rooms and go out of my way to be great to them. If I’m loyalist to Marriott and spending lots of money at their various hotels, when it comes to points redemption, of course I’m going to spend my points at that aspirational property with my family even though I never patronize that hotel before. The only way for current hotel loyalty program to work is Marriott owns all the hotels. SPG worked because it’s a much smaller program that concentrate on higher end customers (ie higher margin). Bonvoy doesn’t work because it covers way too many properties that has mostly mid to lower end with few high end properties. People in general don’t redeem at mid to lower tier hotels because that gives you lowest bang for the buck so to speak. So you have a much larger group of loyalist that tries to redeem their points on just a few higher end properties. Hence satisfaction of everyone has been dragged down. Maybe someone should create another SPG program again.

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