Good Riddance: Marriott Looks To Cut Alarm Clocks

Good Riddance: Marriott Looks To Cut Alarm Clocks

55

There’s no denying that hotels are doing a lot of cost cutting as they slowly emerge from the pandemic, and hope to become higher margin businesses. While most hotel cost cutting is bad news for guests, here’s a change that I can get behind.

Marriott eliminating in-room alarm clocks

Scott Mayerowitz sat in on a meeting of Marriott executives at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit, and a surprising topic came up — alarm clocks. Marriott’s group president for the United States and Canada talked about how the company is rethinking how some things are done, and specifically pointed out how alarm clocks are a relic of the past that are no longer needed:

“The key thing is we have to be able to figure out how to service our guests at the end of the day. And the vast majority of our owners would agree with us. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to look at some of those things that are historic in nature and have no application in terms of the real life we live in today.”

So while there’s no formal timeline for alarm clocks being removed from Marriott’s brands, it does sound like the world’s largest hotel group is heading in the direction of eliminating these, at least at newly built properties.

Expect Marriott properties to no longer have alarm clocks

This is a change I’m in favor of

View from the Wing is staunchly opposed to this change, arguing that “eliminating clocks from rooms means potentially getting less rest.” Here’s Gary’s argument:

People may be able to use their phones as alarm clocks, though try teaching some older guests to do that (they may have smart phones but that doesn’t mean they know how to use their apps).

And the last thing I want to do in the middle of the night is pick up my phone from the night stand and look at it. Far better for going back to sleep to turn and look over. Besides, how many hotels have I been in where I can’t even plug my phone in by the bedside – with whatever limited outlets there are taken by lamps and the like?

I see where Gary is coming from, though I have a different take:

  • Regarding Gary’s mention of older guests, I think my dad is the perfect example of this — yeah, he totally doesn’t know how to set an alarm on an iPhone, but he sure as heck can’t figure out how to set an alarm clock he has never used before either; fortunately virtually all hotels offer wake up calls, which I think is the preferred method for these kinds of guests to be woken up (actually, in the case of my dad, he just asks me to call him when he wants to wake up)
  • Personally alarm clocks have cost me rest — I can’t count the number of times I’ve had an alarm go off at a time that I didn’t want, because the previous guest set it
  • Often alarm clocks don’t actually state the correct time, and I also often find that they’re way too bright at night, to the point that they’re like a distracting light
  • Alarm clocks are kind of gross — I find that many hotels have really old alarm clocks (like, ones that often have those charging ports from first generation iPhones), and I can’t help but wonder how well they’re cleaned, since they’re harder to clean than some other surfaces

Of course these things aren’t all-or-nothing. Is it nice to sometimes glance at a clock rather than picking up your phone and having your brain stimulated from other notifications? Yes. But if you ask me, the minuses outweigh the pluses.

Bottom line

Marriott is looking to eliminate alarm clocks from rooms, noting that they’re historic but not widely used nowadays. Personally this is one cost cutting change I’m very much in favor of. I find alarm clocks to be more of an inconvenience than anything else. I’ve never set a hotel alarm clock, but I’ve certainly had my fair share of them go off due to previous guests having set them. For those who need to be woken up, there are always wake-up call.

Where do you stand on hotel room alarm clocks?

Conversations (55)
Oldest comments are displayed first.

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Max

    One point you could use in arguing with Gary is that with the removal of alarm clock, one essentially free a power outlet that could be used for phone charger.

  2. Nancy

    Why is this even considered newsworthy? So what if Marriott decides to do away with alarm clocks. I'm sure they'll have a couple in the back for those that need them, and there's wake up call service as well. In a day and age when everyone including children have cell phones, hardly anyone uses alarm clocks anymore. Why must every decision that a company makes be put to the scrutiny of everyone? If you don't...

    Why is this even considered newsworthy? So what if Marriott decides to do away with alarm clocks. I'm sure they'll have a couple in the back for those that need them, and there's wake up call service as well. In a day and age when everyone including children have cell phones, hardly anyone uses alarm clocks anymore. Why must every decision that a company makes be put to the scrutiny of everyone? If you don't like it; go somewhere else. They are probably sell6 them to Motel 6.

  3. E Ef

    I can't count the number of times the front desk staff didn't program my wake up call or even call me. I can't always program the alarm clock but at least it's there. This is a case of fixing something that isn't broken. Join the 21st century Marriott and put in some usb ports and desktop plugs- I haven't seen any at a Marriott in some time. Oh, I forgot, the customer comes last.

  4. Brad Waterman

    Bibles should be next

  5. Kay

    I use alarm clocks in every hotel I stay in. Not everyone has a smart phone. The cost to stay in a hotel is high as it is. I doubt ridding a small clock will save that much money. They already cut staff and food as it is.

  6. Margie POWER

    Good riddance! I usually unplug the alarm clock so it doesn't wake me at the previous guest's desired time. I can set my phone or ask the hotel for a wakeup call, or both if I have a hard wakeup deadline to meet a flight.

  7. khatl

    Totally agree. Get rid of them. Alarm clocks are terrible for all the reasons you note. Nothing worse than an alarm at 4am when you forget to check the clock before turning in.

    Worse, I hate the clocks that have ridiculously bright displays (that cannot be altered), and which, when you turn over in the night, almost burn through your eyelids to wake you up.

    I make it a point to unplug or turn away...

    Totally agree. Get rid of them. Alarm clocks are terrible for all the reasons you note. Nothing worse than an alarm at 4am when you forget to check the clock before turning in.

    Worse, I hate the clocks that have ridiculously bright displays (that cannot be altered), and which, when you turn over in the night, almost burn through your eyelids to wake you up.

    I make it a point to unplug or turn away all alarm clocks. I know unplugging may frustrate folks... but not as much me being woken up by a bright clock at 4am.

  8. Frog

    Nightstand space is at a premium in hotel rooms. I’d rather have more space for my charger, phone, iPad, etc. The alarm clock just gets in the way.

  9. Richard

    I unplug the damn alarm clocks in hotel rooms due to the light from the alarm clock. I need dark to sleep. The red light on the TV and the red display on the alarm clock are both problematic. The smart phone works for the alarm clock. I wouldn't have a clue to to set the alarm on the clock in the room.

  10. Tmart

    No real problems with removing the alarm clocks, but every room shows have a clock(non alarm).

  11. Dean D

    I support keeping the alarm clocks, even though I have been awakened by another guests settings. I don't care so much about the alarm, but do want a clock in the room.

    I don't like to have to grab my phone and glasses just to see what time it is.

    If you don't want an alarm clock, unplug it....

  12. Lw

    Awesome. Support alarm clocks being removed. Useless and always its set to wake me up when I didn't even touch it.

  13. glenn t

    I never ever use a hotel alarm clock. I do like being able to glance at the time though.
    I always set my smartphone alarm, making absolutely sure the auto time-zone function is ON ! Nothing worse than waking up in the previous time-zone during long distance travel. haha.

  14. Luckyladyd

    Yay Marriott! Take those dinosaurs out of every room!

  15. j reg

    A middle ground. Remove them from rooms but have a few on hand for guests who want them to request.

  16. panda

    Couldn’t agree more. Most hotel alarm clocks are harder to set than phones and their light makes it harder to sleep. Why would you care what time it is if you wake up in the middle of the night? If is really is that important to you then put a wristwatch on the nightstand.

  17. philelltt

    A travel writer for one of the points websites regularly writes he puts a request for wake up call with the front desk. If they get it wrong, he then asks for (and gets) 10000 points as compensation.

    1. Eskimo

      You mean the guy in the lobby that opens a clinic?

      He really is using his fame to get special treatments. And seems to take full advantage of any mistake (including fares). But to be fair to him, he does stand up for customer's rights and even fights on behalf of his readers to make things right.

  18. RF

    Wake up calls are an acceptable replacement for alarm clocks. Just wait for Bonvoy to charge for this also. Or worse, list it as part of a mandatory fee.

    1. Regis

      Or an elite benefits. Wake up calls only for platinum and above. Let us not give these people any ideas.

  19. take me home

    this makes sense to me. It will give a lot more space on the table. Hopefully Marriott will use the area to ensure a system to recharge phones, tablets etc.

  20. Donna

    Good riddance. Should have happened a decade ago. I’ve stayed in hotels where the alarm clock has gone off in the empty room next door in the middle of the night and the on-duty staff couldn’t or wouldn’t go up and turn it off!

    I have never, ever used one. Even back before smart phones, I used a digital watch alarm or I asked for a wake up call. And as for the time...

    Good riddance. Should have happened a decade ago. I’ve stayed in hotels where the alarm clock has gone off in the empty room next door in the middle of the night and the on-duty staff couldn’t or wouldn’t go up and turn it off!

    I have never, ever used one. Even back before smart phones, I used a digital watch alarm or I asked for a wake up call. And as for the time feature, 90% of those room alarm clocks do not have the correct time and you have to set them. Honestly, I don’t wake up at night wondering about what time it is and if I did, my cell phone is right there.

    1. John D

      Well personally I do like having the alarm clocks there. It is a lot easier to quickly look at the alarm clock to check the time than to fumble for your phone.

      In my travels I have never had a problem with a alarm clock going off in an adjacent room and most of the time the clocks are correct unless you find a situation where a person before you changed it to match...

      Well personally I do like having the alarm clocks there. It is a lot easier to quickly look at the alarm clock to check the time than to fumble for your phone.

      In my travels I have never had a problem with a alarm clock going off in an adjacent room and most of the time the clocks are correct unless you find a situation where a person before you changed it to match their home time zone.

      However I rarely used them for alarms instead using my phone but never trying to get a wake up call. Had a few of those screwed up over the years.

  21. 100k

    Rather not have it there. I just use my phone or laptop. I call front desk for a wake up call if it’s a morning flight.

  22. Bob

    This is an excellent change. Unplugging the alarm clock is usually high on my checklist when I arrive in a hotel room. Too much light. Unreliable. Goes off at random hours in the middle of the night. I use my phone for an alarm at home as well.

    My phone has a clock. My computer has a clock. The television has a clock.

    My phone has multiple alarms that I can customize based on need...

    This is an excellent change. Unplugging the alarm clock is usually high on my checklist when I arrive in a hotel room. Too much light. Unreliable. Goes off at random hours in the middle of the night. I use my phone for an alarm at home as well.

    My phone has a clock. My computer has a clock. The television has a clock.

    My phone has multiple alarms that I can customize based on need or day of the week. My phone's alarm settings work the same regardless of where I am, which hotel chain, country, or if I'm at home. My phone is always in my native language.

    Hotel room clocks are a useless anachronism.

  23. Taylor

    For those who don't like looking at your phone for the time in the middle of the night because of notifications, just put your phone on airplane mode before you go to sleep. Then you can see the time without getting any distractions plus it preserves the battery.

  24. Wil Emerson

    The alarms. Locks are devil's work. Annoying, makes you want to bash them on the wall. To add injury to the unexpected ring ding buzz at 4 a.m. by some careless jerk who's doing coke when normals want to sleep, the light from an outer planet hits you right in the eye everything you turn. Water boarding is less effective.

  25. Louie

    Lately, I've noticed that the alarm clock is frequently unplugged so that people can plug in their phones. If they're getting rid of the alarm clocks, then they need to make power outlets available and easily accessible near the nightstand for people's phones.

    Btw, I also like having a clock in the room, but it doesn't have to be a digital alarm clock. A simple wall clock is fine.

    One feature that hotels can easily...

    Lately, I've noticed that the alarm clock is frequently unplugged so that people can plug in their phones. If they're getting rid of the alarm clocks, then they need to make power outlets available and easily accessible near the nightstand for people's phones.

    Btw, I also like having a clock in the room, but it doesn't have to be a digital alarm clock. A simple wall clock is fine.

    One feature that hotels can easily remove is the phone in the bathroom. I know hotels do that to meet some AAA standard, but it's really not necessary.

  26. Andy

    I agree that it’s a good move. In addition to Ben’s experience, I also find them too bright, which means I have to put them into a drawer or cover them with a towel. It’s not a life or death issue, but bottom line it’s more convenient to get rid of them.

  27. Eskimo

    Very funny that people here are taking "wake up call" for granted just like the having an alarm clock in room.
    You say remove the clock because I have a wake up call set up.
    If I'm Marriott, the next thing I will cut after the alarm is the phone.
    Need to contact front desk, use your app or the smart tv.

  28. Steve

    Great news, no more having to go get a bath towel to cover the extreme brightness of the alarm clock!

  29. Rohit Dahya

    This is just another item that will go to landfill. This should of been done a decade ago. Remove as they go out or break. All they are trying to do is please the hotel owners, by showing they care. But in really they are causing more guest related complaints and frustration. When all they have to do is find a mutual financial solution to reduce cost between the franchise and franchisees.

  30. Sam

    I hate hotel alarm clocks because they always display the wrong time, at least by a few minutes. I also can't count the number of times the clock has been going off in the room next door until someone from hotel staff comes to turn it off.

    I do, however, like having a clock I can glance at in a room. I think a good compromise is to just loose clocks with the alarm function and go with a networked clock to always show the right time and maybe the weather.

  31. Ivezdad

    @ AI
    In my opinion Orthodox Jews can set an alarm on their cellphones, there apps that shut down according to your setting.

    Good riddens to the alarm clocks that go off at 4:30 AM. The sham eis that Marriot never designed a clock that would reset all alarms when the room becomes vacant. Then again, this is the same Marriot that allowed alarm clocks with screens that emitted no light so they could only be read during daylight.

  32. Nate

    No issues with getting rid of alarm clocks, but what are we getting instead? We are still paying the same rate if I'm not mistaken

  33. Jumpseatflyer

    Fully agree that it's an unnecessary relic of the past and I don't remember using an in-room alarm clock even once in any hotel stay. Beside the fact that I don't trust them without setting a test alarm first, I also agree that setting the alarm on an alarm clock can be more tricky (and more gross) than on any mobile app. So, for those few people who really don't have any other option on...

    Fully agree that it's an unnecessary relic of the past and I don't remember using an in-room alarm clock even once in any hotel stay. Beside the fact that I don't trust them without setting a test alarm first, I also agree that setting the alarm on an alarm clock can be more tricky (and more gross) than on any mobile app. So, for those few people who really don't have any other option on hand, just use wake up calls.

    Better provide other things as a standard, like integrated wireless chargers, good and free wi-fi etc.

  34. Jeremy

    I hate this change. I don't sleep well and when I wake up in the middle of the night I need to know what time it is in order to fall back asleep. Yeah, weird - but just how my brain is wired. A mobile device is far less than idea for this purpose. Now I'm going to have to haul a travel alarm clock, good thing I rarely stay at Marriott properties these days.

    1. Jumpseatflyer

      I absolutely understand and feel this need, but I think this could also be solved with a different approach than with a regular standalone alarm clock. There are multiple ways to integrate a simple clock display nicely into a room.

  35. patrick

    OK.. I'll admit it. It's me. I'm the one who set the alarm for 2:00 a.m. :-)

  36. NSS

    No clocks means less electricity means lower room rates! I kid, I kid.

    Textuality is right - if it's life or death, get a tiny travel clock.

    One less thing to clean, one less thing for all guests to touch. Throw them all out today. I always unplug them so they don't go off randomly.

  37. Morgan

    Completely agree, my 80 year old grandmother still always gets hotels to do a wake up call for her, and especially at the rate of technological advancement alarm clocks seem to very quickly become inferior to other pieces of tech. Well done Marriott!

    1. Beachfan

      Not all clocks are alarm clocks.

      Reaching for your phone at 4:40 am when jet lagged is not good as just glancing at a clock and the going back to sleep

      Sometimes there isn’t a good outlet by the bed, or it’s needed for another device.

      No clock no bueno.

    2. Mike

      You know how to make sure there's an outlet by the bed for your phone? Remove the alarm clock next to the bed that was using it.

  38. D3kingg

    @Brooks
    FYI If you ever want to know what time it is there is a time display on your mobile device.

    One of the first things I do after checking into a hotel room is unplug the alarm clock. If you’ve ever been woken up at 4:45am by an alarm clock set by the previous hotel guest you’ll never forget it.
    Anyone who still needs an alarm clock instead of using their mobile phone is 55+ yrs old.

    1. Eskimo

      I still see plenty of 55+ years old staying in hotels. Age discrimination?

      Not all wake up calls are reliable. And under the same logic of removing the alarm clock. I'm willing to bet the next thing that is gone will be the phone, LOL.

      Maybe the remove the clock so that they can provide it by request as a "resort fee" amenity.

  39. Al

    Granted we make up a very small percentage of the overall USA population, but for sabbath observant orthodox Jews, having alarm clocks in hotel rooms would be helpful as we cannot use our phones on the sabbath. Just another perspective.

    1. D3kingg

      @Al

      I remember as a child there would be an elevator with every button pushed on Saturday for the Jews. There are loopholes. You should be able to set your alarm clock on your iPhone in advance before Sundown.

    2. OPR

      Yeah but then how do you turn it off :).

    3. Callum

      But you're allowed to use electric alarm clocks on Sabbath?

    4. Eskimo

      I'm just joining this because suddenly religions are involved.

      None of the major religions age well with science and technology at all.
      Hello gender equality?
      Maybe they do share the same prophet, who is actually a time traveler from the future playing tricks on humans minds. Maybe the stone age are too dumb to believe, and modern age are too smart to believe (hello Scientology?). 2000 years ago seems just right to start...

      I'm just joining this because suddenly religions are involved.

      None of the major religions age well with science and technology at all.
      Hello gender equality?
      Maybe they do share the same prophet, who is actually a time traveler from the future playing tricks on humans minds. Maybe the stone age are too dumb to believe, and modern age are too smart to believe (hello Scientology?). 2000 years ago seems just right to start a religion.

      Trying to twist the meaning of ancient times into modern times. Electricity and alarm clocks?
      Just like trying to twist the 2nd amendment.

  40. FNT Delta Diamond

    Very disappointed in your stance. It wasn't that long ago when all legacy Marriott's flagship brand Marriott had mouthwash, robes, slippers, and stationary in every room. That was eliminated at North American properties a few years ago. Then they tried eliminating the desks. The same idiots who say nobody wants or needs alarm clocks. Then they eliminated bathtubs in all new or fully renovated properties for walk-in showers with sliding doors that are a nightmare...

    Very disappointed in your stance. It wasn't that long ago when all legacy Marriott's flagship brand Marriott had mouthwash, robes, slippers, and stationary in every room. That was eliminated at North American properties a few years ago. Then they tried eliminating the desks. The same idiots who say nobody wants or needs alarm clocks. Then they eliminated bathtubs in all new or fully renovated properties for walk-in showers with sliding doors that are a nightmare for housekeepers to clean. Then they decided to eliminate toiletries for dispensers. The same dispensers the CDC says spread viruses and disease. The same dispenses that are tampered with or not refilled. This is the same management that refuses to crackdown on dishonest resort fees, utility fees, housekeeper fees, and credit card processing fees.

    First they came for alarm clocks, and I did not speak out—because I don't use alarm clocks.

    Then they came for the breakfast benefit, and I did not speak out— because I was not a breakfast eater.

    Then they came for the suite upgrade benefit, and I did not speak out—because I don't care about extra space.

    Then they came for my points—and there was no one left to speak for me.

  41. Textuality

    Anyone that worries about waking up at a particular time should probably invest in one of those tiny portable alarm clocks anyway. If I have to get up early for a flight I can't sleep soundly unless I know I have two methods waking me up (in this case my phone and a Casio PQ-30B).

    Definitely wouldn't rely on a wake-up-call, have lost count of the number of times they've failed to happen.

    1. Fidel Rueda

      While we're at it, let's eliminate Bibles too, that's what kindles are for.

  42. Brooks

    The two sides seem to be passing each other in the night - it’s important that a new space have a visible clock. Does that have to be an alarm clock? No, that’s what wake up calls are for!

Featured Comments Load all 55 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

NSS

No clocks means less electricity means lower room rates! I kid, I kid. Textuality is right - if it's life or death, get a tiny travel clock. One less thing to clean, one less thing for all guests to touch. Throw them all out today. I always unplug them so they don't go off randomly.

Callum

But you're allowed to use electric alarm clocks on Sabbath?

Brooks

The two sides seem to be passing each other in the night - it’s important that a new space have a visible clock. Does that have to be an alarm clock? No, that’s what wake up calls are for!

Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,523,713 Miles Traveled

25,807,500 Words Written

28,675 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT