Marriott Rewards has announced the addition of three new features to its program. The features being added are late checkout for Gold and Platinum members, an experiences marketplace, and a concierge service.
On the surface, the new features seem to be a result of their recently announced takeover of Starwood Across social media, there was a bit of a backlash from Starwood enthusiasts that are concerned about what the takeover means for the Starwood program. While Marriott and Starwood have confirmed that the programs will be merged in some form, that is down the track, and there are very few details of what that means.
In the meantime, Marriott seems to have taken on-board some of the concerns that have been raised by the Starwood members. The new features look, at least to some extent, to have been lifted from the Starwood program.
Guaranteed late checkout for Gold and Platinum members
Starting May 16, Marriott will be rolling out a late checkout facility worldwide. Under the terms announced, the late checkout is on request, and can be as late as 4 pm. Late checkout can be requested when making a reservation by phone, when checking in using the Marriott Mobile app, or upon arrival at the hotel. The benefit has some exclusions, including resort, convention, and timeshare properties.
Marriott Rewards has announced a new Experiences Marketplace, which bears some similarities to the SPG moments program. This new feature will roll out worldwide in late May. Under the program, members will be able to use their points to purchase an experience. These experiences and one-of-a-kind opportunities will come from across the categories of sports, culinary, entertainment and lifestyle.
Examples that Marriott have given include
- tickets to one of the hottest shows on Broadway;
- a once-in-a-lifetime chance to hang out with your favourite sports team; or
- a private cooking lesson or wine tasting with a world-famous chef or sommelier,
Elite Concierge Service
Perhaps a less well developed program, but again one that seems to take its cues from Starwood is the Elite Concierge service. This will initially be trialled with a selected group of elite members. These members will be paired with an Elite concierge, with the idea being that the concierge will develop a relationship with the member. The aim of this, is to allow the concierge to anticipate personal preferences, reserve on-property amenities like dining, spa and golf, and making arrangements for special occasions.
The initial members for this group will be those based in the US. The feedback from these members will then be used to refine the program prior to a more broad roll out across the membership base.
It is definitely interesting that Marriott has chosen to implement these particular benefits – particularly as they appear lifted from the SPG playbook. It will be interesting to see how the program evolves as they move toward an integration of the two companies.