In the past few years, Marriott has been expanding the single-brand Ambassador program that offers high-end hotels, resort-like amenities, dedicated reservation agents and a 5-star luxury experience. Unfortunately, it appears that Marriott has completely neglected the customer service aspect of their Ambassador Elite members. Over the last few years, the customer service and loyalty experience with Marriott has been steadily declining, to the point where the Ambassador Elite program is considered one of the worst loyalty programs by most travel bloggers.

From the start, the Marriott Survey has been Marriott’s attempt to get a better understanding of what customers really want from the company. After all, if you know what customers want, then you can deliver it to them and in the process, make more money. So, what was the intent of this survey? Rather than being the typical survey many companies run, Marriott wanted to get a better understanding of the elite customers, who they are, what they like and what they don’t like about the program. Are members loyal to the brand? Do Elite members stay at Marriott properties for work or for fun?

Marriott polls its best customers, how can they fix the mess they made with Ambassador Elite?

Gary Leff 27. April 2021

Marriott’s highest level of elite status for stays of 100 nights is called Ambassador. The only selling point should be a dedicated point of contact to meet all Marriott member needs and provide a seamless experience. They contact hotels, make sure requests are met, help get upgrades, and even send gifts on occasion. The ambassador should get to know the program participants and their preferences to make their stay personal and special.

But even with the requirement to spend $20,000 on top of the 100 nights of luxury, there were too many participants for Marriott’s small investment in the program. Each ambassador representative was assigned approximately 300 members, and the quality of their work varied widely.

During the pandemic, Marriott widely fired representatives who took care of their best customers. And as long as Marriott is still advertising: Your personal contact will be at your disposal during your stay. Ambassador program participants will no longer receive a personal contact or be able to contact an individual agent directly, as these addresses will no longer be tracked. By the way, Hyatt still offers agents for 60 nights (with no minimum spend) for its top tier elites.

This year Marriott lowered the required spend for Ambassador status to $14,000, but I don’t see any real advantage to Ambassador status over Titanium status, and for many, the benefits of Titanium status for 75 nights over Platinum status aren’t that great (extra optional perks like 5 extra suite bonuses per night, which are rarely given, and a possible suite upgrade when staying at the Ritz-Carlton).

Recognizing this, Marriott is conducting a survey of Ambassador participants to determine their current attitudes toward the program.

The trips may have changed over the past year, but our commitment to providing you with an exceptional experience has remained the same. The feedback you leave about your Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite experience is more important than ever.

They ask members to choose the service they find most useful and currently use: Assistance with bookings, help during your stay or solving problems after your stay? Do you organize on-site activities, such as restaurants and events for the duration of the stay? Is it to request a late or early departure or to help you with the Bonvoy program?

The survey also asks questions about the experience with the Ambassador Services team: is the team committed to the program participant as an individual, does it anticipate their needs, does it know and understand their preferences, does it respond in a timely manner, does it know the program and does it provide unique and specialized services… or not.

Finally, Ambassador members are invited to share what works well and where there are opportunities for improvement, as part of our continuous improvement efforts.

The survey does not ask about the benefits of ambassadors, which does not seem to be the purpose of the survey. Nor do they claim properties that disregard these benefits. It’s not the inconsistency of the delivery. This is the actual interaction with the ( ) ambassador, after Marriott removed the unique selling point for this level that guests with 100 nights stay have a designated contact who recognizes them and handles all their needs, rather than going from one representative to another.

It’s not clear from the survey whether Marriott is looking for screening data to say everything is fine or to determine whether anything needs to be changed.

Lake View from the Wing

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