There are a number of little idiosyncrasies in my business travel life that help solidify my place in the “contrarion” category when it comes to the miles and points space. Living where I live, I think flying Delta is the easiest to forgive, though one could argue that I should wise up and start crediting to Alaska MileagePlan. Then there’s the other side of the business travel coin – hotels. Marriott Rewards always wins a lot of awards so it must not be so bad, but it catches a lot of flack in the bloggerverse for being among the least rewarding hotel programs. Appropriately, I spend most of my hotel nights in a Marriott family hotel.
Travel Update reported this weekend that Marriott’s cancellation policy will change on January 1, 2015, from a “cancellation deadline from the day of arrival (e.g., 12:00, 4:00 or 6:00 p.m.) to 11:59 p.m. local time on the day prior to arrival.” For whatever reason, a lot of my business travel is last-minute. Likewise, a lot of my planned business travel changes at the last minute. As a result, Marriott’s admittedly generous cancellation policies at most properties were a benefit to me. Frankly, it is one of the reasons that Marriott.com is usually the first place I look for hotel accommodation in any city I’m traveling to.
When I look at things through the eyes of a revenue management analyst, I can see the benefits for hotels being better able to manage inventory and price distressed inventory appropriately. Then there’s the cancellation fee possibility as well. However, I’m not a revenue management person for a hotel, I’m a business traveler, and this is not a positive development in my travels. I’m not the type to wail on about any little change sending me somewhere else. The truth is that I’ll still be spending plenty of time at Marriott in 2015. BUT this one little change alone will cost them some business from me as there are other hotel properties in cities I frequent that I prefer, and I no longer have the better cancellation policy to sway me towards Marriott. End of the world? No. End of defaulting to Marriott without looking anywhere else? Definitely. Will Marriott’s change in cancellation policy impact your hotel decisions?
-MJ, October 13, 2014