City Cruises

Published on Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Marriott under fire for encouraging guests to book direct

Marriott has come under fire for a new incentive scheme which rewards customers for booking direct.

The Institute of Travel and Meetings (ITM) has asked the global hotel chain to rethink a new consumer offer which gives Marriott Rewards cardholders free wi-fi in all properties if they book direct on the website, call centre or hotel.

It claims loyal customers should not be penalised for the distribution channel they use.

It also says many companies require their business travellers to book rooms through an online booking tool or through a travel management company in order to control how much is being spent on hotels.

Mark Cuschieri, chairman of ITM's industry affairs group, said: "We recognise the importance of rewarding loyal customers with complimentary services or amenities. But when there is an effort to attract business travellers away from approved corporate channels it becomes a major problem.

"On behalf of our members I request that Marriott reconsider its position and simply recognise the traveller for loyalty instead of seeking to use them as an opportunity by stealth to reduce overall distribution costs whilst undermining negotiated corporate hotel deals."

ITM chief executive Simone Buckley said: "Traveller compliance to the managed travel programme is critical from a duty of care perspective as well as delivering market share to preferred suppliers.

"We do not believe that a corporate traveller who is a Marriott Rewards' member should be excluded from benefitting from free Internet access simply because of the distribution channel that their organisation has asked them to use."

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  • But....

    ....we travel agents can book on the website and get commission. None of our FIT qualify for Marriott Rewards so most of us have to book business clients and point-collectors directly anyway. And I believe Marriott and IHG pay commission on all's Hilton who are the nightmare...or who used to be at least....W

    By William Thompson, Tuesday, November 11, 2014

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