Three points of interest jump out at me from this article:
1) Switch made for purposes of cost savings - No surprise there, and with Marriott's financing capabilities continuing to run strong it makes sense. Also with the "sexy" tech companies like Google, Facebook and other firms listed on NASDAQ, what the heck, it might even make Marriott a more attractive firm for the much desired millennial group that they have so aggressively pursued (which also makes sense, we longtime loyalists just wish they wouldn't rub our noses in it).
2) Sorenson has been busy building brands in Asia while wooing millennials at home - again, no surprise there, we on Insiders have followed/discussed this movement for months, and it's proving to be a sound operating strategy. Again, my beef, isn't over the desire for millennials (as a shareholder who uses price gains to help pay my Marriott tab, I'm pulling for them), isn't even over the reduction of benefits (although, I would of course prefer having perks vs. not), but rather over the often ham-handed way the changes have been made and communicated).
3) In an interview with Forbes earlier this year Sorenson said, “For decades, we’ve been a standards-driven–sometimes detailed-standards driven—company. But we’ve got to relearn our instincts and impulses.” This I believe is a key component of our future travel enjoyment, recognizing as Michellel has emphasized, decision making is becoming more de-centralized. We should expect less standardization (we've already seen this occur). This can play both ways - surprises, good and bad. It tells me to put even more emphasis than usual on building relationships, especially at the property level. I've observed more flexibility (and had far more success) at the property level than what we've seen at the macro-corp level (in spite of merb's et al's well intended and sincere, "hear you loud and clear, passing it along" - like in Cool Hand Luke, "what we've got here is failure to communicate").
As others have observed in this forum, you can really feel the impact on the flow of Insider info of the flooding/constant posting of hotel reviews when you go away. I gave up after the first week and can understand why previous Insider superstars, like General MacArthur, are just fading away.