Improving the Insiders Impact for Rewards Members

Discussion created by erc on Sep 10, 2014
Latest reply on Sep 11, 2014 by jmconleyjr
Reviewing this week's well articulated insights on the hot topic so thoughtfully provided Taking Guest Loyalty to the Next Level,
(I am convinced had it not been for communitymanagers's efforts, we would have been just like FlyerTalk participants, unable to participate except through logging in on Facebook) aspects of the Serenity Prayer came to mind; accepting things we can't change and having the courage (or in this case interest/focus/discipline) to change things that we can.
  Years of futile interaction have demonstrated to me, at least, that we cannot change the direction of record setting Marriott Corporation as it relates to Marriott Rewards benefits (think you can? try getting points for meals at CY or the Ritz, try getting guaranteed upgrades, try getting 10 points for Residence Inn dollars spent, try earning points for cancelled rooms that you paid for, and of course, my bete noire, try getting them to remove all AAA, Senior Discount, Marriott Rewards Offers rates higher than Standard Rates), but I am a firm believer that we can "enhance" the tremendous potential value of the Insiders forum, which as Marriott flexes its economic muscles more and more, becomes even more vital to the Marriott traveler's overall experience.
  A key to either personal or business success is understanding the need to "deal from strength" and the good news is that Insiders has several competitive advantages, starting with the management team. The performers from Revelry nee Salt Agency have been top notch in their responsiveness, enthusiasm, and insights (credit due to Marriott for excellent selection). The Community Manager, first in the form of race car driving, moderating veteran Andy and now hard charging, Philly  bred 'shoobie', tech guru, hotelier Nathalie, are top notch personnel who sincerely attempt to advocate our positions.  Combine that leadership with the Insider participants' experience and their genuine interest in sharing and we have the makings for a powerful travel weapon, more powerful than any individual 'app'.
  With the above in mind, I turn my attention back to Insiders, the format. Surviving the ravages of thread clogging, existence threatening baseball contests and hotel reviews (which albeit significantly built the Marriott database, had the reverse effect on not only participation but viewers), Insiders has bounced off the floor of extinction and ever so slowly is beginning to regain its mojo (although still far from the swagger of the 150 reply, 8,000 views days).
  I'm confident if we, the Insiders, can help direct the moderation team toward improving the Insider experience it would be far more rewarding than once again asking them for the fifth year running with no true visible results to "hear us and pass along" our concerns. Please give thought to ways that the Insider experience can be even more productive to us, the no leverage with the vendor, traveler.

Here's a few ideas to 'prime the pump'. Thank you for your participation (even if it's to say like misterchk, "erc, you need to get a job" - to which I respond, some folks want to feed the hungry in Sudan, some folks want to save the whales, I want to help optimize Insiders ).
  1) Similar to the Hippocratic Oath - first, do no harm; work hard on avoiding the 'beta testing' screen changes that so often plague Insiders (or at least give us a heads up to what may be coming)
  2) Fine tune tech aspects - this is where I expect a lot of Insider input, but my one bugaboo, is the Exclude Member Reviews. I'm glad that it exists (a minor victory, we went months without it), but take it to the next level and have it remain, currently if we check a post, when we come back we are faced with all of the hotel reviews again, making it a chore to scroll to where we were and easier to miss a thread (which reduces participation).
  3) If you start a new feature (often an asset) maintain it crisply. I'm a big fan of bejacob and brightlybob  and if I wanted to know of a county courthouse or close a deal in the EU, they are my go to guys; but keeping anyone up on the face of Insiders for months on end to me, is like a burnt out R in the Marriott name on a property, a sign of indifference. Similarly with the nice feature Top 5 Local Tips, this began back in March and apparently remains the only five cities on the face of the earth that Marriott feels we should know about. As my hometown football team has learned, crisp execution is not to be turned on only when needed - practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.
  4) Make the well written, significant effort requiring blogs similar to threads. As long as Insiders are replying, it should be kept on the 'Big Board' front page to utilize the multiplier effect of posts.
  and finally (from me, I'm expecting quality insights from Insiders, even lurkers - c'mon, go man go!);
  5) The moderation team is excellent at sifting through the posts and answering and welcoming newbies with questions that have been asked several times before (making it hard for Insiders to answer once again). Now most likely, first timers (who can grow to be major contributors) will not check the 'Guide' before posting (sharing after posting tho, is still valuable) so they may not know of the potential of the Search function (which also is an area of improvement but I'll let the I.T. experts discuss that) but please consider posting somewhere on the front page (perhaps right column, where the current listing of Insiders credits are - just have a link for that and those interested, can click to their heart's desire) something along the lines (and less wordy ) of  Insiders Welcome First Timers and their participation - In posting a question, be sure to check our Search box, it may answer your question or at least help you frame your question in a manner to get the best answer.
  Please acknowledge awareness of your responses and feel free to share your ideas as well. Thank you.
  Here is an example of a superb interchange, exactly how you would "draw it up" on the chalkboard;
Chicago Early Nov. JW? Renaissance Blackstone or Renaissance on Wacker
  Great job The specified item was not found.  and a tip of the cap to liasun , welcome to Insiders, don't be a stranger.
Ok, just like good sports teams often 'punch up' in order to enhance their skills, I bow before you Insiders, have at it. Feel free to pummel, but please in the other hand, have an idea of improving this potentially marvelous travel tool. Keep on keepin' on.

BREAKING NEWS - well in the 38 minutes it took me to compose this thesis, communitymanagers has post an excellent new thread

Verified Ratings and Reviews Launching on   32 minutes ago in  Exclusive News

  Yeah baby - cookin' with gas - now we're talking Impact Management!