One of my ongoing themes about Insiders is the apparent (IMO) lack of interest by Marriott toward capturing Insiders true potential as a travel "influencer" (see Skift article in link below). I'm not talking about using Insiders the way Starwood used their Advisory Forum (as forward thinking as that was, I just don't see Marriott investing the required give and take effort). What I'm suggesting is maximizing Insiders as a travel tool, which as a side effect, would increase Marriott revenues. I have to think it would be as, if not more, effective in generating bookings than their Travel Brilliantly magazine (which is a nice read, if you can remember to look for and find it).
I want strongly to avoid the Marketing 101 error of confusing myself as the target audience (I know for myself, the number of Insiders trips inspired and generated by the forum is significant), but it certainly appears to me that Insiders through their lively and informative discussions, generate a worthwhile amount of additional Marriott lodging and with the data Marriott has on all contributors, it would probably prove measurable, helping them with ROI decisions on the idea.
I'm not advocating Marriott 'takes over the format' - the autonomy (and honesty) is one of the competitive advantages of the forum. I was spurred on by this Skift article https://skift.com/2018/09/17/growing-pains-for-influencer-marketing-raise-questions-for-travel-brands/
I'm just Dusty Springfieldin' (wishin' and hopin') that Marriott would review the forum for its upside potential and perhaps 'tweak' the process a bit. Perhaps if they saw potential, they might invest the necessary resources to utilize Jive in a more productive manner than currently. I wish I had more time with Ms. Timpone (who said she liked Insiders, what else is the Head of Global Marketing going to say to an Insider?) but I was thanking her for her hospitality (sincerely so, it was top grade Marriott service) and telling her what a rising star she had in The Big Cheese (well deserved). Next time (ha ha, yeah like that will happen ).
Recent threads have discussed the efficacy of Insiders; how polls can inadvertently (few answer polls to create havoc) clog up the flow of discussions; how Helpfuls bump threads throwing off the value of All Activity (which is significant, especially if one goes to Latest Content and discovers after clicking on Last Reply and finds a dozen kind, friendly, no doubt well meaning, "Good point" or "Thanks" add on comments. Note: I'm not advocating removing the warm thoughts of encouragements, but with the other items bumping the threads, the combined effect is to increase effort required to follow informative content, thus the pain of 12 Helpfuls or Polls in a row.
My hope is that Marriott, seeing the value of Insiders (not for changing policy - although, certainly worth an occasional glance - but for actually generating incremental Marriott travel/lodging interest at low cost per increase) would address a handful of issues to improve participation, after all, they apparently spent time coming up with the recent Interloper, Socialist, Vlad the Dater gaming system; why not work on the format 'flow'?
With the addition of a large group of Rewards Members using Insiders to try to survive the integration, now is the time to capture this opportunity of turning Insiders into the Go To resource for Rewards Members.
Along this line of thinking of making Insiders an actual "Influencer" IMO, the biggest impact area with (again, IMO) the least effort would be to actually make Insiders a 'go to' forum by releasing announcements and policy interpretations and explanations here on Insiders. Not to John or Gary or Brian, or any of the other bloggers (they can get the announcement when we do - just not before we do).
I'm not talking proprietary data, just public releases AND solid answers (William the Lurker of the 12th Century Lurker Clan) was about the only game in town for weeks and built a large following of SPGers and Marriotteers. Sadly, then he was fed bad info - Travel Packages will be converted to "equivalent points" - so, oh well what the heck, I've probably just answered my own pipe dream, therefore like Emily Litella, never mind.
And as far as polls - the sensible idea would be like many have suggested - have a section just for polls. The bad news; common sense isn't so common. We suggested that idea for Hotel Reviews and they wiped out all of our curated Reviews, so I guess we'd better be careful what we wish for.
Ok, whew that was therapeutic (for me, keeps me out of street gangs). Thank you folks for allowing me my Mr. Chuck moment of daydreaming ("Let's tell Marriott what new benefits we want" etc).
Keep on keepin' on Insiders .