Starting to get really irritated with a disturbing trend spreading through Marriott properties in Grand Rapids, MI. There are a couple hospitality companies that have implemented policies with extremely poor optics. They are disallowing GSA rates on certain nights of the week through the entire year, but still have availability on said nights if you are paying with Reward Points. They are also not differentiating between state & federal gov't or US Military. Basically, if they have a room available, they will not let a gov't employee on official business pay to stay in it at the contracted rate - but anyone with points can stay in that room.
I get that properties are allowed to restrict the usage of GSA rates to official business even though Marriott policy allows for the GSA rate to be extended to federal/Military for leisure, but that is not what is going on here. I just got off the phone with the Residence Inn in Kentwood, MI and the person at the front desk told me they disable the GSA Rate on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the entire fiscal year because *they know they have customers who will pay more* even though they have not booked the rooms. This is extremely disappointing and straight-up shady. We're not even talking about weekend rooms at a full-service hotel here. These are ethically deficient business practices.
Another property (per multiple property employees) apparently had a perceived issue with state employees "abusing the gov't rate" by constantly using it for leisure. Their solution was to punish everybody, state, federal, and Military alike and only allow gov't rate check-ins on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays (or something screwy like that) during FY18 regardless of whether the visit was for official business. Right now we are over two weeks into FY19 and they don't even have the GSA rate in their booking system (confirmed by Marriott Customer Service). Marriott policy allows gov't employees to use the rates for leisure and also allows properties to restrict those rates to official business, so it can't be "abuse" unless the front desk fails to do its job and does not screen for proper ID or documentation/orders.
For reference: Who Is Eligible for Marriott's Government Rates? "Note: At most Marriott hotels the government rate is available to eligible guests regardless of whether they are traveling on business or pleasure. However, some hotels may only make the government per diem rate available to guests traveling on official business. Please check the hotel’s rate description for details. If the rate description states that the rate is only for guests traveling on official government business, please be prepared to present travel orders when checking in.
I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to speak with someone at Marriott about their GSA contract and some of the difficulties properties are creating for gov't employees and Service Members whose travel schedule is dictated to them, but I have not had luck getting through to anyone of consequence by calling Marriott Customer Service. Every time I call, I have to jump through the same 30 minutes of hoops, talk about all the Case Numbers associated with my account that were apparently closed without action or any meaningful notes, and end up on hold forever while they call the front desk just to get all the same answers (or lack thereof) and runaround that I have.
I've attached some screenshots, but without the property name as I would prefer to talk to someone knowledgeable of the GSA contract terms first. Any suggestions?