As a kid, in the last century, shopping with my Mom, I recall her being drawn to a vegetable display in the little market, advertising Brussels Sprouts with a sign that read "last of the season, hurry, buy now." Neither of us liked these green golf ball-sized veggies , but Mom was irreversibly drawn to them because of that marketing ploy on the part of the grocer. We later ate them for what seemed a month, trying hard to appreciate the bargain while stomaching these little things..
So, now to hotel loyalty programs, and there is a point here: The issue for me, and I assume others, is that the product behind the program has to be a good one, one that we would choose even if there were no promotions or benefits behind it. I would, for example, choose lovely and salty potato chips, even if there were no special deals--and of course there is no "season" to worry about.
The pulse on Marriott Rewards Insiders seems to be that many US hotels are disappointing us, and not just because we're frequent stayers. The threads about closed CLs, lack of weekend breakfasts, and lack of upgrades point to a diminishing sense of value among many Marriott brands. While this is not an accurate sample of all those who stay, but those who care to comment, it speaks to a need to make Marriott and Marriott Rewards great again.
So, I guess what I am getting at, is that a brand needs to be something we choose for any number of reasons, including inertia. If that brand seems less than what we expect or expected, then we have the choice to move elsewhere. Unlike airlines, we have many lodging choices--and we can exercise them.
My question is: at what point does the loyalty program become almost irrelevant if the brand behind it fails to meet our needs?
Remember those Brussels Sprouts!