Lots of different hotel groups around the world have membership rewards which mainly centres upon using one’s points to get discounted rates (even free rooms) or upgrades and even complimentary access to certain services and facilities. Pretty much the same for airline miles.
What if I were to tell you that back on Sept 8, I was one of few who were able to watch an hour-long exclusive Imagine Dragons concert at the Marriott Marquis Bangkok? How did I snag that? Well, for the 40-odd of us, it was because we’re part of the media who received invites. The 400 or so crowd were there only because they were members of a loyalty programme and lucky members of the public (who won tickets after they had signed up for the Rewards programme).
Since Marriott International added the Starwood and Ritz-Carlton stable of properties under their group – 30 brands in total now and counting, members of each rewards scheme could transfer their points and also link their accounts if they have multiple ones. So there’s now Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest (spg) and Ritz-Carlton Rewards.
So members of the first two were given different options to use their points to bid for various ticket packages under what they call their Moments rewards. No other way could you have attended that concert. No tickets were on sale. Now, that’s privilege!
Imagine Dragons has won two American Music Awards for Favourite Alternative Artist, a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance, five Billboard Music Awards, and a World Music Award. But they added another accolade that night — a memorable, exciting, energetic concert that I’m sure would stick in everyone’s minds for a long, long time. As was the moment they managed to snag a meet-and-greet with the band for some of the packages!
Since June 2015, Marriott has struck a partnership with Universal Music Group to feature their acts in select concerts around the world. Prior to Imagine Dragons they have had Ellie Goulding at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London; Juanes’ performance at the Courtyard by Marriott Santiago Las Condes in 2015, Demi Lovato and DNCE’s performance at the JW Marriott Los Angeles in September 2016, and James Bay and CHVRCHES performance at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, Los Angeles December 2016.
I hear a concert a Dubai might be next. Stay tuned on which artiste or band that will be!
In addition to on-property concerts, members get options to access some exclusive live concerts, theatre performances, VIP access and tickets to sporting events, games and other events, Ted Talks salon; meet and cook with celebrity chefs, attend premiers of movies and many others.
Marriott International vice-president brands & marketing Asia Pacific Mike Fulkerson who was present for this media-trip noted that they are only looking at consolidating the various reward/loyalty schemes under one only in the future, but there was a significant amount of work being done for that.
Also present was global brand management Marriott Hotels, Marriott International vice-president Matthew Carroll who shared that they were looking at expanding even more in Asia with 62 properties to be opened in the pipeline. He added that they were also modernising the look and feel of many of their properties and giving local elements to each property. They are starting with their North American properties first.
Technology seems to be the way to go and Carroll revealed that in addition to some of the innovations already in place, they were exploring more of such with M Beta – a property where they test new innovations and implement on a few selected properties to test in real-life situations.
To a question that 30 brands might be a bit too much and would have overlaps, Fulkerson replied that there were many different and distinct groups and preferences and more brands made it easier to fit those groups into a specific property or brand. So the more different groups they could cater to, the better it would be to the satisfaction of their guests.
The concert was held in a Marriott Marquis and if you’re unfamiliar with that distinction it’s because it’s the first in Asia and only given to properties who are in a prime downtown location, have more than 1,000 rooms and 5,000 sq m of event space!