Marriott Launches New Water Conservation Campaign “If It’s Yellow Let It Mellow”

Marriott today announced a new campaign to reduce water use throughout their more than 7000 hotels. This comes on the heels of successfully eliminating single use toiletries in favor of wall-mounted bulk products.

With today’s announcement dubbed “If It’s Yellow Let It Mellow, If It’s Brown Flush It Down” the global hotel giant will encourage guests to flush in-room toilets less frequently.

Reducing hotel ownership cost has been a core focus since the acquisition of Starwood hotels. Marriott committed that the combined loyalty program, eventually named Bonvoy, would come at a lower cost to owners. Now the various REITs and Trusts that own the real estate carrying Marriott’s 30 brand flags will spend less not just on loyalty and shampoo but on water too.

The new campaign will have three steps.

  1. Education. Consumers will receive a card in their bathrooms asking them to conserve water and flush the toilet “only when they go number two.”

  2. Bonus points. Loyalty program members will be offered 100 points in exchange for agreeing to turn off the water to their rooms. They will have to request water activation as-needed, detailing their planned bathroom use via the chain’s award-winning mobile app.

  3. Redesigned common spaces. New build properties will eliminate in-room toilets altogether in favor of common use bathrooms on each floor which can be electronically monitored with flushing centrally controlled.

Bathroom at the St. Regis Bangkok

Vice President of Sustainability and Cost Controls Curtis Hoteling says “two years of customer surveys and extensive interviews have taught us that customers care deeply about the environment and expect Marriott to lead the way in sustainability. Our loyal members are happy to make small sacrifices for big savings. With a new offer of 100 Bonvoy points per stay, we’re truly keeping to our promise of “Rewards, Reimagined.”

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Eeekk…I do understand the yellow-mellow item, but maybe I guess there should be some common sense involved too as yellow will still smell…
    I am all for water conservation – maybe they should think of having better flush system where less water is used.

  2. They should remove and replace the bathroom fixtures with low GPM fixtures. California has been requiring them for decades.

  3. I went back to check all of Gary’s bodily-fluids-in-shampoo scare posts, but most of those weren’t even in April.

  4. Gross. Please say this is an April Fool joke.
    I’m not even going to read the article.

  5. Just pee in the shower and you won’t have to flush at all I’d assume 🙂

    “A golden shower supports our power” or some tag line like that could work for them.

  6. Has to be an April fool’s joke! Way too crass to actually put on a card and promote to guests (at least IMHO). Also, I flush what and when I want – not following any rules like this. Will reuse a towel but also not going overboard on that. When I’m in a hotel I expect to be able to take advantage of all the amenities and saving them money (or conserving water) isn’t on my agenda. I have no problem w no housekeeping since typically declined that in the past when I traveled alone but don’t begin to tell me when to flush the toilet!!!

  7. This is such a joke I hope it makes the national news, but before I realized it, as a small shareholder who did not support the merger, I thought it had gone too far. Discriminates against those without smart phones. And as much as I will do what I can at home or away re the environment and am happy to decline housekeeping always, I would not participate in this. Can you imagine calling down to say you have to use the bathroom, turn the water back on? As if that was even possible? This is a really good joke! ALso as someone said, if there is that much concern, replace the current toilets with more water conserving ones. I did that in my own bathroom and have been very happy having done research in advance. LOVE my TOTO.

  8. @Robin Rosner “This is such a joke” yes, it is, the very first link is to ‘april fools’ and I genuinely thought it was absurd enough to be obvious. 🙂

    This was actually going to be my April Fools post last year but I decided to pull it as the coronavirus pandemic accelerated.

  9. Wow. I was thinking how could they expect it to be sanitary to have a common toilet, but, yet, we have to wear masks.

    Glad it was a haha instead.

    I’m all for sustaining the environment and do support better use of resources though!

  10. Very funny! It was almost approaching the realm of possible until I got to point 2 and thought, “Only 100 points? Nah!”

  11. Given Marriott, a “Flush Convenience Fee” would have also been close to the realm of possibility. Sadly, Marriott, until I read deeper I had no idea it was an April fools Joke.

  12. It’s just sad now that an April Fool’s joke could just as easily be another example of being Bonvoyed! The program and benefits continue to be gutted!

  13. Missed opportunity: Dynamic award pricing so you can customize your flushing per room? 😉

  14. Good one, Gary! lol

    “If it’s yellow, let it mellow.”
    “If it’s brown, flush it down.”
    “If it’s red, you’re dead, or at least you’ve bled.”

  15. That is disgusting..Marriott is getting redicoulus…I am at the point where I don’t even want to stay at a Marriott property anymore…and I’ve been a rewards member for 24 years…

  16. what is ridiculous is that one would think you BUY a company because of it’s value and the expectation that the value will INcrease. There was value in the number and quality of SPG members and their future business. Marriott has diminished the program, didn’t even let members keep their own membership numbers or issue new cards which I understand was never part of the bonvoy plan. This isn’t rocket science,it’s just sad…and also if you haven’t realized by now, thank goodness an April Fool’s day joke…but with them, you don’t want to give them any ideas….

  17. Hahaha….it seemed so in keeping with their shortsightedness and bad PR blunders (Bonvoy, anyone?) that I actually thought it was legit, at first….

    Happy April Fools.

  18. I’m not totally sure this is an April Fool’s joke. I stayed in a Marriott property this week, no housekeeping because of COVID (but none of the staff wore masks moving around the property, and they left the 1/2 used bar of soap from the previous guest in the shower.

  19. I actually don’t think this is a big deal, even if it was real. The entire city of Cape Town ran this exact campaign late 2017 and into 2018 because of their water crisis and it basically worked. What’s the big deal? Oh right, this is America and no one can be bothered to do anything that might be a small inconvenience.

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