Marriott Looking To Eliminate Alarm Clocks, Reduce Breakfast Costs

The Points Guy executive editor Scott Mayerowitz attended a breakfast with Marriott’s top executives where the shared they were considering eliminating alarm clocks from rooms. They’re also looking to ‘simplify’ and reduce the cost of breakfast at brands where that’s included in the room rate for all guests like Residence Inn; Towne Place Suites; Springhill Suites; Fairfield Inn and Suites; and Element.

Marriott s group president for the U.S. and Canada claims eliminating alarm clocks isn’t about costs, but it’s about costs.

“The key thing is we have to be able to figure out how to service our guests at the end of the day. And the vast majority of our owners would agree with us,” he said, noting that it isn’t about cuts but about practical needs, such as the alarm clock. “It’s been a wonderful opportunity to look at some of those things that are historic in nature and have no application in terms of the real life we live in today.”

And, he says, providing lower-cost breakfast isn’t about costs either even though it’s about costs.

“It’s more about how do we make sure that what we’re offering is the best. So when you think about it across our free breakfast brands, how do we simplify the breakfast offering? Breakfast is king across all of our brands,” he said. “How can we do it in a more cost-effective way? And at the end of the day, perhaps even deliver a better product and a better experience?

People may be able to use their phones as alarm clocks, though try teaching some older guests to do that (they may have smart phones but that doesn’t mean they know how to use their apps).

And the last thing I want to do in the middle of the night is pick up my phone from the night stand and look at it. Far better for going back to sleep to turn and look over. Besides, how many hotels have I been in where I can’t even plug my phone in by the bedside – with whatever limited outlets there are taken by lamps and the like?

Eliminating clocks from rooms means potentially getting less rest. On the other hand without alarm clocks perhaps people will oversleep and miss the free breakfast? And that’s “a more cost-effective way” of offering free breakfast, for sure. After all guests have a ‘short-term memory’ in the words of Marriott’s CEO, and need to have more sympathy for ownership groups that want to charge more and deliver less.

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. Punchline: we just reached platinum status. SMH A recent stay near Baltimore had a breakfast of a granola bar, overripe banana and a half bottle of water. No daily room service and they couldn’t spring for a 12 ounce bottle of water. The Marriott in Boston last week gave us a $25 coupon one time use coupon at their grab and go section. We went all in on Marriott after spending a weekend with friends with lounge access in London. Loved it. Now that we have status, our destinations don’t have lounges or they aren’t open. Upcoming visits in Puerto Rico and Las Vegas confirmed no lounge. It just feels like they are taking Covid precautions and planning on making them permanent. We have yet to see a point to status.

  2. “People may be able to use their phones as alarm clocks, though try teaching some older guests to do that (they may have smart phones but that doesn’t mean they know how to use their apps).” — I always find it super complicated to use the hotel alarm clock because basically every hotel has a different model and each of them has its own counter-intuitive steps. I honestly wonder any older guest is capable of figuring out how to use a modern alarm clock quickly.

  3. Room alarm clocks are like typewriters — maybe older people like them, but they are dying fast.

    I hate having a room alarm clock because the time it displays is almost always wrong and there usually isn’t a way to change it. Nothing worse than looking at the clock thinking it’s 6:00 but it’s actually 7:00 and you end up missing an evening appointment.

    It’s also horrible when you check into a room and the alarm set by the previous guest goes off unexpectedly, ruining your night of sleep.

    Lots of negative issues with alarm clocks — let’s just get rid of them once and for all.

  4. Rather than put up with Marriott’s n new policies just use up your points ASAP and stop going to their hotels. Marriott has made it clear that the customer comes last

  5. Haven’t had a decent Marriott any property experience since the re opened after COVID. Seems to me they are still milking the COVID excuse so as not to provide housekeeping, and to offer disgusting packaged cakes and none sense in their grab and go bags. I used to be such a fan and even have Lifetime Platinum. Wish I could transfer it to another hotel company. I work in the travel industry and it just hurts me to see how far downhill they have gone.

  6. I hate hotel room clocks. Always wrong time. And some ass before you had the alarm early and you don’t notice it on and then it wakes you up. They are useless. Maybe boomers need to realize this. Good riddance.

  7. Alarm clocks can go. Those things are annoying anyway.

    I’m not sure how they’re going to cut breakfast costs when it already sucks…powdered eggs and dried up sausage patties. Mhmmm give me a second serving

    Like a different comment mentioned, I haven’t had a good Marriott experience in a minute. Glad I status matched for Hilton and reached top tier with them.

  8. Removing alarm clocks is a huge win for people who like to sleep. The time is always wrong. The clock is way too bright. The alarm next door blasts you awake in the middle of the night and continues blasting until you drag yourself or of bed, call them front desk, and wait twenty minutes for them to do something about it. I’m not going to say I would pay extra to know they are gone, but I may celebrate their demise.

  9. I work in another hotel chain…
    1. Yes hotels are trying to keep Covid-inspired cuts, like daily housekeeping service and amenities.
    2. 50% of the time I walk into a recently vacated room and the alarm clock is unplugged and shoved on a shelf or in a drawer.

  10. My complaint about alarm clocks is that they’re difficult to re-set. Everyone seems to have a different sequence of buttons to locate, push in right order. Won’t miss them. Wake up call and phone alarm are enough.

    The breakfast matter is important. “As little as we can get away with” seems an odd standard for what purports to be a luxury brand to embrace. I’ve started scanning for Hilton properties first on road trips. Used to search Marriott first.

  11. I actually like clocks in hotel rooms, especially the little Cubie ones that are linked to the Wi-Fi. I am up at all hours of the night, sometimes I have an early flight and I do not like looking for my pphone at 3 in the morning. I want to be able to glance over at the bedside table.
    When I was in a hotel last week, I actually made them bring me a clock ⏰.. Sorry don’t take away my clocks!!

  12. How about just making it an option when you check in?
    Would you like a clock in your room? Yes please.
    Here’s your Cubie. It’s linked to the Wi-Fi. Just plug it in and it will set itself. Turn it in when you check out. Sign here please.
    No? Okay. Have a lovely stay. Good night.

  13. Marriott customer for 24 years lifetime but spent three nights in a high end Marriott and never seen anyone to clean or ask for more towels. Breakfast was a breakfast sandwich and coffee, next week one night stands in three locations every morning they were knocking on my door to get me out to clean the room. Time to give them up maybe better service at Motel 6 at least they will leave the lights on.
    Take the clocks out and l every other light bulb out to save you money but keep charging more for less.

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