Marriott Paid Actual Money For This New Logo When They Should Have Just Invested in Fixing Their IT

I didn’t think there could be anything worse than the rebranding of Hyatt Gold Passport to World of Hyatt. It’s Hyatt’s world, not yours. And you suddenly become a target for Steve Bannon Globalist or — despite the elimination of check-in amenities, no cheese plate delivered to your room — an Explorateur.

Marriott, though, said hold my beer.

  • Marriott Rewards made sense, you understood what it was.

  • Marriott Rewards was all about rebate for in-hotel spend, the program’s benefits prior to the August re-launch were weak. That’s a contrast to the program’s original name — all about benefits — Marriott Honored Guest.

  • Around six weeks ago a fairly well fleshed out development site was leaked for new program branding: Marriott Bonvoy. Marriott registered a bunch of domain names around Bonvoy and filed for a trademark.

What exactly are we supposed to understand from Bonvoy? What does it communicate? I’m not sure if bonvoy is supposed to evoke bon voyage, bon vivant, or is just supposed to be a made up word — a random collection of letters — that’s easy to trademark?

The test site’s description that “travel enriches the traveler and nourishes the world..opens minds, expands borders..” sounds very much like World of Hyatt marketing claptrap. I’ve confirmed though that this isn’t going to be their launch video.

Now Marriott has trademarked a logo. And presumably they spent actual money for this. (HT: Loyalty Lobby)

Unfortunately they’re investing in bad marketing when they need to be investing in fixing their IT — merged accounts that still aren’t right, elite status trackers that say members need only 75 nights for Ambassador status, and missing 75 night elite benefit options.

And if they are really that short of ideas for where to invest these dollars, to deliver strong branding, they might try putting the money into training customer service agents to give out accurate information.

Here’s the problem. The new logo also comes with changes to the rewards formula that devalues the product.

They could have saved the rebranding money and they might not have had to make their points less valuable through a new more expensive category 8 as well as peak season award pricing.

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. Hear hear.

    There must be some legal reason they’re changing (or adding) a name. Presumably so their credit card partners can be changed?

  2. Landor probably costs $500k for a decent branding initiative. Decent IT probably a lot more than that. Lipstick on a pig.

  3. I don’t really care what they call the new program . They just need to get it launched ASAP. There is so much speculation and angst about what will or won’t be part of the new program . Every day that goes by without the new program being launched just serves to further erode any goodwill that remains .

  4. @Maxie Dean, not sure what you have been waiting for. I believe “what will or won’t be part of the new program” has been determined, announced, put in place and even revised since the programs’ merger in August. The only thing left is announcing the new name.

  5. I expect that the formal launch of the new Marriott Bonfire program will come with a range of new enhancements as they row back further on what they originally promised. This Bonfire lark might be a cunning plan to distract while the do more devaluations

  6. I’m lifetime Gold (through Starwood stays), and easily within range of Lifetime Platinum in two years. Yet I probably won’t spend a single night there next year. My experience with Marriott is just so poor. Everytime I stay in a Marriott property I regret it even when it’s a free certificate.

  7. There are a couple of commercial tanker ships with the name Bonvoy.

    Marketing is the biggest racket in the world.

  8. I actually like the new AA logo (as do many others)…yes it is polarizing, but I personally dig the tail and the new brandmark

    The Bonvoy one, OTOH, is basically mocked by everyone

  9. LOL @ someone saying $500k for a decent branding initiative. Yeah right. Marriott/SPG pays more than $500k annually for only its outsourced rewards video production teams. And you’d be lucky if $500k got you a 30 second commercial by a reputable advertising firm.

  10. I agree that fixing the IT is much more important and everyone I know is mocking the new name. What a waste

  11. Fun fact: their IT is so bad, they gave me a free travel package the week before the merger. (No, I’m not making this up, it really happened. And I’m not spamming the comments, this really happened.)

    I got 110k AA miles (supposed to be 120k, but I wasn’t going to push it), and a 7 night stay at a now category 1-5.

    When I called in about it the day before the merger, it had something to do with migrating accounts early. I had transferred SPG points over to buy the package, so there was something messed up with my account. The phone representatives words: “There’s nothing I can do to subtract your points. I guess you got your travel package for free.”

    To say I was elated would be an understatement.

  12. @BB = creating a basic brandmark is a lot different than being a full creative agency of record w/ a broad creative output. Doesn’t seem like you know the difference.

  13. I recently stayed at the US Grant Marriott 5 star in San Diego. When I used their business computer to print something, I found that the business computer was placed in the side where literally anyone could come in and use it. What was worst that the password savings was turned on their Chrome browser and I saw over 50 saved passwords from multiple people there including their facebook, gmail, etc. It was insane!! I deleted all of them, all cookies and saved data, and turned off the save passwords. I saved some pictures for proof.

    I told the front desk manager who said IT was handled by an outside company and he would mention it to them. He had no sense of urgency. Just didn’t seem to care.

  14. Must have used the same company RI’s idiot governor did when they came up with Cooler and Warmer for the state tagline. Equally as stupid.

  15. Marriott Rewards customer service is stunningly bad. Whoever is in charge must have nude photos of someone because they should have been fired long ago.

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