Marriott’s top tier 100 night elite status is called Ambassador. The unique selling proposition is supposed to be a dedicated contact who takes care of all the member’s Marriott needs, ensuring a seamless experience. They contact hotels, ensure preferences are met, assist with upgrades and even occasionally send gifts. The Ambassador is supposed to get to know the member and their preferences so that their stays are personalized and special.
Except even with a $20,000 spending requirement on top of 100 elite nights, there were too many members for the small investment Marriott was making in the program. Each Ambassador representative was assigned to around 300 members, and the quality of their work varied significantly.
During the pandemic, Marriott performed mass layoffs of the representatives who took care of their best customers. And while Marriott still advertises “Your personal point of contact is always at your service for every stay” Ambassador members no longer get a personal point of contact and can no longer reach out to an individual agent directly as those “addresses will no longer be monitored.” Hyatt, by the way, still provides assigned agents to its 60-night top tier elites (with no minimum spend requirement).
This year Marriott has reduced its spending requirement for Ambassador status to $14,000, though I do not see the real benefit to being an Ambassador over a Titanium member, and for many the benefits of 75-night Titanium status aren’t that significant over Platinum (an extra choice benefit, like 5 more Suite Night Awards which rarely clear, and potential suite upgrades during Ritz-Carlton stays).
Perhaps recognizing this, Marriott is surveying Ambassador members on their current feeling about the program.
Travel may have changed over the past year, but our commitment to providing you an exceptional experience has not. The feedback you provide about your experience as a Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite member is more important than ever.
They ask members to select the service they find most valuable and which they’re currently using most: assistance with reservations, help during a stay, or addressing things after a stay? Making arrangements for the time they’re staying on property, like restaurants and events? Is it late check-out or early check-in requests, or help navigating the Bonvoy program?
The survey also asks their experience with the Ambassador Services team: whether the ‘team’ takes interest in the member as a person; anticipates their needs; knows and understands their preferences; responds promptly; whether they’re knowledgable about the program and whether they provide a unique, specialized service… or not.
Finally Ambassador members are asked for narrative on “what is working well and opportunities for improvement as we seek to continually improve.”
The survey doesn’t ask about benefits of the Ambassador level, that doesn’t appear to be what they’re focusing on here. They aren’t asking about properties ignoring those benefits either. It isn’t about lack of consistent delivery. It’s about the Ambassador interaction itself now that Marriott has removed the unique selling proposition for the level, that 100 night top spending customers would have a dedicated point of contact who would get to know them and take care of all of their needs rather than getting passed around different representatives.
Whether Marriott is looking for data to cherry pick to tell them that’s ok, or whether they’re trying to measure whether they need to adjust is of course not clear from the survey.