Last week Marriott launched its first big promotion since launching their new program on August 18. Registration is required.
The offer that all members are supposed to be able to take advantage of is:
- Stays of two or more nights between September 26 and January 31, 2019 earn 2000 bonus points.
- Earn 1000 bonus points per brand you stay at during the promotion period starting with your second brand.
Except not all members are eligible for the promotion. It turns out that some members of the program are singled out not to be included in the offer.
The promotion terms say, “Registration is required. Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards (“Loyalty Program”) members who register for this promotion by January 7, 2019 will earn 2,000 bonus points per stay on stays of 2 or more nights at participating brands.”
Nowhere does this offer say that it is targeted. In order to be eligible you just have to be a loyalty program member. Except not all members are allowed to register. William Sanders, the Starwood Lurker, explained this:
Just an FYI, members that are part of the control group for this offer are not going to be able to register for it. You can try calling to register, but if the associate doesn’t find the offer on your account, then it won’t be possible to do so.
Marriott creates a ‘control group’ of members ineligible for their major promotion because they want to compare the stay patterns of those that are excluded from the offer with the rest of the membership. This data helps to demonstrate that promotions move the needle on consumer behavior.
If promotions didn’t encourage more stay activity, Marriott would be spending marketing dollars (rewarding customers) unnecessarily. So a control makes sense.
This is unfortunate for members who will earn fewer points from Marriott for their business over the next several months, however. And it’s not generally known that a promotion which isn’t targeted actually is… targeted.