Marriott Vacation Club (AP) response to coronavirus

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Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)

  • IanFromHKG
    Participant

    Forgive me for posting something that has sod-all to do with business travel, but is related to the many threads on here about how airlines and hotel groups etc are dealing with coronavirus issues.

    We have had, for many years, several “timeshare”-like arrangements with the Marriott group in Phuket (with a total price paid to Marriott of many tens of thousands of USD, and for which we pay a few thousand USD each year to Marriott in maintenance fees). I hold one in my own name, the Memsahib holds another in her own name, and we jointly hold more. This Easter we expected to be in our “home resort” in Phuket, using the Memsahib’s “week” and booked it many months ago. As the coronavirus impact has spread we have been forced to adjust our plans as quarantine requirements imposed by Thailand mean we simply cannot use a week – it’s completely impossible, we’d have to go for two weeks to satisfy the 14-day lockdown requirement.

    For the last three weeks we have been trying to persuade Marriott to change our booking to dates in September when we know they have availability. They have refused. They insist that the only way we can change it is to put it into Interval International (an exchange programme, which the Memsahib isn’t a member of and would have to pay to join but even then she would only get a 30-day booking window, which means we are unlikely to get another week when we want to use it).

    We are not trying to cancel – just change the dates. There is no issue with “rates” because this is a week we “own” (we simply pay an annual fee).

    One would have thought that in these circumstances Marriott Vacation Club would show a bit of flexibility = we have been members for many years and only want to move our booking to another week later this year when, we hope, travel restrictions have been relaxed.

    They have lost so much goodwill over this. We can’t get a refund because we already own the week so there is nothing to refund, they are just expecting us to pay an additional fee with no guarantee of getting anything in return, or forfeit our week.

    The idiocy of this is that if we forfeit the week they lose the revenue they would have earnt if we were in the resort. The stupidity of this situation just infuriates me. They are ultimately losing potential revenue and pissing off a loyal customer. What is the sense of that?

    Sorry for the rant.


    SimonS1
    Participant

    To be honest I think some groups are simply overwhelmed by events which are beyond most contingency plans, and decision making and policy cannot keep up.

    My daughter works in BA Holidays, she has fielded calls all day every day for last 6 days, asking everything imaginable. People want to change to May/June/July. Weddings. Refunds. Vouchers, Compensation (yes) and so on. Luckily most people are understanding, a handful think the world revolves around them.

    At the same time guidelines from the company are inevitably changing day to day. They are not shifting people to September as it is unclear and highly doubtful that anything will be possible within 6 months, and if it is then capacity is unlikely to be close to what it was as destinations are cautious.

    People are off sick, colleagues are concerned for their parents and friends and so on.

    We have also spent a week getting a 73 year old colleague out of Samui. He couldn’t get back to his home in Cyprus, so with a ferry and 2 flights we got him an AirBnB in HK for 6 weeks.

    I can imagine it is frustrating for you and you are pissed off but it isnt a life/death issue. My suggestion, it is what it is, try to resolve it after the event with some compensatory claim or try your travel insurance.


    GivingupBA
    Participant

    Very sorry to hear about that, Ian. I would’ve expected better from Marriott personally. And no need to say “Sorry for the rant”, looks justified to me.

    I’ve been very well treated by one airline and also a couple of hotels since this whole thing started (including the Regal Airport Hotel in HKG [a place I am not associated with], which refunded me in full for 2 no-cancel no-refund nights I had booked for March – I just emailed them and asked if they’d consider it – I really appreciated that).


    Swissdiver
    Participant

    We have to accept the fact we are living something unique. Contingency plans were not adapted. And many businesses are loosing a massive amount of business that will, for some, get them bankrupted. The hotels are of course among these. In addition, the chains rarely own properties, they only manage them and have to deal with an owner or a group of owners. So I think, Ian, you’ll have to wait and see.


    K1ngston
    Participant

    Forgive me for posting something that has sod-all to do with business travel, but is related to the many threads on here about how airlines and hotel groups etc are dealing with coronavirus issues.

    We have had, for many years, several “timeshare”-like arrangements with the Marriott group in Phuket (with a total price paid to Marriott of many tens of thousands of USD, and for which we pay a few thousand USD each year to Marriott in maintenance fees). I hold one in my own name, the Memsahib holds another in her own name, and we jointly hold more. This Easter we expected to be in our “home resort” in Phuket, using the Memsahib’s “week” and booked it many months ago. As the coronavirus impact has spread we have been forced to adjust our plans as quarantine requirements imposed by Thailand mean we simply cannot use a week – it’s completely impossible, we’d have to go for two weeks to satisfy the 14-day lockdown requirement.

    For the last three weeks we have been trying to persuade Marriott to change our booking to dates in September when we know they have availability. They have refused. They insist that the only way we can change it is to put it into Interval International (an exchange programme, which the Memsahib isn’t a member of and would have to pay to join but even then she would only get a 30-day booking window, which means we are unlikely to get another week when we want to use it).

    We are not trying to cancel – just change the dates. There is no issue with “rates” because this is a week we “own” (we simply pay an annual fee).

    One would have thought that in these circumstances Marriott Vacation Club would show a bit of flexibility = we have been members for many years and only want to move our booking to another week later this year when, we hope, travel restrictions have been relaxed.

    They have lost so much goodwill over this. We can’t get a refund because we already own the week so there is nothing to refund, they are just expecting us to pay an additional fee with no guarantee of getting anything in return, or forfeit our week.

    The idiocy of this is that if we forfeit the week they lose the revenue they would have earnt if we were in the resort. The stupidity of this situation just infuriates me. They are ultimately losing potential revenue and pissing off a loyal customer. What is the sense of that?

    Sorry for the rant.

    The interesting thing Ian is that the resort is totally dead and with no forward bookings ( I have a friend who is a GM of a hotel here) and they are in desperate trouble so you would have thought a bit of common sense would prevail? I understand the points that Simon also makes but you would have thought they would have a competent plan in place by now?


    SimonS1
    Participant

    I understand the points that Simon also makes but you would have thought they would have a competent plan in place by now?

    Easier said than done.

    In the transport world things are changing hour by hour. Look at yesterday – all EK flights cancelled, then reinstated, then all flights stopped by government.

    Also companies are struggling with contingency plans, staff are worried about friends and family, plus their jobs, and so on.

    Of course it’s frustrating but brutal reality is that in a time of emergency, changing someone’s timeshare to September just isnt a priority.


    IanFromHKG
    Participant

    Dear all, apologies for the radio silence – it’s been a bit hectic. Thanks for the feedback. I do realise that this isn’t a priority for Marriott or their staff (although the amount of effort we asked from them was minimal, and would have created additional revenue for them) and of course it isn’t a life-or-death issue. In the days since I posted this rant much has changed and the situation has become much, much worse, and has genuinely become a life-or-death issue for tens of thousands of people around the world. I count myself lucky that so far my family have remained safe – although the Memsahib is flying back to HKG from the UK tomorrow, so fingers crossed for that!! She will go into home quarantine just before the Offspring come out, meaning I have to stay working from home for even longer (which I am not upset about in the least, save that I am already starting to go slightly stir-crazy!).

    The upshot of all this was that Marriott continued to refuse to change the dates. We have put the week into Interval International and will see if we can get a slot that works for us. When we are next in the resort, I shall make a point of attending the owners’ drinks (we normally skip it) and laying into the management on the topic. The irony is that we were seriously contemplating buying more points (they no longer sell “weeks”, just points), but the goodwill they have lost over this is definitely making us reconsider that idea.

    SimonS1 suggested an insurance claim, but our insurance just doesn’t cover this situation, and we probably don’t have an insurable interest anyway (it would be like claiming on travel insurance for not being able to spend a week in a holiday cottage you own).

    Anyway, best wishes to all – stay healthy!

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    askfowler
    Participant

    Marriott seem intent on dropping their loyalty standards, I too am faced with an ” offer” of Interval International reservation instead of a week at Marbella. This is restricted to a smaller property and with limited booking period. I have been an owner for 20 years, introduced many friends to the programme, use Marriott hotels for my business throughout the world all this is cast aside and gross failure of customer service. Their approach will cost many times more in bad press and certainly I have given instructions to my staff not to use any hotels within the group.


    EKW1
    Participant

    I too am a long time timeshare owner at Marriott Phuket Beach Club and look set to be losing my owner week usage in June. As others have said, this is not a life and death issue. But I’m not writing missives on the CDC website. This is Business Traveller Asia Pacific. I paid my annual dues a week late and I am still being pestered by Marriott International (based in Cork, Ireland) to pay the overdue fee. So just on a point of order – they are not forgiving timeshare owners, so we don’t owe them any favors either.

    How Marriott managed to get my personal data on EU computers without my consent is another matter. I signed my agreement in 2004, long before the EU office was established.

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