Would You Buy Hotel Branded Swag?

by Anthony Losanno
Bonvoy TShirt

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I belong to several hotel groups on Facebook. They are a good source of honest feedback and thoughts around various properties. You’ll see some good reviews and praise as well as a whole lot of complaints. Some of these groups are managed by fans of a brand or loyalty program while others are direct links to the management itself. One of the latter posted a question yesterday and the answers were probably not what they were hoping to receive. They asked:

Would you be interested if we made Marriott Bonvoy branded merchandise? Please take a moment to answer the questions below!

  • Would you be interested in purchasing Marriott Bonvoy branded merchandise?
  • If yes, what products and items would you like to see?
  • Would you like the ability to purchase with points or cash?
  • Please provide any examples of brand merchandise you like (sharing links is acceptable).

In less than a day, the poll received 179 comments. They started out fine with people suggesting coffee table books, hoodies, and other swag, but this quickly became a mixed bag of complaints, off-topic remarks, and some funny replies. Of the 179 comments, my count has 43 saying they would buy Marriott swag, 79 saying they would not, and the rest being off topic.

Here are some of the ones that made me laugh:

  • I think it’s silly. My husband has an MVC polo and ask him if I can buy a timeshare if he wears it (my in-laws have MVC).
  • Someone needs to change their PR firm!
  • I would like a reward for loyalty and true stays in rooms. Maybe like an upgrade or something?
  • I’d be interested in an employee name tag so I could help the FDA’s locate the unavailable for upgrade but available for sale inventory to take care of titanium and ambassador guests. Other than that, maybe this question is better posed to the franchise hotel owners since they are your actual customers. 
  • Is it prank Wednesday and didn’t get the memo or the Marriott Bonvoy FB has been hacked?
  • I think the tenor of these replies indicates the difference between real Bonvoy travelers and Bonvoy management. Perhaps the employees are taking too many Marriott vitamins.
  • Sounds like a $40 t-shirt that’ll be devalued to $20 right after your buy it
  • If I pay you $100 for a suitcase, will it only hold 1/2 as much stuff in a year, followed by an email from Bonvoy saying my suitcase has been “enhanced” after customer feedback?
  • I’d sure love a complimentary Patek Philippe with a Marriott engraving on the case back for us loyal Titanium members!
  • Maybe t-shirts that show your status and all the people you are better than.

Marriott Merch

There is actually a site currently selling Marriott-branded swag, so maybe the team managing this group plans to promote and/or expand what is being sold there. If you’re interested, this can be found here.

Anthony’s Take: I like the idea of swag, but as others mentioned on Facebook, I would not buy it. Instead it should be given to members to help further build loyalty. It’s a win for Marriott with free advertising and if the items are good quality members will appreciate the gift.

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