First Major Disappointment with Starwood

Discussion in 'Starwood | Preferred Guest' started by Steven Schwartz, May 15, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Been a member of SPG for over 10 years and Platinum for about 8 of them. Have absolutely loved the experience and the treatment - even purchased two Starwood timeshares over the years.

    SPG has their "Moments" where they make experiences like entertainment and sports available to members for varying amounts of points. Saw one yesterday that had me excited - golf with Natalie Gulbis and Trevor Immelman at Plainfield Country Club here in NJ. Fabulous course and, I'm sure, what promises to be an exceptional day.

    Called my business partner to see if he wanted to do it with me and he was more than ready. Then I again checked the dates. To my astonishment, it's on Yom Kippur. Now I know that I'm not in the majority, but that's truly a day that is in every secular calendar and that most everyone knows is a pretty holy day. I'm astounded and disappointed that Starwood chose to sponsor this on such a day.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2014
  2. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Honestly, I don't think Yom Kippur is on very many secular calendars at all (outside of the NYC school system and alternate-side-of-the-street-parking calendars). Nor, in my opinion, should it be. It would be nice if folks checked a calendar of cross-cultural major religious holidays before planning public events (and I'm sure you'll get a nice apology from SPG for their not having done so) but this kind of thing is not uncommon.

    Also, I think you meant "golf" rather than "gold"?
     
  3. seaflyguy
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    seaflyguy Silver Member

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    According to the American Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, as a percentage, the Jewish population of New Jersey was 5.7 percent in 2012. (The comparable percentage for the US as a whole was 2.1 percent.) Are you saying that Starwood should avoid scheduling events that would fall on holidays observed by 1 in 20 of the citizens of the states in which the events are held? Or 1 in 50 of the citizens of the countries?
     
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  4. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    It's on my desk calendar, but so is "Patriot Day" and Mexican independence day, so it's rather inclusive.
    Seems like a stretch to me. It'd be a lot more insulting if no one scheduled anything over that time period to appease a few percent of the population's religious beliefs. A Friday in fall seems like a reasonable date to me. You say it's a "pretty holy day" - to you maybe, to many others (the large majority) it's not.
     
  5. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    As a Jew, I have no problem whatsoever with Starwood scheduling things like this on Yom Kippur. As noted above, we (Jews) are a relatively small proportion of the population. We cannot reasonably expect the rest of the country to schedule things around us like this (in most cases). To say that they should seems rather arrogant to me.
     
  6. GoldbergDA

    GoldbergDA New Member

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    Two words for ya, Steven - from a fellow Jew and a fellow Garden Stater: Sandy Koufax.
     
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  7. Kalboz
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    Kalboz Gold Member

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    I am an outsider (not Jew) and I don't think the OP is being unreasonable here ... after all, hospitality is about accommodating people. Even though the Jewish population is relatively low to the entire population, it is robust in the frequent traveling community and the crowds that hangs around our circles. SPG should have foreseen this ...

    This reminds me of the fiasco when Flyertalk recently scheduled their mods annual meeting (or some important get-together) during a major Jewish holiday!
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2014
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  8. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Do keep in mind that this isn't a one-off event (for SPG at least). There's somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 moments currently posted, not counting the multiple concert dates/performers often under one heading. They have other events with the same golfers (one of them at least) later in the month. They are putting on events throughout the year (and what do we know of the golfers involved other commitments? Surely they have packed schedules as well) - not just over Yom Kippur. If they decided to hold an event that was of particular interest to me on some holiday of great importance to me, I'd be annoyed and miss out, but I wouldn't hold it against them. It's their business to be hospitable to everyone, not only Jews.
    For a small group where attendence is important, that either wouldn't matter at all, or would be a complete disaster (sounds like a disaster in this case) as who attends matters rather than just needing to have attendees. When dealing with one in a series of events marketed to the population at-large, it would seem to be less so.

    The problem here that what would be a big event for some is just another day in the office for others.
     
  9. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    But.... how many people in NJ (let's include the tri-state area) and the country are Jewish golfers who might be interested in this 'moment'? Here my friend you're numbers are way way off.
     
  10. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    How about giving your numbers since you apparently think you know better?:)
     
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  11. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    Early today, I though this was sort of ho hum, but reading back to your title I think you posted well. I could see how you are disappointed to miss out on this event.
     
  12. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    I know that giving percentages of Jews in the entire country when this is held in the tri-state area is irrelevant. I also know that this isn't targeted at the general everyday schmoe so the numbers, again, are irrelevant. Feel free to believe what you will however as you've clearly not thought this through.
     
  13. sendaiben
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    sendaiben Gold Member

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    I'm an atheist, and I find the idea that society should conform to the belief systems of a minority (or majority) distasteful. Taken to extremes, we probably couldn't do (or eat) anything :eek:

    If you choose not to attend an event because of your religious beliefs, fair play. If you try to get the event cancelled or rescheduled to accommodate you, I find that pretty selfish.
     
  14. brucewil

    brucewil Silver Member

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    As a fellow Tribe member I sympathize with Steve's feelings. Yom Kippur is the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. The frustration here is knowing that there is no way an event like this would be held on Easter Sunday or Christmas Day. That being said, the World is a different place than it was years ago. Professional and College sports teams play on days like these all the time now. We have a choice to honor or not honor our beliefs as Sandy Koufax did almost 50 years ago. That is our choice.

    As far as participation in an event like this, I feel Starwood did somewhat ignore their target market. We are not talking about a National event that is for everyone in the entire country, so those percentages (as has already been pointed out) are irrelevant. We are talking about the NY, NJ, Philly metropolitan area for an event that is catering to the top 1-2% of income earners. In my experience, attendance at a golf event like this would probably be 20-25% Jewish. So in that regard Starwood missed. Did they do anything wrong? I don't really see that.
     
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  15. Garp74

    Garp74 Gold Member

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    newbluesea, I see a calm, rational, thoughtful discussion. It's not OMNI. I like the approach of those who have replied. This thread is emblematic of why I like MP.
     
  16. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    So an update. I guess I was a little surprised by some of the comments but in general, they present another perspective that is in no way unreasonable. Really, with the exception of one or two posts, I can take both the support and the criticism. I think the Sandy Koufax argument has the most merit but I do continue to feel that it should have been better thought out. The best argument for Starwood to me is that the calendar lists the NEXT day as Yom Kippur and I can well understand that the overwhelming majority of the country does not realize that the holiday starts the previous evening. In some ways, I think I had somewhat of a knee-jerk reaction to getting excited about it and then realizing I could not go. I could well understand if my issue was one of the other, less well-known holidays that I still observe. Just seemed Yom Kippur was on a different scale both Jewishly and nationally. Again, from the NYC area, heck, even public schools are closed that day and as some have mentioned, this IS a Northeast event.

    FWIW, I'm over it and have moved on. Thought I would share Starwood's response. For the record, she mentions inability to reschedule it and I want all to know that I never requested or expected that. But I appreciated the timely response. Here goes:

    Dear Dr. Schwartz,

    Thank you for contacting Starwood Preferred Guest. It is always a pleasure to hear from our elite Platinum members.

    Dr. Schwartz, we would like to thank you for your continued loyalty to our hotels and program since 1999. It is truly appreciated as we know you have a choice in where you stay and are pleased to know we are part of this choice. I am sorry to hear about the frustration the date of this event has caused. It was never our intention to cause this frustration for you. As we do not have control over the dates which are set, I do apologize we can not change it. I do hope we are able to accommodate you on another golf experience offered in the future.


    We are always here to help and look forward to assisting you with your upcoming travel needs. Should you require additional assistance, simply reply to this e-mail. If you prefer, you may chat with us online or we can call you. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

    Best Regards,

    Tiffany XXXXX
    Platinum eConcierge
    Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
     
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  17. seaflyguy
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    seaflyguy Silver Member

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    I provided numbers both for NJ (5.7%) and for the country as a whole. If we're talking "tri-state area", which I assume means NY-NJ-CT, then it's 7.4%.

    I couldn't find anything on the rates of golf participation in the Jewish community as compared to the population as a whole. I'm sure it's out there somewhere; I just don't have the time to dig deep enough.

    I don't wish to continue the discussion about whether SPG should have avoided Yom Kippur when they scheduled this event. It seems that the folks here on both sides of that issue have said what they wanted to say, and it seems that the OP is reasonably satisfied with SPG's response. What I will say is this: I dislike it when a debate is going on, I bring sourced numbers to inform the debate, and then am told my numbers are wrong, skewed, irrelevant, you name it, by people who don't bring their own. If someone wants to claim my data is irrelevant, that's fine, as long as they contribute their own sourced data to the discussion.
     
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  18. brucewil

    brucewil Silver Member

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    If you want to turn this into a statistical discussion that is relevant to this specific situation, you should include income, because these events are not meant for the general public. I think that would alter the numbers once again. Just don't throw out numbers that YOU think are relevant and tell others they are wrong as well.

    I think this discussion has probably run it's course as you said the OP seems satisfied.
     
  19. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    He can include whatever the best numbers available to him are. At some point the real demographic for this event is "SPG members who can make it to the venue, have enough points to spend, and are interested in participating." No one has the exact statistics on that demographic. What is indisputedly not justifiable is claiming his statistics are wrong without contributing any alternative numbers or at a more-realistic minimum providing a discussion why.

    And regarding the specific points - the nationwide numbers speak to SPG's overall audience (with nationwide and even global scope...and as a hotel loyalty program there is little doubt that a lot of people travel to attend "moments"...). Seaflyguy's numbers for sure have relevance - at a minimum in terms of establishing the baseline that the organizers are working from.

    Is it less than ideal to schedule such an event in the NY area on this day? Absolutely! Was it entirely up to SPG? Maybe, maybe not. Assuming they wanted to schedule on a Friday in the fall there are only so many of those available, and multiple moving-pieces to coordinate. Also, there's a very real chance that the event isn't necessarily organized locally, but in a more centralized manner. I imagine at some point the holiday came up in discussions but other commitments had locked in the dates, and rather than not have the event they elected to exclude (using your guesstimates) 20-25% of possible attendees who would be unable to attend, ultimately a handful of customers of a global chain. If this was my thing, I'd definitely be disappointed that I couldn't attend, but I wouldn't necessarily be disappointed in SPG for scheduling it as they did.

    Also I'm certainly not particularly familiar with Yom Kippur particulars, but as it was mentioned that it starts in the evening possibly this concludes sooner? Still cutting it way close of course, and I'm not at all familiar with typical observance here...
     
  20. brucewil

    brucewil Silver Member

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    If you read my first post, you will see I said I did not feel SPG did anything wrong in scheduling the event on a major Jewish holiday. I said we all make our choices whether or not to attend. I was merely stating that the "statistics" that were being quoted have little to do with the local event in that area of the country and the demographics that fit the SPG lifestyle they are promoting. Only that and nothing more.
     
  21. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Take a deep breath everyone. I'm sorry I started this whole thing and I certainly never expected that it would lead to people going after each other. I don't want a transient upset with Starwood to lead to any bad feelings amongst the members of this community. There are more important things in life than being right.
     
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  22. Jaimito Cartero
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    Jaimito Cartero Silver Member

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    It comes down to that there are so many holidays out there. Most days are going to be important to someone.
     
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  23. WilliamQ

    WilliamQ Gold Member

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    There are indeed more important things in life than being "right". In my own experience, I can easily think of a few where being "wrong" beats proving I am "right" in the bigger picture.
     
  24. bigx0

    bigx0 Gold Member

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    Not trying to debate further but I do have a "curiosity question" which is also relevant: Anyone have any idea how many of the 7.4% are observant enough to care about the religious holiday?
     
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  25. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    No one can really answer this so anything offered would be a guess and opinion. So here's mine. If it was Chanukah, everyone would play. If it was Passover or Sukkot, most would play. If it was Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur, few would play. But again, who knows? Sandy Koufax was offered as an example above. He was most certainly not religious - just felt it would be inappropriate.
     
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