Discussing Marriott’s £13b acquisition of Starwood to create the world’s largest hotel company last year, Arne Sorenson, chief executive of Marriott International, said Marriott initially dismissed the acquisition as far too expensive, but reconsidered when the deal became cheaper and after considering the challenges the future holds for Marriott and admitted that it was the lure of the combined loyalty programmes that made them reconsider – combining Starwood Preferred Guests and Marriott Rewards created a loyalty programme of 75 million guests with access to a portfolio of 6,000 hotels and 30 brands across 115 countries – allowing Marriott to compete with both other hotel companies and online travel agents (OTAs).
“We became convinced that the loyalty programme, the bigger we could make it, the more powerful our platform. With that much more choice for our customers, we could create a deeper connection with them that would protect us from intermediaries, from folks offering different products, from folks trying to use their technology to get in the middle of our relationships.”
He described the power of the companies’ combined rewards programmes as “both defensive and offensive” and a way to “protect” themselves and their guests from OTA poaching, however adding that when OTAs bring in extra business it is, of course, a positive.
source: The Caterer 7/3/17
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