By Ed Attwood
Arne Sorenson cites need for customer choice after acquisition of Starwood, making world's largest hotel chain
Marriott International is not planning to drop or merge any of the 30 brands it now has following its acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which was completed on Friday morning.
The purchase adds an additional 11 brands to Marriott’s existing portfolio of 19, creating the world’s largest hotel company. Those include the St Regis, W Hotels and Sheraton brands.
In total, Marriott now has more than 5,700 hotels and 1.1 million rooms in 110 countries around the planet.
However, in an interview with Arabian Business, chief executive Arne Sorenson said the firm would attempt to keep all 30 brands, citing the need for customer choice.
“Well, you never know over time, but I think generally the right assumption is that we’ll keep them all and I don’t think it’s too many,” he said. “There are a couple of things that I think are important here.
“One is that loyalty programmes are really the principal tool that we use to market the portfolio and while each brand needs to be as distinct as it possibly can be and we’ll work hard on that, the ranges of choice through that portfolio is what I think is most compelling. So I think having more choice in more markets around the world is generally a good thing.
“The second thing is every hotel in our system is owned by one of our partners, and the agreements we have with those partners doesn’t allow us to change brands on their hotels. And as a consequence it’s really only over a long period of time that there could be any revision to that brand line-up.”
The Marriott portfolio prior to the acquisition included brands such as The Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance Hotels and Residence Inn.
Marriott said that customers at two firms’ loyalty schemes, which are amongst the largest in the world, would be able to link their accounts today.