Marriot Customer LoyaltyIn a deal worth more than $12 billion, officials for Marriott International Inc. announced on Monday that it would acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. The result of the merger is the world’s largest hotel company, comprising 1.1 million rooms across 5,500 hotels around the world. The newly-formed company incorporates 30 total hotel brands, including Starwood’s impressive presence overseas. Both brands have demonstrated their commitment to customer experience, and the merge should allow both companies to continue this initiative.

Marriott and Starwood each feature existing loyalty programs, with 54 million and 21 million members, respectively. Customer loyalty is a key tenet of the hotel industry and loyalty programs have become more prolific than ever as a result. Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest are two such programs, and the companies are now joining forces to further enhance customer engagement and create a more complete portfolio. These programs are looking to grow as part of the acquisition, and both parties hope that customer engagement will continue to increase through these channels.

Starwood boasts an 11-brand portfolio that includes popular names such as Westin and Sheraton. The company has found success in expanding its overseas operations; about half of Starwood’s rooms are outside the U.S.

According to a press release, “The transaction combines Starwood’s leading lifestyle brands and international footprint with Marriott’s strong presence in the luxury and select-service tiers, as well as the convention and resort segment, creating a more comprehensive portfolio.”

Starwood Interim CEO Adam Aron said in the release that his company is “excited to play a vital role in the creation of the biggest and best hotel company in the world with tremendous upside potential. The combination of our two companies brings together the best in innovation, culture, and execution. Our guests and customers will benefit from so many more options across 30 hotel brands, while our hotel owners and franchisees will derive value from our combined global platform and efficiencies.”

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