MarriottStarwood merger finally closes what happens now to their loyalty programs

first_imgMarriott-Starwood merger finally closes, what happens now to their loyalty programs? Friday, September 23, 2016 Share By: Scott Mayerowitz Source: The Associated Press << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Loyalty Programs, Marriott, Starwood Hotels & Resorts NEW YORK — Several of the best-known names in travel are now united in one hotel company.Marriott International closed Friday morning on its US$13 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, bringing together its Marriott, Courtyard and Ritz Carlton brands with Starwood’s Sheraton, Westin, W and St. Regis properties.In total, 30 hotel brands now fall under the Marriott umbrella to create the largest hotel chain in the world with more than 5,700 properties and 1.1 million rooms in more than 110 countries. That’s more than 1 out of every 15 hotel rooms around the globe.Marriott now eclipses Hilton Worldwide’s 773,000 rooms and the 766,000 that are part of the Intercontinental Hotels Group family, according to STR, a firm that tracks hotel data.“We’ve got an ability to offer just that much more choice. A choice in locations, a choice in the kind of hotel, a choice in the amount a customer needs to spend,” Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday.Starwood’s guest loyalty program – Starwood Preferred Guest – was also a “central, strategic rationale for the transaction,” Sorenson said. The program’s members are deeply loyal to it, have generally higher incomes and tend to spend many nights on the road.Starting Friday, members of Starwood and Marriott’s two loyalty programs will be able to link their accounts together. Gold elite members in one program will get gold status in the other. Platinum elite members will get platinum in the other. Marriott silver members will see Starwood’s lowest category, Preferred Plus.Each Starwood point will be worth three Marriott Rewards points.Starwood put itself up for sale in April 2015. The Stamford, Connecticut, company had struggled to grow as fast as its rivals, particularly in “limited service hotels,” which are smaller properties that don’t have restaurants or banquet halls. They are often located on the side of the highway, near airports or in suburban office parks.To get Starwood, Marriott had to outbid China’s Anbang Insurance Group. U.S. and European anti-trust regulators were quick to approve the sale but the Chinese government hesitated, delaying the sale by months.“We may have been a little too optimistic about how fast we could get this thing closed,” Sorenson said Thursday.Marriott and Starwood – like other hotel chains – own very few individual hotels. Instead they manage or franchise their brands to hundreds of individual owners, often real estate development companies. Those individual hotel owners are responsible for setting nightly room rates. It isn’t uncommon for a developer to own a Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and Sheraton in the same city.The purchase gives Marriott more leverage with corporate travel departments who often look for one giant chain to house all of their employees. It also gives Marriott more power over Expedia and Priceline, the two giant online travel agencies that sell rooms on behalf of hotel companies in exchange for a commission. The hotel industry has spent the last year trying to get travellers to book directly with them instead of the travel agencies to avoid paying those fees.There are still many details to work out.Marriott has thrived as an “asset light” company, owning a handful of hotels. Starwood has been selling off properties, while signing long-term management agreements for those same hotels. As of June 30, it still owned 23 properties. Sorenson said he believes there is a strong market to continue selling off many of those iconic hotels.“There is always a market for the St. Regis in New York,” he said, adding that other assets in the portfolio have comparable stature. “In great global cities, real estate like that always has a value.”The new company will keep Marriott’s Bethesda, Maryland headquarters but hasn’t announced if it will keep any presence at Starwood’s Connecticut or New York offices.Then there are the 30 brands. Some have performed better than others but Sorenson said all of them will probably survive the merger.“I think so. Every one of them has hotels in them,” he noted.For now, Starwood and Marriott will keep separate loyalty programs. Starwood has a credit card deal with American Express as well as close partnerships with Delta Air Lines and Uber. Marriott has a much larger program with partnerships with Chase and United Airlines.“Nothing changes immediately. We have to see how those partnerships evolve,” Sorenson said.Gary Leff, who writes about points and miles at ViewFromTheWing.com, called the three-to-one exchange rate of Starwood points to Marriott points “just right.”“It’s one of the many reasonable and positive steps that Marriott has taken along the way as it acquires Starwood,” Leff said. “But there’s a whole lot still to happen between now and the programs actually being combined.”last_img read more

Asia Europe 2018 lineups new from Busabout

first_img Monday, November 13, 2017 Travelweek Group Share Posted by Asia, Europe 2018 lineups new from Busaboutcenter_img TORONTO — Busabout’s new Asia 2018 program includes the new ‘Unlimited Pass’, offering clients the chance to travel once on all Busabout Asia trips within a three-month period.With the Unlimited Pass clients choose where to start and finish, and everything in between and can travel all of Southeast Asia for $65 a day. In addition to the ‘Unlimited Pass’, four of Busabout’s most popular Asian trips have been improved: the five-day Southern Thailand Adventure; the six-day Southern Vietnam Adventure; the 10-day Thai Island Hopper; and the 24-day Vietnam & Cambodia Adventure.Clients who book and pay in full by Jan. 14, 2018 can save 10% off all 2018 departures as part of Busabout’s ‘Early Booking Deals’.Meanwhile Busabout, HAGGiS and Shamrocker Adventures have launched their new 2018-19 Europe brochure, as a follow up to their first-ever Europe Preview program.Next year will see the expansion of Busabout’s Hop-On Hop-Off travel network which includes new stops through Portugal and Spain and a trip to the foodie capital of Bologna for the first time.The new program will also offer an off-the-beaten-path exploration of Eastern Europe, as well as four new Europe Winter & Festive itineraries, nine new Adventures, and a new Winter Music Festival itinerary.More news:  GLP Worldwide introduces first-ever Wellness programsClients who book by Jan. 14, 2018 can save up to 15% off the new European experiences, including 15% off all Hop-On Hop-Off passes, as part of its Early Booking Deals.The new brochure has been re-designed with the agent in mind. Plus, 95% of the brochure has been designed using UGC (User Generated Content), created from Busabout travellers to reflect real experiences. The new design allows agents to not only offer their clients even more choice than before, but also showcase real-life experiences on any given trip, says the company, adding that agents can now also sell with 100% confidence with all Europe trips ‘Book and Go’ guaranteed.“We are excited to introduce our new Europe 2018-19 program – from our new additions to the Hop-On Hop-Off network to the re-designed brochure. We now visit 47 destinations in 15 countries across Europe on our Hop-On Hop-Off network,” said Damien Bennett, Vice-President of Sales in North America for Busabout. “This year we wanted to entice our travellers in a new way, allowing them to jump right into the pages of our new brochure and easily picture themselves on one of our trips, making selling fun for our loyal agents.”More news:  Can you guess the one and only hotel company to rank on Indeed’s Top Workplaces in Canada list?Highlights from the new Europe 2018-19 program include: the 2-day Croatian Adventure; the 15-day Ultimate Eastern Adventure (+ Eastern Highlights and Eastern Trail); Ski Festivals – Above & Below Ski Adventure and Rise Festival; and new Hop-On Hop-Off destinations include Bologna, Austrian Alps, Zakopane, Evora, Santiago de Compostela.Now featuring 47 destinations in 15 countries across Europe. The Unlimited Pass provides unlimited stops across the entire Hop-On Hop-Off network.For more information contact Canada sales manager Adam Bobawsky at adam@busabout.com, visit busabout.com or call 1-877-668-4328 and quote promo code EB1 for the Europe early booking special, or EBASIA18 for the Asia EBB. Tags: Asia Pacific, Britain & Europe, Brochures, Busabout, coach tours << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more