CTV Reveals First 10 Aspiring Artists Selected to Appear on CTVs New

first_imgAdvertisement James MarshallInstagram: @marshallxjamesHometown: Acton, Ont.Musical Genres: Pop, blues, rockThe singer/songwriter expresses his adventurous soul through his unique blend of pop, blues, and rock-infused music, learning over the years that no matter the scale of venue in which he is playing, music is something he will always love and cherish.Dream Musical Duo: Jimi HendrixFull Bio: CTV.ca/James-Marshall Zack LaneInstagram: @zack_lane1Hometown: Moncton, N.B.Musical Genres: Pop, pop-rock, folk-popMultiple award-winning Canadian songwriter, performer, and recording artist Zack Lane has shared the stage with artists including Jann Arden, Jeff Cook, and the iconic group Alabama, and he has garnered numerous grand prize wins at coveted vocal competitions, enthralling audiences across North America.Can’t Live Without: Pizza!Musical Inspiration: My family heritage, rooted in the musical and culturally-rich region of Newfoundland.Full Bio: CTV.ca/Zack-Lane Logan StaatsTwitter: @LoganStaatsInstagram: @Logan_StaatsHometown: Ohsweken, Six Nations Of The Grand River, Ont.Musical Genres:  Folk/blues/soulRaised in the town of Brantford, Ont., Logan Staats started writing and performing music in his early teens. His haunting and distinct voice has provided opportunities to share the stage with acts such as Buffy Sainte-Marie, Keith Secola, and Mumford and Sons, to name just a few. Armed with his guitar and harmonica, the folk/blues/soul artist is determined to raise the bar for Indigenous/ mainstream crossover music.What inspires you musically? Culture, love, loss, desperation, and healingFull Bio: CTV.ca/Logan-Staats Login/Register With: Facebook Vivian HicksTwitter: @vivianhicksInstagram: @vivianhicksofficialHometown: Georgetown, Ont.Musical Genres:  Pop, Broadway, jazzSinger, songwriter, dancer, actress, and model Vivian Hicks is truly a quintuple threat. Taking up singing and dancing at a very early age, Vivian has won numerous awards in her disciplines, including more than 11 U.S. scholarships.Musical.ly Inclined: Vivian has made a name for herself on social media with several of her raw videos going viral on Instagram and Facebook. She has more than 1 million fans on Musical.ly, receiving re-posts and accolades from her idols including Fifth Harmony, Bruno Mars, Meghan Trainor, The Chainsmokers, and more.Full Bio: CTV.ca/Vivian-Hicks LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Amy BishopHometown: Calgary, Alta.Musical Genre: Original bluesy pop-rockWith a voice that is a combination of smooth pavement and rough gravel, and the ability to charm listeners with her sweet tones, yet stun audiences with her ability to hit any high note, Amy’s spectacular performances to date include collaborations with Moby, April Wine, Farmer’s Daughter, and Chris Cummings.Dream Duet Partner: I would LOVE to perform with k.d. lang, I think our voices would blend so well together!Personal Motto: There’s always something to be thankful for.Full Bio: CTV.ca/Amy-Bishop The Revel BoysInstagram: @therevelboysHometown: TorontoMusical Genres: PopStarted by brothers Tyson and Myles Erlick in 2015, The Revel Boys began as a collective of friends making beats and YouTube cover videos and has been building steam ever since. The Revel Boys current lineup also includes GTA rapper/songwriter Akiel Julien, singer/beat maker Noah Zulfikar, and singer/keyboardist Josh Lamb.Collaborations To Date: Jocelyn Alice, Kojak, Walk Off the Earth, Commissioner Gordon and White Tiger Society, and Lionshead.Full Bio: CTV.ca/The-Revel-Boys Divine LightbodyTwitter: @DivineluvzzInstagram: @divineluvzzHometown: Brampton, Ont.Musical Genres: R&B, soul, hip-hop, pop, and reggae.The singer and multi-instrumentalist discovered her passion for music at a young age. The Brampton, Ont. teen was the lead in Broadway Bound’s “Grease” production in 2011.By The Numbers: Her YouTube™ channel received more than 14,000 hits only a few months after launching.Full Bio: CTV.ca/Divine-Lightbody Nicky MacKenzieTwitter: @mackenzienicky1Instagram: @nicky_mackenzieHometown: Salt Spring Island, B.C.Musical genres: R&B, jazz, alternative, popSinging before she could even talk, Nicky plays several instruments including piano, guitar, and harp. She never hesitates to take every opportunity she can to perform, with her jazzy vocals flowing beautifully over the alternative/R&B music she strives to write and perform.Can’t Live Without: Coffee!Full Bio: CTV.ca/Nicky-Mackenzie Advertisement (Top Row L-R: Amy Bishop, Divine Lightbody, Faiza, James Marshall, LITEYEARS) (Second Row L-R: Logan Staats, Nicky MacKenzie The Revel Boys, Vivian Hicks, Zach Lane) (CNW Group/CTV) TORONTO, Nov. 7, 2017 – With production now wrapped on the inaugural season of THE LAUNCH, CTV today unveiled the first 10 artists selected to participate in the all-new, six-part musical series slated to premiere in mid-season. Today’s announcement represents the first 10 of 30 artists to be revealed over the next three days, introducing Canadians from across the country to THE LAUNCH‘s astonishing array of aspiring artists.Hand-picked from among more than 10,000 emerging performers, the artists were selected to be on THE LAUNCH following an international casting call and completion of an extensive A&R and review process. Vying for the chance of a lifetime – the opportunity to record and perform a new original song written by a world famous songwriter/producer and mentored by a panel of internationally renowned music industry legends – the selected artists face the life-changing prospect of being catapulted from discovery to stardom in just 48 hours.Representing wildly diverse musical tastes, styles, and genres running the gamut from Blues to Broadway, Pop to Soul, R&B to Reggae, Hip Hop, Alternative, Rock, Folk, Jazz – and more, THE LAUNCH‘s emerging artists illustrate a vast array of styles and hybrids of genres both vocally and instrumentally, indicative of the platinum standard of talent taking part in the series’ inaugural season. A staggering roster of musical A-listers join THE LAUNCH co-creator and world-renowned music mogul Scott Borchetta in the series’ inaugural season to amplify the experience for the 30 selected artists with invaluable industry guidance and mentorship. Superstar mentors include Shania Twain, Fergie, Boy George, Alessia Cara, Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe, Julia Michaels, and Jennifer Nettles.In addition, award-winning producers/songwriters cast alongside Borchetta in the breakout season of THE LAUNCH include OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, busbee (P!nk, Shakira, Blake Shelton), Dann Huff (producer behind more than 50 #1 hit records), Ian Kirkpatrick (behind multi-platinum hit songs from Jason Derulo and Selena Gomez), and Canada’s own Stephan Moccio, the music mastermind behind massive, inescapable hits like the quintuple-platinum “Wrecking Ball”.Today’s announcement will be followed up tomorrow (Wednesday, Nov. 8) with the release of 10 additional artists selected to participate on THE LAUNCH. In addition, viewers are invited to catch interviews with some of the series’ participating artists today and over the next three days across Bell Media properties.THE LAUNCH was put into development in January 2016. The series was co-developed by and is produced by Bell Media in association with Scott Borchetta of Big Machine Label Group, Paul Franklin of Eureka (MASTERCHEF, THE BIGGEST LOSER), in partnership with John Brunton and Lindsay Cox of Insight Productions (THE AMAZING RACE CANADA, CANADIAN IDOL, THE JUNO AWARDS).THE LAUNCH is executive produced by Scott Borchetta, Randy Lennox and John Brunton; Lindsay Cox and Paul Franklin are Showrunners and Executive Producers; Executive producers for Bell Media are Robin Johnston and Corrie Coe, who is also Senior Vice-President, Original Programming, Bell Media. Pat DiVittorio is Vice-President, CTV and Specialty Programming, Mike Cosentino is President, Content and Programming, Bell Media. Randy Lennox is President, Bell Media.SOCIAL MEDIA LINKSTwitter:@TheLaunchCTV @BellMediaPR@bigmachine@CTV_PR@CTV_Television@insightprod@iHeartRadioCAFacebook:www.facebook.com/CTVwww.facebook.com/TheLaunchCTViHeartRadio CanadaInstagram:@TheLaunchCTV @CTV_PR @ctv_televisioniHeartRadioCAWebsite:www.ctv.ca/TheLaunchAbout Big Machine Label GroupLed by Founder, President and CEO Scott Borchetta, the Big Machine Label Group encompasses Big Machine Records, The Valory Music Co., BMLG Records, Nash Icon Records and publishing company Big Machine Music as well as its own digital radio station, Big Machine Radio. BMLG artists include superstars Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Brantley Gilbert, Hank Williams Jr., Ronnie Dunn, Cheap Trick and Jennifer Nettles; chart-topping acts Justin Moore, Eli Young Band, Brett Young, Aaron Lewis, THE VOICE winner Danielle Bradbery; up-and-comers Midland, Carly Pearce, Delta Rae, The Cadillac Three, Drake White, Tucker Beathard, and Tara Thompson. BMLG also helms soundtracks for the hit TV show NASHVILLE. BMLG artists have received multiple GRAMMY, CMA, ACM, AMA, CMT, Teen Choice, MTV, Billboard, People’s Choice, and Brit Awards. Big Machine is the first-ever American label to align with terrestrial radio for performance royalty rights for its artists and is an industry leader in fighting for artist, songwriter, publisher and record company rights. Visit BigMachineLabelGroup.com for more information.About EurekaEureka is a next-generation production company combining the expertise, credibility and key relationships traditionally found within large multi-national production companies with the energy and nimbleness of a startup. Launched in January 2016, Eureka has offices in Los Angeles and Sydney and produces both unscripted and scripted programs. Within less than a year of opening Eurekahas over sixty hours of programming commissioned in 2017 with more series to be announced soon.About Insight Production Company, Ltd.Insight Productions, known for its award-winning ratings juggernauts, is Canada’s most established content producer. Headed by CEO John Brunton & COO Barbara Bowlby, Insight is an industry leader in the development, financing, and production of hit programming, both scripted and unscripted. THE TRAGICALLY HIP: A NATIONAL CELEBRATION; THE JUNO AWARDS; CANADA’S WALK OF FAME; BIG BROTHER CANADA; HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD; and THE AMAZING RACE CANADA – the most watched Canadian series on record – were collectively nominated for 31 Canadian Screen Awards in 2017 taking home 14 statues. Year after year, THE AMAZING RACE CANADA wins the Golden Screen, the CSA for the highest-rated reality program in Canada. Other productions include: CANADIAN IDOL; BATTLE OF THE BLADES; NEVER EVER DO THIS AT HOME; INTERVENTION; TOP CHEF CANADA; READY OR NOT; FALCON BEACH; and A CHRISTMAS FURY. Recently, Insight produced THE TRAGICALLY HIP: A NATIONAL CELEBRATION, a live concert special watched by one in three Canadians. Insight Productions was founded in 1979 and has since created thousands of hours of groundbreaking and multiplatform content for the global market in every genre. In 2015, Insight received the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television’s inaugural Icon Award in recognition of its 35th anniversary. For more information visit www.insighttv.com.About CTVCTV is Canada’s #1 private broadcaster. Featuring a wide range of quality news, sports, information, and entertainment programming, CTV has been Canada’s most-watched television network for the past 16 years in a row. CTV is a division of Bell Media, Canada’s premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio, digital, and Out-of-Home. Bell Media is owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), Canada’s largest communications company. More information about CTV can be found on the network’s website at CTV.ca. Advertisement FaizaInstagram: @blckgrlnxtdrTwitter: @blckgrlnxtdrHometown: Toronto, Ont.Musical Genres: R&B, hip-hopThe singer/songwriter released her first EP in 2014, garnering positive buzz from Toronto’s underground music scene for her seductive vocals and 90s-reminiscent vibe, and has been booking gigs ever since.Dream Performance Space: Madison Square GardenFull Bio: CTV.ca/Faiza LITEYEARSTwitter: @LITEYEARSmusicInstagram: @LITEYEARSmusicHometown: TorontoMusical Genres: Pop/alternative/rockMeet The Band: The high-energy, alt-pop group is comprised of brothers Brent and Brian Wirth, Nick Haberer, and Joey Muha.The Band’s Sound: Meshes programmed electronic loops, ethereal keyboards, and melodic guitar counterpoint with organic instrumentation bringing a refreshing, high-energy vibe to the alternative-pop genre.Debut EP: American Towns released in 2016, featuring debut single “Rhythm In The Stars”.Can’t Live Without: My piano and pizza (Brent); Coffee! (Brian)Dream Musical Venue: Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado (Nick)Hobbies: Being a full-time bunny parent! (Joey)Full Bio: CTV.ca/LITEYEARS “The driving force behind THE LAUNCH is disruption at every level – in reinventing the music television genre, in launching new artists, and in creating music’s next big songs,” said Scott Borchetta, President and CEO of Big Machine Label Group. “We can’t wait for audiences across the country to meet these artists and be blown away by their talent, just as our superstar mentors were week after week. We are proud to pioneer this new and unique television and music industry footprint.”Supporting today’s announcement across @CTV_PR social platforms is a companion #MeetTheArtists video – a compilation introducing Canadians to today’s wave of 10 announced artists on THE LAUNCH, available on Instagram and Twitter. Click here to view the first of three companion videos.More information about the first 10 announced artists featured in THE LAUNCH can be found below. Full bios and photos showcasing all of the artists are available on CTV.ca’s dedicated artist pages (available via links below). Twitterlast_img read more

Industrial Base Study Primarily Aimed at ShortTerm Changes

first_imgA federal study on the health of the nation’s defense industrial base which is nearly ready for release will focus on near-term interventions needed to ensure military production could be rapidly scaled up in the event of a crisis, rather than more far-reaching changes that would address the nation’s loss of dominance in a variety of high-tech fields. Shortcomings that could leave the military vulnerable if war were to break out include aging facilities, dependence on a single depot to manufacture cannons for the Army’s armored vehicles, a reliance on imports for critical materials, including from adversaries such as China and Russia, and the lack of critical machine tooling in the United States.Those shortcomings represent single points of failure in the nation’s defense industrial base, reports Breaking Defense. And rather than focusing on prime contractors, the study will zero in on potential shortfalls in the supply chain involving second-, third- and fourth-tier subcontractors. The study is almost completed but it is not expected to be released immediately as officials first will brief lawmakers on its findings.A separate study under way by the National Defense University’s Eisenhower School will take a broader look at the nation’s industrial base policy and include recommendations for the Pentagon to foster innovation.Army photo by David Vergun Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more

PSBTs Open Frame film festival all set to take off

first_imgThe Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT), which has carved out a niche for itself in over a decade in making non-commercial documentaries on pressing issues involving women, is all set to host its 13th international film festival beginning here 11 Sept.Slated to last till 21 Sept, the PSBT film festival, aptly rechristened Open Frame International Film Festival will be held at the IIC here with an active collaboration by the latter in conducting it. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The festival accords the Delhi denizens a rare opportunity to watch the PSBT’s documentaries which earlier have been shown and applauded in festivals in the world over at places ranging from Oberhausean to Estonia and from Kerala to New York.Films slated to be screened ‘focus on the narratives of and by the women, foregrounding their experiences and embodying a wide range of issues that require their critical examination,’ say organisers. Credited with making over 540 independent films and screening them in 660 global film festivals, winning 170 awards, including 37 National Awards, besides wide-ranging critical acclaim. The films address, examine, present and celebrate woman’s lives, struggle, solidarities and movements. Film lovers don’t miss this one.  ptilast_img read more

Choosing the Right Chatbot Program Could Be Your Best Customer Service Move

first_img When you consider that 45.8 percent of consumers would rather connect with a business through messaging than through email, it’s clear that businesses need to utilize new communication channels if they want to retain their customers.Unlike impersonal email exchanges, messaging apps allow brands to connect with people in an intimate, personalized way. Unfortunately, maintaining intimate communication channels using human employees is challenging, for a number of reasons. With technological automation, chatbots can be used to deliver a personalized experience, without additional human labor costs.For this reason, chatbots are highly effective for businesses that want to scale their marketing and customer services.If you’re looking to get started with chatbots, choosing a platform that fits your requirements is crucial. Here are 10 of the most popular chatbot platforms, so you can make an informed decision on the right chatbot for your business.Related: Enterprise Chatbots and the Conversational Commerce Revolutionizing BusinessFacebook Messenger PlatformFacebook has over 50 million companies that operate on the platform, with over 1 billion business messages being delivered every month. For this reason, Facebook Messenger Platform is very enticing for developers that want to build chatbots.With Messenger, your customers don’t need to download your app in order for you to communicate with them. Instead, you can get in touch with them whenever they’re logged into Facebook (which is over 20 minutes per day, for the average person).Facebook’s developers section has an abundance of material about chatbot creation. Check out this informative guide for getting your chatbot up and running.Related: How to Create a Facebook Messenger Chatbot For Free Without CodingChatfuelIf you’re looking to integrate a chatbot with JSON, YouTube or Twitter, but lack the coding skills to make it happen, you’re in luck. Chatfuel has been specifically designed to enable non-technical developers to create fully functional chatbots.Chatfuel features a very simple interface, which allows you to pick your chatbot’s name, input conversational content and add images with ease. Check out this video to see how you can get your Chatfuel chatbot running in less than 10 minutes.Just because Chatfuel can be used by non-technical developers doesn’t mean you’ll wind up with a weak functioning chatbot. Chatfuel has produced chatbots for big brands like Adidas, MTV, TechCrunch and more.Related: Enterprise Chatbots Platforms and the Future of WorkBeep BopBeep Bop is a popular paid platform which allows developers to create chatbots for Facebook and Slack. You can manage your Slack integration using GitHub and work with your desired coding language.Beep Bop features comprehensive event analytics and makes it easy for developers to collaborate with other team members. You can also receive customer support from the Beep Bop team directly within Slack.Remember that Slack’s core users are people at work – so it may not be appropriate to create a chatbot for Slack if you’re a leisure or entertainment brand.ChattyPeopleChattyPeople is one of the most popular chatbot solutions for ecommerce brands, due to the fact that it integrates seamlessly with Facebook commerce. With ChattyPeople, you don’t need any coding skills in order to create a helpful customer service bot for Facebook.Your bot will be able to process orders from Facebook and can recognize variations in trigger words.Due to its excellent functionality and flexibility, many ecommerce marketers choose to integrate ChattyPeople with their Shopify stores. The platform also supports PayPal and Stripe.You can get started with ChattyPeople for $10 USD per month or try the advanced payment plan ($20 USD per month) which offers more comprehensive services for established businesses.Related: Top 10 Best Chatbot Platform Tools to Build Chatbots for Your BusinessTelegram BotsTelegram, a messaging application founded by Russian tech entrepreneur, Pavel Durov, was the first app to feature a bot store. In this regard, Telegram is partially responsible for the rise in popularity of chatbots.Since Telegram’s chatbot code is open-source, numerous bot tutorials have been published which teach the basics of bot building with the Telegram platform. Regardless of if you want to create a bot for predicting the weather or a polling bot for market research, you’ll find many comprehensive guides online.BotKitBotKit is another open-source platform which enables you to build chatbots for Slack, Facebook Messenger and Twilio. BotKit has a sizeable developer community forum, where you can get your technical questions answered and receive valuable feedback from expert developers.It’s worth noting that BotKit was developed with plenty of input from Slack. If you’re looking to integrate BotKit with Slack, I recommend checking out this starter kit.If you want to create a chatbot with an identity that can mimic human conversations, BotKit could be a good choice for you.BotsifyBotsify is a paid subscription service that enables you to integrate fully functional chatbots with Facebook, as well as other platforms. With a simple drag-and-drop interface, it’s easy to build complex question-answer sequences in no time.Botsify is lauded for its fast-learning, sophisticated artificial intelligence.For instance, Botsify can ask people questions which enable the AI to build a user profile for each individual. Once Botsify understands each user’s likes, dislikes and location, it can deliver personalized content for each individual user.Related: 7 Ways Chatbots Can Benefit Your Marketing StrategyFlowXOIf you’re looking for a business platform that creates chatbots for Slack or Facebook Messenger, FlowXO might be the right choice for you. The platform features over 100 integrated modules, services and applications.FlowXO’s USP (unique selling proposition) is that you get a high level of flexibility without any coding expertise required. You can customize your bot to behave exactly as you want, using FlowXO’s simple interface.This informative guide shows you how to create a chatbot for Facebook Messenger, setup flows, add triggers, ask questions and respond to answers.Related: Top 7 Chatbot Monetization Strategies You Need to KnowSmoochNot to be confused with the dating website of the same name, Smooch is a cloud-based platform that excels in multi-channel messaging.Integrate your most popular customer channels, such as Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Viper, with one API. With all incoming messages streamlined, you can craft your responses without leaving Smooch.Smooch integrates with many popular bot platforms, allowing you to deliver automated, conversational messages across all relevant channels.Related: 10 Facebook Messenger Chatbot Marketing Expert TipsMeokayWith Meokay, developers can create highly sophisticated chatbots without any coding skills.Meokay recognizes variances in trigger words and leverages signals in order to deliver relevant offers to the right people. You can integrate Meokay with Stripe and Paypal, and process orders within Facebook Messenger. 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. June 21, 2017 This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Enroll Now for Freelast_img read more

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