Hot off the presses, Marriott International is buying Starwood Hotels to make the largest hotel company in the world operating 5,500 hotels with 1.1 million rooms.
Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide announced the $12.2 billion deal today and there’s no greater time for the merger than now. Recently, I had the chance to stay at the W Hotel (Center City) in Chicago and I was surprised to discover that I couldn’t use my smartphone as a room key the way Starwood promised. After visiting the front desk, I was informed that because I booked my room through a third-party (Priceline.com) that I wouldn’t have access to the smartphone app key features. Talk about a bummer! Hopefully, this new merger will update the hotel policies on third-party reservations, we’ll just have to wait and see.
The new Marriott International brand includes the original 19 brands The Ritz-Carlton, Bvlgari, EDITION, JW Marriott, Autograph Collection Hotels, Renaissance Hotels, Marriott Hotels, Delta Hotels and Resorts, Marriott Executive Apartments, Marriott Vacation Club, Gaylord Hotels, AC Hotels by Marriott, Courtyard, Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites, Fairfield Inn & Suites, TownePlace Suites, Protea Hotels and MoxyHotels. With this merger, it the new Starwood hotels that will become apart of the Marriott International brand will include St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W, Design Hotels, Westin, Le Méridien, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft, Element, and the recently introduced Tribute Portfolio.
If you’re a loyalty reward member for either hotel chain you may want to research how your points will be affected by the new merger. Marriott International manages the award-winning guest loyalty program, Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards program, which together surpass 54 million members. The company also boasts one of the industry’s leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG).
What do you think? Are you excited about what the new merger could bring? Share your thoughts below!