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Ask Anthony: What Was the Driver Behind the Marriott-Starwood Merger?

Ask Anthony: What Was the Driver Behind the Marriott-Starwood Merger?

Anthony Melchiorri, host and creator of Travel Channel’s Hotel Impossible and Five-Star Secrets, loves dishing out advice. From sharing best practices to tackling operational issues, he’s here to answer your questions.

What do you think was the driver behind the now-complete Marriott-Starwood merger?

Let me begin by saying that I don’t know the specifics, because I am not associated with either of the companies. However, for as long as I have been in the business, looking at the deal and watching it from the outside as a hotelier with the background I have, several things stand out. Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood created the world’s largest hotel company. The strength of 30-plus hotel brands, which encompasses their newly unified group, provides them with significant bargaining power. With that comes nearly 80 million rewards program members from both the Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs. That means there is complete access to a significant source of booking potential for direct. This is especially pertinent because I believe that in the next year or two, there’s going to be a noticeable push back against third-party websites. I also believe there was some degree of consideration given to Airbnb. I am confident that you will hear something about the new company working with Airbnb in some fashion, but doing so in a manner whereby they don’t have to partner with them exclusively. Overseeing 5,500 hotels with 1.1 million rooms and having a presence in over 100 countries certainly gives Marriott leverage to deal, make alliances, and chart a new course in our industry.

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