Marriott taking over Starwood hotels
The recent merger announcement between Marriott International and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide will see them merge more than one million hotel rooms across the globe.
The merger will take effect next year after shareholders on both sides sign the agreements. The merger will affect several hotels in the Cancun Hotel Zone down into the Riviera Maya.
Locally for the Marriott, the merger will affect the Marriot CasaMagna, JW Marriot, Courtyard Marriot and Ritz Carlton. On the Starwood side, hotels including the Westin, W hotel chains, Aloft and Four Points will see some changes.
Starwood has nearly 1,300 hotels worldwide with an emphasis on luxurious and distinctive hotels under brands like W, Le Méridien and St. Regis. Marriott has over 4,200 hotels that offer a more practical, less frills approach.
Since every big hotel chain has their own loyalty program, many preferred Starwood guests are wondering how their Preferred Guest status will change with the merger. Starwood, for example, pampers guests with a 4:00 p.m. checkout for those who stay 25 nights per year, while those who stay 100 or more nights per year are assigned a personal travel ambassador to handle their bookings and upgrades.
Since the Marriott will be the surviving name, members worry it will become harder to get perks, just as it became harder to get upgrades and free flights under frequent flier programs after the recent bout of airline mergers.
Marriott Rewards has 54 million members, more than twice the 21 million participants in Starwood Preferred Guest program. After the merger, the combined Marriott-Starwood will be the world’s largest hotel network and its large base of frequent customers will make it difficult to offer benefits like guaranteed 4 p.m. checkout. If too many customers are entitled to such a late checkout, hotels will be left without rooms for guests checking in.