Marriott debuts new luxury group
Following its merger with Starwood Hotels & Resorts in September, Marriott International has created the Marriott International Luxury Brands group to showcase eight brands, including three brands the company acquired from Starwood: St. Regis, the Luxury Collection, and W Hotels. These brands now join the Marriott International brands: The Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, EDITION, and JW Marriott. Skift reported that Marriott has classified each of its brands into luxury, premium, select, or longer stays categories, but that only the luxury brands are forming a standalone group.
Skift also reported that Tina Edmundson, global brand officer for Marriott International, said the brand group will market to other businesses but that consumers won’t see changes in the hotels’ marketing. Advertisements aimed at consumers will continue to represent each of the brands individually.
Luxury makes up a significant part of Marriott’s portfolio. As of December 2015, Marriott had 356 luxury properties around the globe with 102,152 rooms, representing close to 7 percent of its properties and 9.3 percent of its total rooms, according to Skift.
Marriott International said that it is planning 180 new luxury hotels in various stages of development and that it intends to enter markets in 20 new countries, including Iceland, Nepal, and Cuba. In 2017, Marriott expects to open four Ritz-Carlton properties, including a hotel in Langkawi and another in Astana. And its St. Regis brand, which debuted the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort in November, is slated to open five additional hotels in 2017. These will include properties in Shanghai, Changsha, and Cairo.
The Luxury Collection, a brand that focuses on experiences and global exploration, is planning nine openings for 2017. These will be located in Napa Valley, Singapore, and Panama City. EDITION expects to open new hotels next year in Bangkok and Barcelona.
Meanwhile, W Hotels opened W Punta de Mita, W Las Vegas, and W Goa in 2016. W Hotels is planning to open six properties in 2017, including hotels in Tel Aviv, Panama City, and Shanghai. JW Marriott has opened new hotels in Venice and Los Cabos. In 2017, it’s expected to open JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa and JW Marriott parq Vancouver.
A spokesperson for Marriott told Travel Market Report that a single sales team would represent all eight brands to travel agents by the second or third quarter of 2017. Marriott is also using its rewards program to strengthen the connection between its luxury brands. According to Travel + Leisure, Marriott is allowing guests to link their Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest accounts, and guests can transfer points between the programs. However, the two programs are not completely merged; a stay in a Starwood brand cannot be credited to the Marriott Rewards program, and vice versa, so a guest cannot add up stays from both programs to reach elite status.