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When Senior Executives speak in public, interesting little pieces of knowledge often come out, and it was no different when Marriott’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Lenny Oberg spoke at the Goldman Sachs Lodging, Gaming, Restaurant, & Leisure Conference. Some interesting details emerged about the future relationship between Marriott and SPG.
First, she indicated that the company aims to bring the Sheraton brand back up to par. Out of the 200 Sheraton properties, they took the 50 bottom properties in terms of revenue and customer satisfaction, and 25 are being renovated, a couple have exited the Sheraton Brand, and the company is in discussions with the rest of the properties.
In terms of further Marriott SPG integration, Oberg confirmed that hopefully the loyalty programs would be fully merged into one by late 2018. The biggest hurdle faced was the technical challenge of combining the backend IT infrastructure so that it is capable of running both front ends, and ultimately merging into one program.
The other biggest challenge facing integrating the Marriott and SPG programs, is the current credit card deals, with Marriott being signed up by Chase, and SPG being a client of American Express. Not surprisingly, she expects the new credit card agreement to be much stronger due to competition. Which ultimately will be great news for everyone involved.
The hardest item to resolve will be the timeshare deals the companies have since they are usually 80-year contracts. Oberg didn’t elaborate on how these deals will be solved. Finally, she commented on what Marriott can gain from Starwood’s, especially brand marketing, innovation, and running a loyalty program.
While there is still plenty of time, it might be a good time to consider picking up one or several of the hotels’ cards. Deciding whether to opt for the Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card or not will depend on your spending patterns. Either way with the programs combining and plenty of time there are many opportunities to maximize your earnings in preparation for the merger of your accounts.
Source: View from the Wing
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