On Marriott’s Innovation Horizon
The continued integration of Starwood into the Marriott fold has progressed with the company combining financial reporting systems, integrating its North American sales organization, and successfully recycling approximately $170 million in capital from asset sales and loan repayments.
Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson predicts owners will continue to see significant cost savings as the company makes progress on these integrations. Guests too will experience the benefits as strides have been made to streamline the booking path and remove friction from loyalty.
“By August, we expect guests will be able to see and book all of our inventory on each of our Marriott and Starwood websites and apps, and enjoy our unified loyalty programs,” Sorenson notes. The company plans to do a phased rollout to get all hotels onto a single reservation system, with the first group of hotels converting in the fall of 2018.
To enhance and enrich the loyalty experience for guests, the company will release new cobranded credit cards from Chase and American Express and continue to grow the Marriott Moments platform. Currently, the platform includes more than 110,000 experiences in 1,000 destinations, ranging from destination tours and day trips like shark cage diving in South Africa to once in a lifetime events like sipping champagne trackside at the Belmont Stakes.
Last summer, Marriott formed a new joint venture with Alibaba to improve service and sales for Chinese guests. Just last month, the JV launched Marriott’s redesigned storefront on Alibaba's travel site, Fliggy. It now features a global inventory of Marriott hotels with a localized, mobile enhanced and user-friendly layout.
During 2018, Marriott plans to roll out Alipay, Post Post Pay, an innovative hotel payment service to a 1,000 hotels worldwide. Alipay, Post Post Pay enables qualified Fliggy users to enjoy a comprehensive wallet-free experience during their stay.
Marriott also recently launched a new customer recognition platform which will allow Marriott associates globally both on- and off-property to deliver better service. The platform is integrated with the Marriott mobile app and chat functions, allowing associates to access guest portfolios, preferences and history to offer more personalized service to guests worldwide.