Marriott Tells Travel Agents Not To Worry

by Doug Gollan

JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa.

Marriott is responding to travel agent concerns that its future structure of having a single sales force to represent all eight of its luxury brands will dilute some of its top-level brands such as Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis and The Luxury Collection.

In an exclusive interview with TMR at ILTM in Cannes, global officer digital, distribution, revenue management and global sales Brian King said the structure will actually help retail travel agents do a better job serving their clients. Agents were specifically concerned that their reps would not be able to keep up with a portfolio of 363 luxury properties, with an additional 180 in the pipeline.

King said that won’t be the case. For example, a travel agent in Chicago with questions about luxury hotels in Venice would contact his local Marriott luxury rep. That rep will now have a counterpart in a Milan office with detailed information about all of Marriott’s luxury options, and while some agents may not consider JW Marriott at the same level as The Luxury Collection, having one sales contact will provide the agent with a broader range of luxury options across its eight luxury brands.

King called what the company is going to do with STARS, Luxury Privileges and Accolades, a loyalty program for agents introduced by Autograph Collection earlier this year, “a riddle we need to solve.”

He also told TMR he sees expanding advisory boards for its luxury group and brands with more regional and country boards to get a better grasp on the cultural differences in how travel is purchased in different parts of the world.

Most of all, King said he is acutely aware of longstanding relationships between agents and their Ritz-Carlton and Starwood luxury reps. “These relationships mean a lot,” he said. In terms of moving forward, he noted that until the merger was completed 69 days ago, Marriott didn’t have access to Starwood account reps. Since that point they have been crunching data, including 12.4 million B2B records of travel agents, corporate accounts and meeting planners with the goal of ensuring accounts continue to get the same level of coverage and support.

  5
  9
Tip of the Day
The professional travel advisor’s job is to equip the traveler with the necessary information to enable a good decision that will reflect that person’s own risk tolerance.
 
Paul Ruden
Daily Top List

Most Powerful Passports in the World

1. United Arab Emirates

2. Singapore

3. Germany

4. Denmark

5. Sweden

Source: Passport Index

TMR THIS WEEK
http://services.travelsavers.com/AMGService.svc/REST/GetImage?ImageID=5aa4cac6-77fe-e811-b9b4-782bcb667b27

How Will You Give Back This Year?

Learn from travel advisors who are positively impacting tourism through their sustainable travel efforts and empowering their clients to do the same. 

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Hertz and CLEAR Partner on 30-Second Car Rental
Hertz and CLEAR Partner on 30-Second Car Rental

A new service promises to get customers out the rental car exit gate using only biometrics, in less than 30 seconds.

Worldview Tours Suddenly Ceases Operations
Worldview Tours Suddenly Ceases Operations

After 40 years of doing business on the up-and-up, it was a shock to those who had worked with the company to see it go under.

What to Know About Navigating Marriott’s Massive Data Breach
What to Know About Navigating Marriott’s Massive Data Breach

Facing extensive costs as a result of the breach, Marriott is offering to pay for customers’ new passports and annual identity monitoring subscriptions.

Anchorage Assesses Damage After Powerful Quake
Anchorage Assesses Damage After Powerful Quake

The scenic Glenn Highway was the hardest hit during the 7.0 magnitude earthquake on Friday.

Marriott: 500 Million Starwood Guests Could Be Affected in Data Hack
Marriott: 500 Million Starwood Guests Could Be Affected in Data Hack

The Starwood guest reservation database was breached at brands including W Hotels, Sheraton and Westin.

St. Regis Opens First Canadian Hotel as New Toronto Location Debuts
St. Regis Opens First Canadian Hotel as New Toronto Location Debuts

Along with its luxurious accommodations and amenities, the five-star hotel offers its guests the hotelier’s hallmark butler service and its evening champagne sabering ritual.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards & Outlooks
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Tauck