TMR Exclusive: Marriott To Create Dedicated Luxury Sales Team And Operating Structure

by Doug Gollan

Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong.

For months the trade has been wondering what impact the Marriott-Starwood merger will have on how the company interacts with retail travel agents, and now the picture is getting a bit clearer. 

Marriott International plans to have one dedicated sales team that will sell across the eight luxury brands in its portfolio now that its merger with Starwood Hotels and Resorts has been completed, Travel Market Report has learned exclusively.

Tina Edmundson, global brand officer for Marriott International, said the new combined sales force will sell Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, St. Regis, Luxury Collection, W Hotels, Edition, Autograph Collection, JW Marriott and Bulgari. Currently, from the Marriott side of the merger there is a dedicated Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve and Bulgari team, with JW Marriott and Autograph Collection falling under Marriott’s global sales group. 

Edmundson said the new structure is expected to be in place by Q2 or Q3 of next year.  

The combined luxury portfolio includes 363 hotels currently open and operating in 61 countries, with another 180 in the pipeline. Additionally, Marriott will launch separate luxury operating groups on each continent that will combine all luxury properties in that area under one regional vice president. That vice president will in turn report to that region’s head for all Marriott brands, however, it will enable the luxury properties to leverage their footprint in specific regions.

Edmundson said all currently scheduled trade events, including advisory boards, are continuing with business as usual—and the trade remains a key focus, particularly with the luxury segment becoming a larger area of emphasis. Even with one cross-brand luxury sales team, she did not rule out that various luxury brands will continue their own unique efforts to support travel agents. 

“The experience in a Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis is very different. We want to be very thoughtful. It may not be just one advisory (luxury) board,” she told TMR.

In terms of brand leaders, former Mercedes-Benz and current Ritz-Carlton executive Lisa Holladay is being tabbed to head Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Bulgari and St. Regis. Mitzi Gaskins, whose background includes Apple and Delta Air Lines, and who currently heads JW Marriott, will add The Luxury Collection. Anthony Ingham, who comes from Starwood, will continue to oversee W Hotels, with Josh Fluhr taking the lead at EDITION. Herve Humler continues as president and chief operating officer in charge of The Ritz-Carlton, Reserve and Bulgari. Former Luxury Collection boss Hoyt Harper and St. Regis head Jim Petrus both left when the merger was completed. Leadership positions in the new, yet-to-be-formally-announced luxury sales and regional operating structures are not known yet, but are expected shortly.  

  9
  0
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

Top Trending Destinations for 2019

1. Italy

2. Paris, France

3. Iceland

4. Bahamas

5. Ireland

Source: T + L

 

TMR THIS WEEK
http://services.travelsavers.com/AMGService.svc/REST/GetImage?ImageID=5c9c49e9-0e02-e911-b9b4-782bcb667b27

Why Travel Makes the Perfect Holiday Gift

Travel advisors are seizing the opportunity to encourage clients to give the gift that can be enjoyed any time of the year.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy Buys Belmond
Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy Buys Belmond

Wall Street said the deal, which closed for $3.2 billion, underscores the growth of the luxury travel market.

Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection Reveals Name of First Ship
Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection Reveals Name of First Ship

The name of the ship, set to launch in February 2020, reflects the brand's signature color.

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts Will Open 21 Hotels in the Next Five Years
Rosewood Hotels & Resorts Will Open 21 Hotels in the Next Five Years

Rosewood says the growth will cement the brand's “global footprint.”

Four Seasons to Open Nine Resorts In 2019
Four Seasons to Open Nine Resorts In 2019

Among the cities getting new Four Seasons are Madrid, Athens, Bangalore, Cabo, Philadelphia, and Napa.

Travel Advisors Missing Out on $638 Billion Wellness Travel Market
Travel Advisors Missing Out on $638 Billion Wellness Travel Market

As consumers live longer, they are building wellness into their lives in everything they do, including vacations.

Hilton Outlines Big Growth For Luxury Brands
Hilton Outlines Big Growth For Luxury Brands

Aside from property additions, Hilton also revealed new features to existing properties, and a new partnership with Aston Martin. 

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