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

I do think there are possibilities for traveler advisors to make money doing domestic trips. I charge a planning fee for my time and expertise, and then book commissionable hotels and activities that meet the client’s needs.

Terri Weeks

Daily Top List

Five Best Places to Visit in Ireland

1. Dublin

2. Killarney

3. Galway

4. Limerick

5. Kilkenny

Source: U.S. News

TMR THIS WEEK
http://services.travelsavers.com/AMGService.svc/REST/GetImage?ImageID=46d9854c-8d33-e911-b4aa-782bcb66a2f2

Give a Heads-Up, Get a Leg-Up in Business

Harness your knowledge, share your tips, and leave your clients wondering what else you know that they don’t.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
What’s New in Luxury: From Ibiza to Tel Aviv, Leading Hotels of the World Shows Off
What’s New in Luxury: From Ibiza to Tel Aviv, Leading Hotels of the World Shows Off

Some of the world’s iconic properties sparkled at a Manhattan reception for travel advisors last week, which highlighted hot new properties, destinations and amenities.

Four Seasons to Debut in Nashville
Four Seasons to Debut in Nashville

The skyscraper will house luxury condominiums, a five-star hotel, a spa and fitness amenities.

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London to Fully Reopen April 15
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London to Fully Reopen April 15

Billed as ‘the most extensive restoration in the hotel’s 117-year history,’ the upgrades touched everything from the guestrooms to restaurants to spa offerings.

Ian Schrager's New EDITION Hotel Brings Cool Back to Times Square
Ian Schrager's New EDITION Hotel Brings Cool Back to Times Square

With a minimalist-chic aesthetic, the new property gives travelers a haven away from the raw energy and noise of Times Square.

Seabourn Cruise Line Names New Expedition Ship
Seabourn Cruise Line Names New Expedition Ship

The ultra-luxury vessel will sail the remote parts of the world through the Ventures by Seabourn excursion program.

The Best Hotels in the World, According to Reviews
The Best Hotels in the World, According to Reviews

Travelers have made their picks for the top accommodations, from properties in Costa Rica to Cambodia to South Carolina.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards & Outlooks
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: The Northern Lights of Finland