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September 23, 2016
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Friday Roundup: Marriott, Starwood Merger Goes Through, Qatar Targets U.S. Market




marriott and starwood hotels

From the final close of the merger between Marriott and Starwood to a new DoubleTree by Hilton in South Beach, here are the headlines to follow today in the meetings and events industry. 

Marriott and Starwood Complete Merger

In major news for meeting and event venues, Marriott International has completed its acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., creating the world’s largest hotel company. 

The deal has come a long way since it was first announced back in November 2015, from a last-minute bid by Chinese investment firm Anbang to a delay in the antitrust approval process by Chinese authorities. The newly combined company will operate more than 5,700 properties and 1.1 million rooms, representing 30 brands from midscale to luxury in over 110 countries. Starwood’s and Marriott’s loyalty programs will also begin to work together, as, starting today, the newly combined company will match member status across Marriott Rewards (including The Ritz-Carlton Rewards) and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), allowing members to transfer points between the programs for travel and exclusive experiences when they link their accounts. 

What’s next? According to an interview with Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson at PCMA/Convening Leaders in Vancouver earlier this year, plans call for the combined company to keep all of its luxury brands. That includes Ritz-Carlton, Bulgari, Edition, Autograph on the Marriott side, and St. Regis, The Luxury Collection and W Hotels on the Starwood side. It remains to be seen what else will happen next. 

Qatar Ramps Up U.S. Promotion

In destination news, the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) is reaching out to the U.S. market with the establishment of a new office in New York. The QTA said that the U.S. is one of the Gulf state’s fastest-growing visitor source markets.

The New York office will enhance the QTA’s on-the-ground presence and capabilities, QTA officials said in a release announcing the opening, allowing the QTA to drive awareness of Qatar as a quality destination through marketing to tour operators, travel agencies, hospitality partners and media, as well as consumers. 

The country’s U.S. marketing campaign will cover a wide range of promotional initiatives, including workshops, sales visits, travel agents’ e-learning TAWASH destination training, tour operator partnerships, familiarization trips, media campaigns and more. 

The U.S. office is the QTA’s seventh location worldwide, joining the UK, France, Germany, Italy, the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) markets and South East Asia.

New DoubleTree by Hilton in South Beach

In Florida, Hilton has opened the new The Gates Hotel South Beach – a DoubleTree by Hilton

The 235-room hotel has three meeting rooms aimed at small meetings, events and social gatherings. Additionally, all guest rooms — including the hotel’s 17 suites — have a work desk and ergonomic desk chair, in-room refrigerator, laptop-size safe and coffeemaker. Some guest rooms include balconies, and all are nonsmoking. 

For food and drink, the lobby bar serves as a hub for guests to mingle, and it seamlessly transitions to the outside pool, where private daybeds are arranged between the pool and lake. Solar-powered charging stations are available outside, and throughout the hotel there is complimentary Wi-Fi, a 24-hour business center, a 24-hour fitness center, courtesy transportation to and from the beach, beach chairs and towels and guest bicycles. An onsite Concierge Desk is also available. The Continental restaurant is adjacent to the hotel, serving a menu of global dishes. 

The hotel, which is built on the foundation of the 1954 Ankara Motel, is across the street from the Atlantic Ocean, within walking distance of Ocean Drive, Lincoln Road and the area’s restaurants, nightlife, entertainment and shopping. 

Have a tip on major meetings and events industry news, or an inspiring story you’d like to share? Reach out at aleposa@questex.com

And keep visiting www.internationalmeetingsreview.com for the latest meetings and events industry news, trends and updates. 


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About the Author: Adam Leposa



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