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January 21, 2016
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Marriott CEO Talks Starwood, Meetings Biz at PCMA/Convening Leaders




Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International, was front and center at the PCMA/Convening Leaders conference in Vancouver last week, speaking to attendees about what the company’s $12.2 billion purchase of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide may mean for meetings. 

PCMA 2016 - Interview: Arne Sorenson, President and CEO, Marriott International from International Meetings Review on Vimeo.

Marriott agreed to the purchase in November; the deal will close later this year. It will create the world’s largest hotel company with more than a million rooms, as well as the world’s largest hotel loyalty program. At the time of the announcement, the Wall Street Journal reported that Sorenson will remain CEO of the combined company. 

Sorenson, who is also speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, emphasized that his goal with the new Marriott is not about being the biggest, it’s about being the best. 

“One of the things I've been focused on is trying to break the company down into smaller sizes. We've done that through a number of different tools. We have a continental structure so we have broad, interdisciplinary leadership around the world, in London, in Hong Kong and in Dubai that are running the business in those environments because that business has got to be both local and global,” said Sorenson.

Along those lines, Marriott’s strength is only as good as what each individual hotel delivers, he added. For that reason, general managers are incentivized to deliver against a balanced scorecard. 

“So that's going to include top-line, bottom-line relative performance compared to other hotels in the market. Each hotel has got a different business mix. We have hotels that are maybe 70 to 80 percent convention business and that business is great business,” said Sorenson.

Group business for these hotels include not only room nights but food-and-beverage sales and other revenue associated with meetings. 

“It's a business we really prefer and love,” he added.

Of the merger with Starwood, Sorenson said, “it will be transformative.”

Watch the video for his comments on the future of the two hotel company’s loyalty programs.


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