Marriott is the world's largest hotel group by rooms, following completion in 2016 of its acquisition of smaller rival Starwood Hotels & Resorts for $13.6bn. (It was forced to raise its original price after an alternative offer was issued for Starwood by a Chinese bidder). Marriott already managed a broad selection of accommodation brands from luxury Ritz-Carlton, Bulgari and Autograph Collection through upscale Renaissance and Marriott to midscale SpringHill Suites and economy Fairfield Inns. There are numerous other smaller brand families including luxury chain Edition and budget Moxy in Europe, a partnership with Ikea. Starwood lifted the portfolio to 30 separate brands with the addition of W, Sheraton, Westin and Meridien. Further acquisitions have followed, including Elegant Hotels in 2019. By the end of 2020, the combined system housed 1.42m rooms - it was the first group ever to top 1m rooms. These are spread between 7,642 properties in 127 countries - a wider footprint than any rival - but over two-thirds are located in North America. The majority of hotels are franchised or licensed, with the group providing branding and central booking services; the rest are privately owned but run by Marriott under management contract. Marriott group revenues were almost $21.0bn in 2019, with net income of $1.3bn. However revenues almost halved in Covid-impacted 2020, falling to $10.6bn, and the group reported a net loss of $267m. The biggest brand by hotels is Courtyard by Marriott, with 1,258 properties, followed by Fairfield Inn (1,132 properties), Residence Inn (874 properties) and Marriott Hotels (584 properties). The group has 15% share of the US hotel market by share, but only 4% of the wider international sector. Marriott Bonvoy was created in 2019 from the merger of the old Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and Starwood rewards programmes. Arne Sorenson was appointed as CEO in 2012 and was architect of the takeover of Starwood. He died in 2021 after a battle with cancer. His successor has yet to be appointed. JW "Bill" Marriott Jr - who turned 88 in 2020 - is still executive chairman. His father J Willard Marriott founded the business in the 1920s as the Hot Shoppes restaurant chain. Other restaurants were added and the first Marriott hotel opened in 1957 with Bill Marriott as manager. As CEO from 1972 he expanded the business by opening or acquiring subsidiary brands. The restaurant operations were spun off in 1993 and are now HMSHost, a division of Italian group Autogrill. A separate real estate business, Host Hotels, run by Bill Marriott's brother Richard Marriott, owns a collection of luxury hotels around the world which are managed or franchised by Marriott or other operators.
Capsule checked 17th December 2019
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Adbrands Daily Update 16th Feb 2021: Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott, has died after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was only 62. First diagnosed with the illness in 2019, he continued to serve as CEO until the beginning of Feb this year, when he stepped down from day-to-day duties to receive medical treatment. Updated 24th Feb: Tony Capuano, one of two senior managers who had been overseeing Marriott's operations in Sorenson's absence, was eventually named as CEO. His co-manager Stephanie Linnartz was named as group president.
Adbrands Daily Update 10th Jul 2019: The UK's data protection regulator, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) issued the first two fines to be levied for misuse of personal data under new GDPR laws. British Airways was fined £183m for compromising the personal information of around 500,000 customers. The following day, a fine of £99m was slapped on Marriott International for a massive four-year breach that involved the theft of personal information for 339m customers. In both cases, the breaches were not reported until late 2018, following the introduction of new regulations. BA and Marriott are appealing the penalties. Under GDPR, companies can be fined up to 4% of annual turnover for breaches of data security. The BA sum was equivalent to around 1.5% of revenues; and Marriott for 3%. Previously, the biggest fines ever issued by ICO were just £500,000 apiece to Facebook and Equifax. That was the maximum allowable under the old Data Protection Act of 1998. Under the new GDPR rules, the Facebook penalty could have been as much as $1.6bn.
Adbrands Daily Update 3rd Dec 2018: Marriott admitted it has been the victim of a massive cyber security breach in which personal information for as many as 500m guests has been stolen. Passport information as well as encrypted payment details were accessed. All the affected guests were registered to the reservations database of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which Marriott acquired in 2016. The breach began in 2014 but was only discovered in September this year. Under new GDPR regulations in Europe, Marriott could be liable to a fine of as much as $900m. It is the second biggest breach in corporate history after the 3m records stolen from Yahoo in 2016/17.
Adbrands Weekly Update 8th Mar 2018: WPP's newly merged Wavemaker media network has had an abysmal first few months of existence. In the latest client defection, hotel giant Marriott International is moving its entire global media account to Publicis Groupe. Billings across Marriott's 30 or so brands - among them Sheraton, W, Le Meridien, Ritz-Carlton - are around $250m. Publicis is creating a new dedicated unit, Marriott One Media, as a joint venture between Spark Foundry and SapientRazorfish.
Adbrands Weekly Update 13th Apr 2017: Ads of the Week: "Go Beyond". Venables Bell & Partners launched two major new campaigns this week. One is for Chipotle Mexican Grill - we weren't especially impressed; have a look at it on our Facebook page - but the other is much more interesting. This sweet spot launches a mammoth global campaign for Sheraton Hotels, now part of the vast Marriott portfolio. It celebrates staff members who "go beyond" the call of duty to provide excellent service. The commercials are accompanied by a wide-reaching print campaign showing other employees in similar situations. It's a refreshingly imaginative concept for a sector that often settles for bland brochure-ware ads depicting lavish bedrooms, smiley receptionists and expensive food.
Adbrands Weekly Update 29th Sep 2016: Marriott International completed its takeover of smaller rival Starwood, adding the Sheraton, W, Meridien and other brands to its existing estate which stretches from Bulgari and Ritz-Carlton to Fairfield Inns and Moxy. The enlarged group topples Hilton to become the global leader in hospitality with more than 1.1m rooms spread between 5,700 properties around the globe. There are now 30 separate brands within the portfolio, raising expectations that some rival chains may be merged.
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