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Marriott CEO Tells Dissatisfied Members To “Hang With Us”

Marriott CEO Tells Dissatisfied Members To “Hang With Us”
Jackie Reddy

Marriott acquired Starwood over two years ago, but even now, it seems that there are still some problems to be worked out. This is true of the company’s loyalty program, as Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International, noted while traveling on a flight with concerned loyalty members.

Marriott‘s acquisition of Starwood may have created the biggest hotel company in the world, but it seems that, even after two years, there are still some problems to be worked out. This, Skift reports, is especially true of the organization’s resultant loyalty program.

Offering up an anecdote, the outlet relates how Arne Sorenson, Marriott International President and CEO, bore eyewitness account to exactly how changes to the program, as brought about by the merger, were impacting customers.

As a passenger on a flight between New York and Boston back in August, the outlet reports that he just happened to be seated among both, “the writer of an article for Bloomberg Businessweek about how the Marriott-Starwood merger was creating fear in points-obsessed travellers,” as well as “actual points-obsessed travelers.”

Commenting on his surreal experience at the Skift Global Forum late last week, Sorenson said, “suddenly, all around me, people are debating the loyalty program. It is the greatest thing in the world. You cannot buy that kind of attention from customers. They were debating it because they cared about the way the program worked for them.”

He also acknowledged both the laborious process of merging the two respective programs into one and the fact that some elements of the current program just don’t sit well with members. Reaching out to them directly, he asked these members specifically to “hang with us.”

“We are really interested and eager to see the results of that now over the next few months, but there’s a lot of work yet to be done,” Sorenson said, adding, “When you look at the program from a credit card perspective or points earned or elite status, yes, there are some changes that are not loved.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (5)


  1. FlyingNone

    October 3, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    Sounds like he had no clue that a merger would impact customers?? Particularly in the travel industry – the can spin it anyway they want – the usual psychobabel yet it will always mean a diminishing of benefits and service.

  2. Sabai

    October 4, 2018 at 12:28 am

    Marriott is “really interested and eager to see the results” of its ill-planned merger?

    Keep shedding customers Arne, you’re on a roll.

  3. jrpallante

    October 4, 2018 at 9:32 am

    Having been let down by all the major hotel chains, I am now finding much better opportunities in virtually every market through AirBNB, VRBO/HomeAway, and B&Bs (BB Online dot com or Bed and Breakfast dot com). The first two are not usually an option for a one-night business trip, but most B&Bs love to have business travelers fill in a gap on their weekday calendar, and many of them even offer discounts to business travelers. Add in the free parking and a nice breakfast, and these are often a screaming deal compared to anything you can get from hilton, marriott, or hyatt. Customer service? More often than not, the President and CEO is the person cooking your breakfast!

  4. Joni Huffman

    October 8, 2018 at 10:24 pm

    Yup, I am LIfetime Platinum with SPG. You’d think after spending over 1,000 nights in a Starwood would warrant something more than 500 bonus points, the value of which has been halved.

  5. Marriottlurker

    November 15, 2018 at 5:16 am

    I will not lie our system is a mess we have no idea what we are doing half the time or make new policies that we do not advise employees of we barely train employees and now that we have taken over Starwood we are becoming a monopoly as we do not care about our employees or guest only money

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