Hotel Industry Consolidation: Marriott’s latest mega-merger may be a game changer
Hotel consolidation is not new but consolidation activity has certainly increased over the last two years. Hotel groups continue to grow, with brands tucked under one umbrella and some brands transformed into another. Each of these stories spins a different tale about who, what and why the hotel industry is experiencing consolidation.
These deals did not substantially impact the industry until Marriott announced it would acquire Starwood. With the deal expected to be complete in 2016, the dust appears to have settled with Anbang Insurance Group’s bid withdrawal. On the heels of this mega-merger comes the announcement that HNA Tourism Group will acquire Carlson Hotels.
It’s clear Chinese conglomerates continue to look for growth opportunities in the hospitality industry, driving the expectation that industry consolidation activity will continue. Our aim here is to provide an understanding of the implications of this consolidation trend on corporate travel programs, along with recommendations about how to prepare programs for the new hotel industry landscape.
As corporate travel buyers look ahead to fall’s RFP season, they should question now what this merger activity means for their hotel program and perhaps consider a different approach. According to the CWT Solutions Group hotel team, it is still too early to knowthe true impact for an individual corporate program, depending on how much they use hotels involved in the recent acquisition activity and in the key markets involved, and the level of willingness to change policies to protect the bottom line. However, there are some educated estimates about the impact of these acquisitions, focusing on: 1) future hotel program negotiations; 2) traveler compliance to hotel programs; and 3) the impact of this acquisition activity on the hotel industry more broadly.