Skift Take

Marriott's CEO was just coming off one of the bigger wins in his career. The future holds some of the bigger challenges.

Just four days after closing the deal to acquire Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson appeared for an interview at Skift Global Forum 2016 for a conversation about scale, brands, and the future of hospitality.

Sorenson sat down for a half hour one-on-one with Skift CEO Rafat Ali and discussed a host of challenges the new mega-brand is currently facing and is concerned about in the future. The conversation began with a discussion of China’s drawn-out anti-trust review of Marriott’s merger with Starwood and addressed Marriott’s size from different angles: its 30 brands, its massive room count, and its competition from Asia to Africa to the Americas and on to Airbnb.

Sorenson doubled down on the importance of loyalty programs for the brand and explained the rationale for the rapid integration of Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs. He also downplayed the rivalry between hotel chains and online travel agencies including Expedia, saying “We’ll be doing business together for a long time.”

You can watch the complete discussion, below.

Read more coverage of Skift Global Forum 2016

At this year’s Skift Global Forum in New York City, travel leaders from around the world gathered for two days of inspiration, information, and conversation for panels such as this as well as solo TED-like talks on the future of travel.

Visit our Skift Global Forum site for more details about 2017 events, including our London event in April of 2017.

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Tags: marriott, marwood, sgf2016, starwood

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