Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson thinks “travel has become cooler than it was before” because of an appreciation of the hospitality industry’s impact and emphasis on experiences.
“I think people began to understand the size of the industry,” Sorenson said at the Skift Global Forum in New York City in September, noting that travel is responsible for 10 percent of gross domestic product around the world.
“I think, to some extent, because of the current tends we’re seeing — all of us are more interested in travel and dining and experiences than acquiring things — travel has become cooler than it was before,” Sorenson said. “It’s more interesting and more cutting edge. I think we are in a better place.”
Sorenson also reflected on Marriott’s $13.3 billion acquisition of Starwood in 2016, saying the integration between the two companies is going well, and that it should be one more year before ts loyalty programs are combined into one.
“I am hopeful that by the second anniversary everything will be done,” he said.
Sorenson said Marriott has no intention of launching new brands any time soon beyond the 30 it already has, adding many of them “are relatively new or relatively new in some markets.” For that reason, Sorenson said, “we will tend the brands we have.”
Sorenson said hotels shouldn’t do technology for bragging rights, and that whatever technology the company does invest in, it has to be “seamless and intuitive.” That’s something Marriott is hoping to achieve with its new IoT Guestroom Lab, which the company debuted last week.
Watch the entire interview above, and find more coverage of Skift Global Forum here.
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. There were interviews, panels as well as solo TED-like talks on the future of travel.
Visit our Skift Global Forum site for more details about 2018 events.