In a move that surprised some in the business community, Starwood Hotels is to be purchased by Marriott Hotels for 12.2 billion dollars. The merger will result in the world’s largest hotel chain with a global reach of more than 5000 hotels with over a million rooms.
The Starwood Hotels family includes Sheraton, W, St. Regis, Four Points, and Westin while the Marriott Hotels corporate umbrella covers Courtyard, Renaissance, Ritz Carlton, Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn and Suites, and Gaylord Hotels.
Marriott, with two thirds of its hotels located in the United States, looks to increase its global presence through Starwood as two thirds of its hotels are located outside the United States. The merger also means more convenient choices for potential guests, especially those enrolled in the Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards programs when those customers are traveling outside the United States.
Arne Sorenson, Marriott CEO, expects the merger to streamline the operations aspect of both chains and increase the strength of value to the customer. The shared technologies of the two hotels will also be beneficial going forward with expansion into both developing and established countries around the world. Mr. Sorenson also feels the brands of the two companies will be a natural complement to each other thus enabling more customer flexibility and choice in an evolving hotel market.