The UAE will be newly enlarged Marriott International’s largest MENA market by 2020 following the merger with Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
Speaking at a conference in the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, Alex Kyriakidis, president, Marriott International Middle East and Africa, said its combined portfolio of 52 hotels will grow to 80 with 23,300 rooms within the next four years.
“We will be the number one hospitality operator for Expo 2020 and that’s a huge opportunity for us and DTCM and their stakeholders,” he said.
The deal, ratified on Friday after a protracted buying process following counter bids from China’s Anbang Insurance Group, creates the largest hotel operator globally with 1.1 million rooms across 5,700 properties. Kyriakidis said the merger had cost $140m but provides synergies at an annual rate of $250m.
The tricky integration of the two loyalty programmes is likely to take two years but Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood SPG can now earn-and-burn points and have the ability to status match.
Together they now comprise 85 million members and Marriott is offering Starwood SPG members the chance to transfer points at a rate of three Marriott Rewards points for one SPG Starpoint until one loyalty programme is created.
Around 160,000 Marriott Rewards and Starwood SPG members have linked their accounts – enabling earn-and-burn opportunities across 30 brands – and 500 million points have been traded across both portfolios.