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Marriott International Cuts Commissions on Group Bookings

Sandi Cain
, Senior News Editor
January 29, 2018
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BETHESDA, Md. — Marriott International announced that it will cut commissions paid to third-party booking firms as of March 31. The cuts will reduce the commissions from 10% to 7% and apply to group business booked at all U.S. and Canadian properties.

The move will impact all but the four largest third-party companies that book group business with Marriott — the largest hotel company in the world. Marriott merged with Starwood Hotels & Resorts in late 2016, giving the combined company control of 30 hotel brands and more than 5,700 hotel properties worldwide. 

The third-party booking companies not affected by the cuts are Experient, HelmsBriscoe, ConferenceDirect and HPN Global, which have existing contracts with Marriott. There was no indication of whether the cuts would take effect at those companies once the existing contracts expire. 

In announcing the news, Marriott’s Senior Vice President of Global Sales Tammy Routh said that “costs for our North American hotels and owners are growing at a faster pace than group revenue, which impacts hotel profitability.” Marriott also said that it offers its own online training program for third-party providers called Meetings Excellence, and those that complete that program do receive discounts on group bookings. 

Marriott’s brands include Ritz-Carlton, Bulgari, St. Regis, JW Marriott, Westin, Sheraton, Gaylord, Aloft and Element in addition to all Marriott-branded properties. Some of these are attached to convention facilities, making them an attractive choice for trade show organizers in those locations.

One hotel consultant contacted for this story who asked not to be named said the move by Marriott reflected the company’s new industry leverage gained by last year’s merger with Starwood. “It may not be right, but it’s not a surprise (that) Marriott would use that leverage to reset the standard for hotel booking commissions,” he said. 

A group has formed in a show of resistance to the cuts. Called Meeting Planners Unite, the group has created a LinkedIn Group and Facebook page which has more than 80 members.

Reach Tammy Routh at (301) 380-3000 or tammy.routh@marriott.com

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