Opinion: Mr. Sorenson Tenure As Marriott’s CEO

As Marriott mourns the lack of its profitable CEO Arne Sorenson, LoyaltyLobby wish to take a couple of minutes to replicate on Arne’s tenure.

Because of the dimension of the transaction and its affect on a lot of our readers, we’re utilizing the Starwood merger as an essential benchmark.

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Arne didn’t perceive or wish to commit to creating expertise a precedence. This was mirrored within the high-profile Starwood information breach, however others as effectively. Discarding plenty of expertise on Starwood’s facet is a regrettable lack of mental property. In a single day, Starwood clients had options and the flexibility to do enterprise on-line was reversed. Even right this moment, clients need to make cellphone calls (or ship a fax!) To carry out many duties that must be carried out on-line or by way of the app. And talking of the app, for an organization whose executives love to make use of the time period “cell first,” Marriott has a reasonably mediocre app, with even a current replace sending you to a cell web site to get issues carried out. Info on charges and particulars on incomes factors are lacking from the app.

Marriott’s distinctive method to its web site resulted within the lack of detailed info and pictures of many properties. Many instantly handled outdated visitors like they have been new to the property stage as a result of lack of keep historical past (and preferences) after they transformed to the Marriott system. Had Marriott adopted Starwood’s expertise that displayed and itemized resort charges, it’s possible that they’d not have been sued by varied state attorneys basic for lack of transparency in these charges, a lot much less the shopper’s finest will to correctly disclose these charges charges earlier than a keep.

Marriott CEO SPG members too rabid


Starwood had a special tradition via a extra international footprint, and subsequently a barely completely different buyer base. Design-focused manufacturers like W and aloft have now merged with the corporate that runs Courtyard and Fairfields. St. Regis was a much less heavyweight competitor to the Ritz Carlton.

Starwood was snug partnering with stylish restaurateurs to create vacation spot eating places, whereas Marriott was extra snug with the JW Steakhouse or Sports activities-bar idea. Starwood had an official music director on employees and innovated with style manufacturers of toiletries, as soon as proudly owning Bliss and commissioning Le Labo to create a customized scent for the lobbies of Le Meridien Inns.

The New York Occasions even mirrored on the lack of the “cool issue.” The SPG program leads the trade in innovation and retains visitors extremely engaged (or as Arne later known as “rabid”). A lot of these improvements and “luxuries” appear to have been misplaced underneath the streamlining and sourcing of your entire Arne firm. Understanding and profiting from cultural variations would have higher served Arne to develop and differentiate every model. It’s loyal vacationers who have a look at these particulars and care about them. It was a strategic mistake to assume that the purpose scheme was the one issue driving such fierce loyalty amongst SPG members when tradition performed a task of their being so “rabid.”

Keep in mind to examine which Marriott resort amenities are open on a particular (hidden) web site


The resort charge instance above is one instance of many the place Marriott takes a nondisclosure angle. Marriott’s CFO, by making an objectively incorrect assertion about at all times clearly disclosing resort charges, units a tone that Arne clearly condoned. It has been troublesome for purchasers to know which providers and amenities are open or closed throughout the pandemic. Marriott took a half-hearted method with a separate web site (what to anticipate) that does not hyperlink to most property touchdown pages, nor does it appear to have many of the properties featured, and when it does, the knowledge does not at all times Updated.

Complicated message from the Marriott app about cancellation charges

Why ought to we all know the 4-digit code of a property even to make use of that web site? As we just lately famous: confusion with cancellation charges by saying one factor however doing one other appears to be intentional. Resulting from our easy method to protecting resorts and airways, John is just not on the high of the listing when the Marriott communications staff has information to share, nor does Marriott appear to wish to interact and reply to inquiries the way in which he did. Starwood. The Marriott social media staff appears to focus extra on gross sales than participating and responding to clients. The Starwood social media “stalker” who wielded uncommon entry throughout the corporate to unravel or increase points left the corporate, along with his replacements a lot much less empowered and engaged.


Whereas it’s removed from over, and the affect on the resort enterprise can’t be underestimated, we’re involved that a lot of Marriott’s cuts to cleanliness, amenities and facilities “as a result of pandemic” are everlasting. It is not good for the journey and loyalty trade generally to have a hodgepodge of insurance policies and an absence of compliance with model requirements.


Arne was very profitable by many metrics, however there are shortcomings, particularly for visitors, as we have described above. We want the brand new management at Marriott all the perfect, however hope the Board of Administrators can take a few of Arne’s (or his direct reporting management staff’s) shortcomings critically as they usher Marriott into a brand new period.

No matter occurs, you may depend on LoyaltyLobby to maintain protecting the great and the dangerous. Within the meantime, we reiterate our ideas to Mr. Sorenson’s household and associates.

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