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Marriott to Unify Loyalty Programs, Enhance Guest Experience

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Marriott International, Inc. (MAR - Free Report) announced its plans to unify its loyalty program benefits across Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) in August. The combined loyalty program is expected to provide richer perks to the company’s loyalty members by enabling them to earn roughly 20% points for every dollar spent. The new loyalty program will also enrich members with more than what was offered under the prior programs.

Under this global loyalty program, members can book stays, and earn or redeem points across 29 brands covering 6,500 hotels in 127 countries and territories. Additionally, the company’s newly launched Marriott Moments, allowing guests to shop for and book unique experiences, will also undergo expansion under the unified program.

Moreover, the loyalty program will facilitate members with the option of earning status based on room nights, with the highest level of status requiring $20,000 in annual spending. Membership status can also be heightened using co-branded credit cards with American Express Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM - Free Report) .

Notably, shares of Marriott have rallied 45% in the past year, outperforming the industry’s gain of 31.6%.

Loyalty Programs a Big Hit Among Hoteliers

The move underscores Marriott’s aggressive expansion of its loyalty base, with which it aims to meet guest expectations, while driving hotel profitability for owners and franchisees. Notably, loyalty programs have proved to be effective in raising occupancy and driving revenues for hotel companies, as major bigwigs like Hyatt (H - Free Report) and Hilton (HLT - Free Report) are all aggressively looking to enhance their loyalty programs.

Marriott has also recognized its loyalty program as the most powerful marketing platform, and thus continues to invest in marketing partnerships and innovations to provide a more rewarding experience to the guests. The company’s leading loyalty programs leverage its distribution, driving guest preference and significant revenue per available room (RevPAR) index premiums.

Other Initiatives by Marriott to Build Loyalty

Digital innovations and social media are starting to play an increasingly important role in hotel bookings. Social media enhances the brand’s prospects by connecting directly with guests, which in turn can lead to increased loyalty and market share. The Marriott mobile app for tablets and smartphones helps guests to manage their bookings, access interactive maps/GPS as well as reward programs. Moreover, Marriott recently re-imagined its Marriott Mobile app to meet the needs of modern world travelers. Its guests will now be able to enjoy new and extended digital features, customized travel content, easier one-button navigation and a new swipe-able discovery home screen.

Moreover, the company has rolled out guestVoice to measure guests’ feedback, introduced SPG Mobile check-in and check-out in North America, and achieved procurement and OTA cost savings.

Additionally, MLive, real-time marketing brand newsroom and social media command center are worth mentioning. Through this media source, the company addresses travel issues, special events, trending topics and is busy expanding MLive globally.

Marriott carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).  You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 (Strong Buy) Rank stocks here.

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