Alex Kyriakidis, president and managing director, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International. Alex Kyriakidis, president and managing director, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International.

Marriott will announce a unified loyalty programme in a couple of years, which will spell the end of the three individual programmes: SPG, Marriott Rewards and Ritz Carlton Rewards.

Marriott International president Middle East and Africa Alex Kyriakidis told Hotelier Middle East that the ‘One Global Progamme’ will replace the three individual programmes currently in place.

“We will announce the ‘One Global Programme’, instead of three programmes,” he told Hotelier Middle East in an exclusive interview, and later on said that updates about the timing of the launch will be provided in the future, adding that the unified programme will not launch this year.

“[Following the merger with Starwood] Marriott has gone from 55 million loyalty members to nearly 100 million loyalty members – which includes the Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards and the Starwood Preferred Guest programme,” he said.

Citing several benefits for the hotel owners and owning companies, Kyriakidis added: “This is big even for our owners, because our loyalty members roughly drive about 35% of our room nights across the Middle East and Africa region. Some properties more and some less, but 35% is the average."

“That is by far by the lowest cost per booking out there, and our mission is to expand that percentage into the future because at the end of the day it is the most profitable channel for our owners. The more we can deliver through our direct channels, the more efficient and greater the margin will be of that business, which will be to our owners,” he told Hotelier.

Marriott successfully completed the takeover of Starwood in September 2016, and Starwood informed its SPG members via an email on September 24, 2016 that they could link their programme to Marriott Rewards.

The move instantly gave SPG members access to Marriott hotels worldwide. At a press debriefing in Dubai following the announcement, Kyriakidis said that 160,000 members out of 85 million globally had merged benefits of their loyalty programmes within 24 hours of the announcement.

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