Twenty-two Delta hotels are now part of the Marriott Rewards program, including the new one in Florida, with the other 14 expected on board by the first week of May, said Don Cleary, president of Marriott Hotels of Canada.
“Delta Privileges is no more — its members have already been made Marriott Rewards members. As of January 16, the new Marriott Rewards means they are able to earn points at 22 Delta hotels. And now former Delta Privileges members are free to earn rewards globally across 19 brands in more than 80 countries,” Cleary told CLN.
He added that achieving this means fully integrating Delta hotels with all of Marriott's systems, an ongoing process that just takes time. “Once we had a critical mass of properties, we decided to go ahead and launch.”
Canada currently has 2 million Marriott Rewards members, including 310,000 from the Delta Privileges program, some of whom were members of both programs.
“Our goal is to go up to 2.3 million members by year-end 2016,” said Cleary. “Obviously it is a powerful program. It has won Freddie Awards [ for the Best Hotel Rewards Program in the Americas] for the last eight years, and it is frequently recognized as best in class.”
Compatible cultures ease transition
Cleary said the integration of Delta and Marriott has gone very well, mainly because the cultures of the two organizations are quite compatible. The Delta operating system has been almost completely dismantled and integrated in the Marriott full service platform.
“Systems installation, training and change management will substantially have been done by the end of April — over the past year all has gone well. Delta has become another one of our brands in terms of sales, marketing and other processes.”
In addition to the first Delta outside Canada now up and running in Orlando, Marriott has discussions ongoing regarding possible Deltas in the U.S., Asia and Europe as well as more Delta-branded hotels in Canada.
“We continue to grow. We believe we can turn Delta into real growth velocity both inside and outside of Canada,” Cleary said.
He added that they are on schedule to open 21 Marriott hotels in Canada in 2016, including the Renaissance Montreal, which opened last month and has the only rooftop bar in the city; and the TownePlace Suites in Kanata, near Ottawa. “We have a steady flow of deals with more than 44 in the pipeline,” he said.
Marriott has added Michelle Bozoki as vice-president brand, marketing and digital for Marriott Hotels of Canada. Bozoki's previous position was as Marriott's director of marketing and e-commerce for Caribbean and Latin American resorts, a position she held for almost 14 years.
At press time, Marriott was also in the process of hiring a PR person for Canada.