Marriott To Buy Starwood and Invades the Vegas Strip

Marriott
Marriott

Marriott announced that they will be buying Starwood Hotels this morning. This comes on the heels of Starwood announcing that SLS Las Vegas will be a part of their Tribute Collection last week (see article on Travel Zork). Part of the SLS connection is that Starwood would be changing the Lux tower at SLS into W Las Vegas.

A Starwood sale wasn’t a secret but Hyatt was becoming the favorite to buy them (see article on Travel Zork). This deal was made because most of Marriott’s rooms before the purchase were in the United States. About 2/3rds of Starwood hotel rooms are outside of the United States. Marriott now has 1.1 million hotel rooms around the world.

Back to Vegas.

Starwood’s biggest connection with Vegas is through its current affiliation with Caesars Entertainment. The SLS program will begin in December and W Las Vegas will open mid-late 2016. Marriott’s current Vegas Strip affiliation is with the Cosmopolitan. Since the Cosmo was sold last year it’s been rumored that they will eventually join Hilton in some way.

Might the Cosmopolitan become a Starwood hotel?  I know at least one person that will lose his mind if that happens.

Details on the merger of the programs haven’t been released yet. The press release is more financially driven. It’s possible, but unlikely, that Starwood and Marriott will remain separate brands that would keep their individual loyalty programs.

The deal isn’t expected to be completed until sometime in 2016. Unless relationships change these are the hotels on the Vegas Strip that will become Marriott hotels:

  • Bally’s
  • Caesars Palace
  • Cosmopolitan
  • The Cromwell
  • Flamingo
  • Harrah’s
  • The Linq
  • Paris
  • Planet Hollywood
  • Rio
  • SLS Las Vegas 
  • W Las Vegas

Marriott would be the hotel partner for almost half of the hotels on the Vegas Strip (12 of 26 or so). That’s kind of a big deal. Look forward to more information to follow next year.

PS: Starwood Hotels and Starwood Capital are not the same company. This old rumor is probably just be a coincidence.

Cosmopolitan To Say Goodbye To Marriott

Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas At Night
Cosmopolitan At Night

If you’re a Marriott customer and looking to visit to the Vegas Strip you might want to make your reservations for a visit soon.

When Cosmopolitan was sold to Blackstone people with common sense assumed that the new Cosmo would be moving away from some of their current partnerships. Well, that’s the case with their hotel partner.

Say goodbye to a Marriott hotel partner on the Vegas Strip.

Since Blackstone owns HiltonLa QuintaWyndham and the brands beneath them, like Waldorf Astoria, the common thought was that they’d link the Cosmo with one of their existing hotel businesses. #Synergy.

The Las Vegas Sun confirms common sense:

…they will merge one of their hotel investment affinity programs into the Cosmopolitan to reward frequent players and guests.

“We believe that gaming revenues can increase there very quickly by 50 percent,“ I was told. “We have portfolio positions with other leisure travel properties that can be very beneficial to the future of the Cosmopolitan. There will be changes to ensure the property’s profitability in the short term.”

Changing hotel partners won’t guarantee that kind of gaming revenue increase. Even though Hilton hasn’t been named the hotel partner yet the change would be logical as Hilton and Marriott mirror each other.

The Cosmo has some of the highest room rates in Vegas and are often over 95% capacity. The change in hotel partners won’t help hotel revenue much, if any. Are Hilton customers more likely to gamble? We’ll see.

Going full circle, this changeover won’t happen overnight but if you want to use your Marriott Rewards on a free stay at the Cosmo you should book and stay soon.