Last updated: 07:00 PM ET, Sat January 02 2016

Biggest Winners and Losers in the Hotels World for 2015

Hotel & Resort | Patrick Clarke | January 02, 2016

Biggest Winners and Losers in the Hotels World for 2015

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

With 2015 in the books it's time to look back on the year that was for the hotel industry.

While countless acquisitions, mergers and trends stood out over the course of the year, only a handful of notable winners and losers emerged.

Here we'll review the industry's biggest winners and losers in 2015.


Marriott International

There's no surprise here. Marriott's acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts was arguably the biggest story of the year in terms of the hospitality industry. In acquiring Starwood, Marriott is set to take over some of the industry's most recognizable brands and one of the most beloved hotel loyalty rewards programs in Starwood Preferred Guest. 

When the sale becomes official later this year, the merger will result in the world's largest hotel company.

Apple Leisure Group

AMResorts and its parent company Apple Leisure Group experienced a banner year in 2015. 

"In 2015, AMResorts and its six award-winning brands added seven destinations to its portfolio, breaking company and industry records for the most deals incorporated by a single hotel chain in the Caribbean and Central American region in under a year," the company announced last month. 

The stellar year has AMResorts on pace to have nearly 60 resorts in more than two dozen destinations and more than 20,000 rooms throughout the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico by the end of 2018.

Hilton Worldwide

Hilton didn't benefit from a massive merger or record expansion in 2015, but the company did celebrate a handful of triumphs, including the reopening of the Hilton Los Cabos a year after Hurricane Odile ravaged the popular tourist destination.

What's more, the company launched its digital key feature this past summer and followed that up with the announcement that it would no longer offer in-room adult-entertainment to its guests. The latter move led the National Center on Sexual Exploitation to encourage travelers to thank the company. 

While Hilton confirmed a credit card breach at some of its properties in late 2015, the year ended with reports that the company was pursuing a plan to spin off its hotel properties into a real estate investment trust. 

It remains to be seen what exactly is in store for the company in 2016, but it's sure to be notable.


Starwood Hotels & Resorts

2015 was a rocky year for Starwood Hotels & Resorts. The year began with high expectations that quickly gave way to uncertainty following the resignation of president and CEO Frits van Paasschen. 

Then, two months ago, amid rumors of a potential sale to Hyatt Hotels or one of three interested Chinese buyers, the company announced it would be acquired by Marriott International in a deal worth $12.2 billion. Starwood is expected to merge with Marriott in mid-2016.

It's worth noting that the company ended 2015 on a relative high note, appointing Thomas Mangas as its new CEO.

"We've had a pretty tough year when it came to fee growth, between foreign-exchange headwinds and so on, so I want to accelerate our fee growth in 2016 and really demonstrate the earning power and strength of our global portfolio," Mangas told's Stephanie Ricca

Hyatt Hotels

If Marriott was the big winner in Starwood's sale, then Hyatt Hotels was the biggest loser.

In the weeks leading up to the Nov. 16 announcement, Hyatt was rumored to be the frontrunner to acquire Starwood, with the Chicago-based company said to be in negotiations to secure a purchase. However, rumored talks never panned out and Hyatt was left without a deal that would have elevated it to a level playing field with the industry's largest companies in terms of available properties and rooms.

Kimpton Hotels 

2015 wasn't the best year for Kimpton Hotels, the largest chain of boutique hotels in the U.S.

Following IHG's announcement in late 2014 that it would purchase Kimpton for $430 million, several hotels left the chain, including seven properties in the company's single largest market in San Francisco.

While Kimpton had plenty to celebrate this past year, including naming a new CEO, losing such a substantial portion of its portfolio in a key market like San Francisco is undoubtedly a huge blow.


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