Hotels Report Card 2015: Which Companies Earned High Honors?
2015 marked another huge year for the hospitality industry and hotel guests alike, and with another banner year on tap for 2016, it's time to look back on how the industry's top companies performed over the past year.
Marriott International's $12.2 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts last month has the company on schedule to become the world's largest hotel company. How's that for success?
Not only did the company acquire some of the industry's most recognizable brands, but in Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), Marriott acquired arguably the most successful hotel loyalty program.
Starwood's recent expansion efforts in China will also benefit Marriott moving forward.
2015 was another strong year for Hilton as the brand launched a Spa Club program promoting wellness across its six brands worldwide and saw the Hilton Los Cabos reopen just one year after Hurricane Odile ravaged the region.
Hilton also begun allowing guests to access their rooms with smartphones through the HHonors app.
The year wasn't without its downs, though, as Hilton confirmed a credit card data breach last month.
Marriott's acquisition of Starwood signalled a huge missed opportunity for Hyatt. After all, the company was rumored to be the frontrunner to purchase Starwood for several weeks, and an acquisition would have put Hyatt on a more equal playing field with some of its competitors.
Nonetheless the company's loyalty program, Hyatt Gold Passport was found to be one of the best by CardHub's 2015 Hotel Rewards Study.
InterContinental Hotels Group posted another impressive year, debuting mobile check-in and check-out over the summer and recently announcing a partnership with ride-hailing service Uber benefiting IHG Rewards members.
Plus, it's hard not to find humor in one of the company's few lowlights of 2015 in which it accidentally printed the phone number of an adult chat line on the back of its Spire Elite Reward Program membership cards.
Following November's sale, Starwood faces an uncertain future. Nonetheless, the move ends months of speculation and doubt.
"Our board concluded that a combination with Marriott provides the greatest long-term value for our shareholders and the strongest and most certain path forward for our company," Starwood's Board of Directors chairman Bruce Duncan said in a statement following last month's merger announcement.
Meanwhile, in a statement of his own, Starwood's interim CEO Adam Aron said "our guests and customers will benefit from so many more options across 30 hotel brands, while our hotel owners and franchisees will derive value from our combined global platform and efficiencies."
Starwood is poised to be acquired by Marriott, but the brand still boasts some of the industry's most beloved brands and a standout rewards program in SPG.
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