Marriott has gone from producing high-thread-count bedsheets to a YouTube Web series designed to entertain younger travelers. But its biggest play yet for Millennials was agreeing to buy Starwood Hotels and Resorts, with its strong presence in the lifestyle brand category.
Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson, who will lead the merged companies, said part of Starwood's appeal was its strong presence in the lifestyle brand category. Its hotels, such as W Hotels and Aloft, are known for their edgy design, creative food and beverage offerings and hip public spaces — all features that appeal to younger travelers.
The move highlights the growing influence of a generation of travelers with particular tastes. They want the latest in technology, common areas that double as work and play areas, loyalty programs that provide instant gratification, and interesting food and beverage options.
"Millennials aren't so interested in staying in their room, but congregating in compelling spaces with great design, music and a unique point of view," says Jason Pomeranc, CEO of SIXTY Hotels, a lifestyle brand that recently opened a property in Miami.
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