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Marriott is not only rolling out a new loyalty program to encompass its recently-acquired Sheraton brand, it also wants to give the hotels themselves a new look.
Sheraton is Marriott International’s largest worldwide hotel brand, but Marriott's chief commercial officer Stephanie Linnartz has previously noted "a wide gap between the best and the worst (Sheraton) hotels," adding that the brand "has been plagued by poor consumer perception in North America."
The make-over begins in the lobbies, which will now have "a town square feel" with more comfortable seating and shared communal tables.
Those tables will have lockable drawers (presumably using simple combination locks) where visitors can safely stow away their devices if they need to visit the bathroom or grab a drink from the new coffee bars, which will expand their range to alcohol in the evenings.
New "collaboration suites" – small partially-enclosed meeting areas – will be available for booking at hourly rates, for guests who don't have lounge access but would prefer to work in a less-public space.
Privacy booths will be added where guests can make phone calls.
Inside the renovated guest rooms, old-fashioned desks will be turfed out and replaced by elevated desks which can be raised to become a standing desk.
Marriott senior vice president and global brand leader Julius Robinson says the company will be more aggressive in ousting sub-par hotels from the Sheraton family, either by changing their marquee to another lower-spec Marriott brand or leaving the company entirely.
Marriott says that since it took over the Sheraton chain in September 2016, "Sheraton has exited 6,000 rooms with another 2,000 expected to depart by the end of the year".
Meanwhile, August 2018 will see the formal launch of Marriott's combined hotel rewards program, which will replace the Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and Ritz-Carlton Rewards programs with a single integrated super-scheme.
Members of all three will be able to merge their accounts together, including all their points and elite nights, using the one new program at every hotel.