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  • JW Marriott will open the 4,000-room Drew Las Vegas in 2020 at the site of the stalled Fontainebleau hotel project on Las Vegas Blvd.
  • Denver OK’d contracts for a $233-million expansion featuring an 80,000-sf rooftop ballroom and terrace at the Colorado Convention Center.
  • The latest numbers rank NAMM’s 2018 show the largest in its 117-year history with more than 115,000 attendees and nearly 2,000 exhibitors.
  • The deadline for nominations for Trade Show Executive’s Trailblazers Awards has been extended to March 16. Got to TSE Events for info.
  • International Assoc. of Amusement Parks and Attractions President and CEO Paul Noland has resigned. CFO Hal McEvoy steps in temporarily.
  • The Aria Resort & Casino $170-million expansion in Las Vegas adds 200,000 sf of flex meeting space, raising total space to 500,000 sf.
  • Gary Musich announced his retirement as Vice President of Sales for Meet AC effective March 2 after 25 years representing Atlantic City.
  • The San Diego Convention Center named ON Site, a GES company, its exclusive sound and rigging vendor and preferred audio visual provider.
  • Board members of UK-based UBM have accepted an offer from Informa for a reported 3.8 billion pounds ($5.3 billion).

Marriott International Cuts Commissions on Group Bookings

Sandi Cain
, News Editor
January 29, 2018
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BETHESDA, Md. — Marriott International announced that it will cut commissions paid to third-party booking firms as of March 31. The cuts will reduce the commissions from 10% to 7% and apply to group business booked at all U.S. and Canadian properties.

The move will impact all but the four largest third-party companies that book group business with Marriott — the largest hotel company in the world. Marriott merged with Starwood Hotels & Resorts in late 2016, giving the combined company control of 30 hotel brands and more than 5,700 hotel properties worldwide. 

The third-party booking companies not affected by the cuts are Experient, HelmsBriscoe, ConferenceDirect and HPN Global, which have existing contracts with Marriott. There was no indication of whether the cuts would take effect at those companies once the existing contracts expire. 

In announcing the news, Marriott’s Senior Vice President of Global Sales Tammy Routh said that “costs for our North American hotels and owners are growing at a faster pace than group revenue, which impacts hotel profitability.” Marriott also said that it offers its own online training program for third-party providers called Meetings Excellence, and those that complete that program do receive discounts on group bookings. 

Marriott’s brands include Ritz-Carlton, Bulgari, St. Regis, JW Marriott, Westin, Sheraton, Gaylord, Aloft and Element in addition to all Marriott-branded properties. Some of these are attached to convention facilities, making them an attractive choice for trade show organizers in those locations.

One hotel consultant contacted for this story who asked not to be named said the move by Marriott reflected the company’s new industry leverage gained by last year’s merger with Starwood. “It may not be right, but it’s not a surprise (that) Marriott would use that leverage to reset the standard for hotel booking commissions,” he said. 

A group has formed in a show of resistance to the cuts. Called Meeting Planners Unite, the group has created a LinkedIn Group and Facebook page which has more than 80 members.

Reach Tammy Routh at (301) 380-3000 or

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