News in brief:
Chinese threaten to disrupt the Starwood / Marriott merger
There was potentially good news for anyone concerned about consolidation in the hotel loyalty space yesterday.
A Chinese-led consortium has submitted an all-cash offer for Starwood, the St Regis / Le Meridien / Sheraton / Westin / W / Aloft etc hotel group. At $76 cash per share, it is a substantial increase on the Marriott bid which currently stands at $63. Because Marriott is mainly paying for Starwood with shares, there is also downside risk attached to that $63 price.
When the Marriott deal was first announced, I wrote about why I felt it wouldn’t work. From a purely selfish point of view, removing Starwood Preferred Guest from the scene would have removed an aggressive player in the loyalty market – one which did a good job of keeping the bigger players on their toes. HfP readers, in general, will be better off if Starwood remains independent.
Expedia launches 72-hour sale
Expedia is launching another 72-hour sale today. These are not exactly rare events but, if you are in the market for a hotel booking today, it won’t do you any harm to take a look.
British Airways drops Baku
British Airways announced yesterday that it is dropping flights to Baku from 29th April. They are ‘no longer commercially viable’ according to the airline.