by Loren G. Edelstein | July 18, 2017

Marriott International now has "fully deployed" its new global sales organization following the integration over the past several months with Starwood's sales teams, said the mega hotel company's Brian King, global officer of digital, distribution, revenue management and global sales. In an interview with M&C's Loren Edelstein at the kickoff of the Global Business Travel Association's annual conference in Boston, King talked about the post-merger environment, meeting trends and other topics.
    
The sales integration was "85 percent done" by June 1 and is now essentially completed, he said. "The feedback I received from customers was that they were shocked at how smooth it was. It really speaks to the resilience of our sales force and their customer-first mentality."
   
The sales force now consists of 800 global sellers, 3,000 market-specific salespeople, and property sales personnel. Overall, Marriott International has approximately 13,000 people in group and business travel sales, King said. "There was no giant housecleaning," he emphasized. "We have many more mouths to feed -- a lot more hotels in our portfolio now, so we need to service those customers."
    
In cities with multiple properties, citywide sales contacts coordinate room blocks across various Marriott properties for citywide events. These positions are being put in place slowly, said King. "We are trying to make the buying process as smooth as possible for the customer."
    
Among other major developments, Ritz-Carlton Yachts will be launched in 2019. Starting with three to five vessels, the yachts will bring "the intimacy and bespoke moments that you would expect in a Ritz-Carlton hotel to the water," said King. Itineraries are likely to begin in the Mediterranean and then followed by Caribbean excursions.
    

See video segments of the interview below.