by Lumi Hilchey – Atout France
As with everyone else, we are following the news that Marriott International and Hilton Worldwide have reduced commissions to third parties from 10 percent to 7 percent.
This move is putting increased pressure on agents and meeting planners, but according to Brian King, Marriott’s global officer of digital, distribution, revenue management, and global sales, this policy is the result of “pressure from consumers for new meeting product and from owners for reduced costs” (Skift.com).
According to King, maintaining strong relationships with agents and planners remains a priority. However planners have expressed concern about how the lower commission will affect their business and started taking action.
One example is the Meeting Planners Unite group led by David Bruce, Managing Director of MP Meeting Services and CMP Team Travel. The group is active on LinkedIn and was formed “to show to the hospitality industry the power of the independent planner and the unity we have as an industry to change the way the true independent is portrayed”.
Hotels are also taking action. Players such as Denihan Hospitality have created the “We Love our Third Party Planners” program which has properties such as The Benjamin, The Surrey, Affinia Hotels and The James Hotels offering commissions of 11%. Other hotels offer up to 13%-15% commission.
It is still too early to analyze the real impact of this decision, but we will be happy to follow up in the next year and report back.