ASTA is pleased that Marriott International’s discounted room rates for Marriott Rewards members will not just be available to those who book direct, but also those who book through
"select corporate accounts and travel agent partners."
“We applaud Marriott for including partner agents in its most recent campaign,” ASTA CEO Zane Kerby said in a statement.
Marriott said it will not disclose the list of who, exactly, are the eligible travel agents, but starting April 11, a new rate will become available to them and rewards members who book direct, the company announced earlier this month. Members already get other perks, like free WiFi. Marriott's lowest rates won't be available through OTAs.
ASTA was similarly pleased when Hilton Worldwide announced last month it would extend direct-booking perks to travel agents.
The Society has kept its eye on recent book-direct campaigns. For instance, last year Marriott’s #itpaystobookdirectcampaign — offering perks to rewards members who booked direct — included a series of videos. ASTA said one in particular offended travel agents, and Marriott removed the video in question.
ASTA also met with Hilton over its book-direct campaign earlier this year, a meeting ASTA described as “productive."
Last month, ASTA formed the Hotel Distribution Advisory Committee, made up of 10 travel agency and industry representatives, to discuss issues like book-direct campaigns. This week, ASTA said it will “continue to draw insight from this committee."