Marriott International will reduce the commission rate on
group bookings at North American hotels from 10% to 7% on March 31.
Marriott said that cutting
commissions was necessary to enable further investment in its product.
"The current business model and environment … present
significant obstacles to making the investments needed to deliver a world-class
experience for customers. While group
intermediaries play an important role in the marketplace, costs for our North
American hotels and owners are growing at a faster pace than group revenue,
which impacts hotel profitability," Marriott said in a statement
ASTA CEO Zane Kerby said travel agency trade group would "discuss
this change with Marriott, our agency and consortia members and other
stakeholders with an eye toward ensuring positive business outcomes for all
"While we are in the process of assessing the impact of
Marriott's announcement on our members' businesses, we are disappointed in the
signal that a cut of this magnitude sends to the broader agency community,"
Travel Leaders Group senior vice president of hotels Michael
Heflin said, "It is unfortunate that Marriott has failed to recognize the
tremendous value travel agents bring to group bookings and has instead chosen
to view their agent partners as just another expense item.
"We also strongly believe that our agents should be
fairly compensated for their investment of time, energy, resources and the
valuable guidance they provide their clients, and we will continue to firmly
advocate for appropriate group commissions within the industry."