Hyatt now becomes more of an acquisition target than an acquirer, I’d imagine, although I believe special voting rights for shares held by the Pritzker family (those have 10 times the voting rights of ordinary shares) means any deal for Hyatt is more likely to have to be a friendly one.
Fairmont Hotels has been on the auction block as well. IHG was rumored as a possible buyer. Accor, which was also named as a possible suitor for Starwood, has done the deal picking up the parent of Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissotel for $2.9 billion.
The group of three brands includes 115 hotels and resorts and 43,000 rooms. It has an additional 40 hotels in development which include 13,000 rooms.
Lobby of the Fairmont Royal York, Toronto
However the biggest worry for the consumer in any such tie-up is:
- That the Fairmont Presidents Club is unique. But it’s hard to imagine over time Accor running Presidents Club for such a small portfolio.
- Le Club Accorhotels doesn’t have a ‘lifetime Platinum’ concept. Several folks took advantage of a Living Social deal that came with Lifetime Platinum status in Fairmont Presidents Club back in 2011 that was surprisingly honored. What happens to those Lifetime Platinums in an Accor future? Do they become Accor Platinums? Do they lose lifetime status altogether?
- What will happen to the Fairmont Visa from Chase?
Lifetime benefits have a mixed history in mergers, although have been riskier when resulting from mergers coming out of bankruptcy.
Nonetheless, a Fairmont acquisition probably wouldn’t mean immediate changes for loyal Fairmont guests, but there’s no universe in which it is a net positive over time other than being able to earn points which can later be redeemed for a broad array of hotels around the world, most of which are of a lesser standard.