President & CEO, Marriott International
Outside Influencer: Sorenson is the first non-family president & CEO of Marriott International. In 2016, he led the acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. He was president & COO before assuming the CEO position in 2012. He joined Marriott in 1996, leaving Washington, D.C.-based law firm Latham & Watkins, where he was a partner and specialized in mergers and acquisitions litigation.
Marriott Worldwide by the Numbers: At the end of the third quarter, Marriott’s lodging system encompassed 6,782 properties and timeshare resorts with nearly 1.3 million rooms.That includes the addition of 106 new properties (18,121 rooms) to its worldwide lodging system and the removal of 40 properties (6,520 rooms).
Power in Numbers: The largest hotel operator in the world just completed the integration of Starwood’s loyalty program, for a total of 120 million loyalty program members who book stays at 6,700 properties across 130 countries and territories and 30 brands. Third quarter RevPAR rose 1.9 percent worldwide, 5.4 percent outside North America and 0.6 percent in North America. Marriott reported a 13 percent increase in gross fee revenues in the third quarter and a 12 percent growth in adjusted EBITDA.
Pipeline: Marriott has 2,790 properties with roughly 471,000 rooms, including 1,139 properties with more than 212,000 rooms under construction and 293 properties with nearly 50,000 rooms approved for development but not yet subject to signed contracts.
New Look: The company announced this summer that Sheraton Hotels will get a new, modern look. With more than 500 hotels in operation and in the pipeline, this Starwood brand has the greatest global reach of Marriott’s 30 brands and is the third-highest fee generator.
Expansion: Marriott has added six new properties so far this year and is scheduled to add five more in the UAE by year end, for a total of 59 properties and more than 17,000 rooms across six Emirates. Two of the company’s openings this year feature regional brand debuts: the eco-conscious Element Hotels brand, which opened earlier this year in Dubai, and the EDITION brand, which is scheduled to open in Abu Dhabi later this year.
One World: Marriott expanded the multicultural program “Culture Day” around the globe as demand from hotel staff and corporate customers doubled in 2018. Culture Day has been conducted in more than 30 cities and eight countries and offers immersive training experiences for 13 countries and cultures: Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, the Middle East, Russia, South Korea and the U.S., as well as curricula around Jewish, LGBTQ and Native American cultures. — Sibley Fleming
CEO & Managing Partner, MCR Development
Market Maker: Morse co-founded MCR in 2006 and has led the company to its position as the seventh-largest U.S. hotel owner/operator with 94 properties, 11 brands, 11,200 rooms and 4,000 employees. Prior to MCR, Morse was assistant to Barry Sternlicht and contributed to all of Starwood’s corporate investment and development activities. Previously, he was president of the spa and beauty products company Bliss and an investment banker at Morgan Stanley in its Financial Sponsors and Mergers and Acquisitions Group. He started his career at Ernst & Young LLP.
Seventh Largest: In 2018, MCR closed the MCR Hospitality Fund LP, a $300 million commingled hospitality fund. Since August 2017, the fund has acquired 24 Marriotts and Hiltons with a total of 2,916 rooms and $370 million in total transactions. Also last year, the company acquired 21 hotels comprising 2,890 rooms and $332 million in transaction volume and disposed of two hotels for $50 million in transaction volume. MCR also completed a $647.5 million financing across a 5,958-guestroom national portfolio of 53 Marriott and Hilton select service and extended stay hotels spanning 15 states and 31 markets. MCR was selected to manage the 259-room Miami International Airport Hotel, the only hotel at the airport, and developed the 512-guestroom TWA Hotel at JFK Airport. — Therese Fitzgerald
President & CEO, Hilton
Flag Bearer: Nassetta joined Hilton in 2007. Previously, he was president & CEO of Host Hotels & Resorts Inc., a position he held since 2000. He joined Host in 1995 as executive vice president and was elected COO in 1997. Before joining Host, Nassetta co-founded Bailey Capital Corp., where he was responsible for the operations of the real estate investment and advisory firm. Previously, he spent seven years at The Oliver Carr Co.
The Empire: Nassetta leads a hotel empire that today boasts 15 brands and 5,500-plus properties in 109 countries. In 2018, Hilton returned $1.7 billion to shareholders in the form of share buybacks and dividends. It also launched two new brands, Motto by Hilton and LXR Hotels & Resorts, and formed a strategic alliance with Playa Hotels & Resorts. Leadership changes included appointing Danny Hughes as executive vice president & president, Americas, and Noelle Eder as chief information & digital officer. The company also announced new 2030 goals through its Travel with Purpose corporate responsibility strategy, which has saved more than $1 billion in operating efficiencies since 2008. — Therese Fitzgerald