This might have slipped below your radar if you're not a frequent traveler like I am, but Starwood just agreed to be purchased by Marriott International:
A merger between Marriott International and Starwood Hotels and Resorts will yield the largest hotel chain in the world. With 30 brands and 1.1 million rooms between the two, the combined company will eclipse rival Hilton Worldwide, which has 12 brands and 745,074 rooms, and InterContinental Hotels Group, with ten brands and 727,000 rooms.
This also means that the combined company will fairly dominate downtown Austin hotel rooms, and probably lots of other cities as well. I suppose the big winners in this transaction are loyal Marriott Rewards customers who will now have another 1200 hotels to earn those points in, and more interesting international locations as well.
One thing is for sure, there will be a lot of business process management activity going on when the integration of firms starts, as they look to not just integrate reward points, but also business methods, procedures, and customer care. These are two storied hotel brands merging, hopefully they're able to borrow from the best of both.