Given the growing visibility and domination in the Asian region of Marriott International following its acquisition of Starwood, and Accor inducting Fairmont and Raffles in its stable, the region’s two iconic brands – the Mumbai-based Taj Group and the Hong Kong-based Shangri-la Hotels – in order to combat the competition, have joined hands to evolve a common loyalty program, which will roll out on April 1.
The “Warmer Welcomes program,” as it’s called, debuts with a joint website. With the program, nearly 5 million Shangri-la Golden Circle members and nearly one million Taj InnerCircle members will have top-tier status matching, and they can both earn and redeem points for awards and stays at hotels in 131 different cities.
Announcing the marriage today in Mumbai, Mohan Rao, acting President of Shangri-la, said they will promote India as a destination to the vibrant and burgeoning Chinese outbound market. Taj, in return, from India will drive traffic to China. Both China and India have witnessed aggressive growth of outbound volumes in recent times. Rakesh Sarna, Managing Director and CEO of Taj Group, added that both companies, who together have 6 million loyalty members, will be able to access 200 properties.
While Shangri-la has a portfolio of 48 properties in China itself, it also has a presence in Southeast Asia and Australia, not to mention India where it operates two properties. Both companies also have operations in the UAE, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Mauritius. The Taj Group also has two properties in the USA.