The corporate travel world's opinion of Marriott is bipolar. Travelers love the loyalty program, but that can work against corporate program compliance. Many industry professionals respect the company's success but get discouraged when it takes a hard line on various issues. Travel buyers like the idea of a consistent, high-quality product from a world-renowned brand but don't like paying more for it than they do for similar brands. And now comes Marriott's planned acquisition of Starwood.

The general assumption is that a reduction in competitors will toughen negotiations and raise prices. Worthwhile chainwide deals . . .

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