Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE:MAR) announced today that guest demand for newspaper delivery at more than 2,600 hotels in the United States has declined by about 25 percent. Marriott will become the first major hotel company to shift to a free newspaper delivery system based on customer preference, reducing waste at the same time.
Beginning June 1, the company’s full-service hotels, including Marriott Hotels & Resorts, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts and Renaissance Hotels & Resorts, will deliver newspapers to guest rooms based on customer preference. The company’s 30 million Marriott Rewards members will be able to update their online profiles and receive their preferred newspaper automatically. Guests who are not Rewards members will be asked for their preference at check-in. Guests will have a choice between USA TODAY, The Wall Street Journal, the local paper, or no paper.
Effective April 20, the company’s Courtyard, Fairfield Inn, SpringHill Suites, Residence Inn, and TownePlace Suites hotels will offer newspapers free-of-charge in their lobbies.
“We want to give guests the choice of whether they want a newspaper or not,” says Chairman and CEO J.W. Marriott, Jr. “I visit more than 250 hotels a year, and more often than not, I’m stepping over unclaimed newspapers as I walk down the hallway. This new program is more guest-focused.”
Based on preliminary data, the company projects that newspaper distribution will be reduced by about 50,000 papers daily or 13 million papers annually, thereby avoiding 10,350 tons of carbon emissions (calculated by Conservation International assuming an estimate of .5 pounds per paper). Cost-savings, if any, will vary based on consumption at individual hotels.
More than 25 years ago, through a pioneering partnership with the Gannett Co., and USA TODAY, Marriott was the first major hotel company to feature broad newspaper delivery to its hotel rooms in the U.S. The two companies will continue to work together to offer guests innovative online news, including products such as the GoBoard™ available around-the-clock in Courtyard hotel lobbies.
“USA TODAY was founded on the idea that one newspaper could reflect the shared interests of Americans across the country. Our ability to connect readers with what is important to them makes us the most-read newspaper in the country and the number one choice of travelers,” said Susan Lavington, senior vice president of marketing, USA TODAY. “As the needs of news consumers continue to shift, USA TODAY has innovated to provide valued content in any platform consumers choose. We look forward to extending that choice to Marriott’s valued guests through print, online, mobile devices or on a GoBoard™ in their hotel lobby.”
“More individuals choose to buy the Wall Street Journal than any other newspaper in America. We applaud Marriott for now extending this choice to their guests." said Paul Bascobert, chief marketing officer for the Dow Jones Consumer Media Group. "At a time when others are scaling back, The Wall Street Journal’s expanded coverage of national news, health, leisure and sports will be a welcome benefit to Marriott guests.”
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