< PrevNext > Arne Sorenson, Marriott International president & CEO Commissions Cutter By Dawit Habtemariam / December 12, 2018 / Contact Reporter Share Marriott International is the largest hotel company in the world, so when Sorenson makes a major decision, the entire industry feels the ramifications. When Marriott cut the commissions it pays to third-party intermediaries and corporate clients across its managed and franchised properties in the U.S. and Canada, from the decades-old standard of 10 percent to 7 percent, a seismic shift in the industry followed.Many in the corporate travel community reacted angrily, though many also weren't surprised, given the consolidation occurring in the lodging industry. Three large hotel chains—Hilton Hotels Corp., InterContinental Hotels Group and Hyatt Hotels Corp.—subsequently also cut meetings commissions from 10 percent to 7 percent. Sans sufficient funding from commissions, meetings professionals now have to reset and rethink their meetings programs.Another function of the company's titan status is the massive number of loyalty program members. Following Marriott's acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Marriott has merged Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards into a single loyalty account, bringing the membership roster to 120 million as of the end of the third quarter and pressuring Marriot's competitors to grow their own loyalty programs. Among other moves by which Marriott may set precedent, the giant has waded into Airbnb territory. In April, it piloted 200 home rentals in London through its Tribute Portfolio brand. Several months later, it expanded the pilot to Paris, Rome and Lisbon, bringing its homesharing offering to 340 properties. Marriott also piloted facial recognition technology at check-in, via Alibaba travel services platform Fliggy. Aiming for improved hotel operations and personalization, Marriott implemented the technology at two properties in China and intends to roll it out the across all Marriott properties. While power may come with size, there are perils aplenty. As BTN named Sorenson to the 2018 Most Influential list, Marriott disclosed a data privacy breach that has affected as many as 500 million people, including business travelers. While the company has taken measures to minimize the impact, critics say the response has been lackluster and poorly executed.