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Marriott International announces partnership with Grab in six Southeast Asian countries

Catherine Shu
·2-min read
BANGKOK, THAILAND - 2018/07/20: In this photo illustration, the Grab application seen displayed on a Sony smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Guillaume Payen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - 2018/07/20: In this photo illustration, the Grab application seen displayed on a Sony smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Guillaume Payen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the hospitality industry especially hard, and hotels around the world are looking for ways to regain revenue. Today, Marriott International and Grab announced a partnership that will cover the hospitality giant's dining businesses in six Southeast Asian countries: Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand.

Instead of room bookings, the Marriott International deal with Grab focuses on about 600 restaurants and bars at its properties in the six Southeast Asian countries, which will start being added to GrabFood’s on-demand delivery platform in November. A joint announcement from the companies said the deal represents Marriott International’s "first extensive integration with a super app platform in Southeast Asia and Grab’s most comprehensive agreement with a hospitality group to date."

Marriott International is the world’s largest hotel company. During the second quarter, as the pandemic curtailed travel and in-person events, it reported a loss of $234 million, compared to the profit of $232 million it had recorded a year earlier. Chief executive Arne Sorenson called it "the worst quarter we have ever seen," even though business is gradually recovering in China.

The Marriott-Grab integration means the two companies will link their loyalty programs, so GrabRewards points can be converted to Marriott Bonvoy points, and vice versa. Marriott International's restaurants and bars that accept GrabPay will also have access to Grab's Merchant Discovery platform, which will allow them to ping users about local deals, and includes a marketing campaign platform called GrabAds.

Other hospitality businesses that Grab already partners with include Booking.com and Klook. Klook is among several travel-related companies that have recalibrated to focus on "staycations," or services for people who can’t travel during the pandemic, but still want a break from their regular routines.