Marriott marketing chief’s future in doubt

Marriott marketing director Gerard Tempest’s position is under threat following owner Whitbread’s decision to sell the UK luxury hotel chain.

Whitbread is entering a joint venture with Marriott International, the worldwide owner of the brand, whereby the company will manage the properties under long-term contracts. The hotels themselves are likely to be sold to a property investor.

Tempest is believed to be in consultation about his position, although a Whitbread spokeswoman says the company was unable to comment on individual jobs. Tempest joined Whitbread in August 2003 and was previously marketing controller at Thistle Hotels.

Marriott International entered the UK market 24 years ago and currently manages 12 properties in the UK. It has its own marketing team headed by vice-president of brand marketing Osama Hirzalla.

The majority of Whitbread’s Marriott staff are expected to transfer to Marriott International. Whitbread will instead concentrate on the booming budget hotel sector, which offers better returns and where it owns the market-leading brand Premier Travel Inn.

Rival low-cost chain Travelodge, owned by Permira, unveils a new brand image this week and is preparing a new advertising campaign as part of a 20m marketing and branding push for the hotel chain.

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