Mandarin Oriental & Oberoi Launch Partnership

Filed Under: Hotels

Mandarin Oriental and Oberoi have announced a strategic alliance, which I find interesting for just how uninteresting it is, at least for now… I think?

Oberoi & Mandarin Oriental: O&MO alliance 

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and The Oberoi Group have announced a strategic alliance, which they’re calling O&MO. Personally I think “MOO” would have been a catchier name. 😉

On the surface the two hotel groups are a good fit for another, as they have a lot in common:

  • They’re roughly the same size
  • They only dabble with guest recognition programs
  • They’re luxury hotel groups
  • Their portfolios are geographically complementary

Therefore when I first saw the headline I wondered if the two groups might be working towards a merger, given how many of those we’ve seen in the hotel industry in the past several years.

Mandarin Oriental Barcelona

For now there’s not much to this partnership

The hotel groups claim that this partnership will set the stage for them to “push the boundaries of luxury hospitality,” though as of now there’s not much substance to the partnership. It’s possible that there will be more cooperation in the future, but for now there are limited implications.

I’ll take a step further, for the time being this “alliance” is a bit of a nothingburger. The most memorable part of this alliance is the obnoxious amount of corporate buzzword bingo that’s used:

“Tapping into the expertise of both brands, the alliance will work together to create unique culinary and wellness experiences and will also collaborate on innovation, sustainability and colleague learning and development. Joint efforts across these areas will provide synergies for both brands enabling both to further evolve the meaning of luxury hospitality.”

Ultimately it seems to me like this is just a marketing partnership, and as of now this will allow members of the respective guest recognition programs to “receive superior recognition, exclusive experiences and offers, as well as invitations to bespoke events.”

Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur

What the O&MO partnership means for members

Mandarin Oriental launched its “Fans Of MO” loyalty program in 2018, and it’s more of a tool to get people to book directly, rather than an actual loyalty program:

  • There are no elite tiers, and no opportunities to earn and redeem points
  • Registration in the program is free, and you unlock all the benefits offered by the program just by registering
  • Anyone who books directly through Mandarin Oriental and is a member of the program receives complimentary Wi-Fi, a welcome amenity, and access to exclusive member only rates
  • On top of that, anyone who books directly and is a member of the program receives two exclusive privileges per stay, which could include things like late check-out, breakfast, a dining or spa credit, a room upgrade, or a pressing service

With this partnership, members of the Oberoi One loyalty program can receive these benefits when staying at Mandarin Oriental properties as well. But again, these are benefits you receive just for registering for Mandarin Oriental’s program, so it’s not like there’s currently a big barrier to anyone taking advantage of these perks.

Like I said, in reality Fans of MO isn’t much of a loyalty program or even guest recognition program. Rather it’s a direct booking tool, to discourage people to book through travel agents. However, in many cases guests still get more value by booking through Virtuoso, which isn’t compatible with this program.

Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur

Bottom line

On the surface Mandarin Oriental and Oberoi are a good match, so I can appreciate the logic of a partnership. However, based on what we know so far, there’s almost zero value to this “alliance.” Mandarin Oriental offering reciprocal loyalty program perks when the only requirement to get these perks to begin with is to sign up for the program is of rather limited value.

But who knows, maybe the partnership will get more valuable over time…

What’s your take on the new O&MO alliance?

Comments
  1. Lucky, you might wanna correct the Oberoi picture text
    Oberoi Udaivillas are in Udaipur and not in Jaipur

  2. Udaivillas is my favourite and yes in Udaipur. I stayed in one of those rooms in the picture near the water.
    Oberoi sometimes have offers in June. I stayed at the Oberoi in Bangalore and it was stay 5 nights (or 7?) and get one night free. I managed to get free nights in Jaipur and Agra. Excellent value for money.

  3. Actually I do think they quietly implemented tiers in the Fans of MO program. It’s says I’m Elite tier which always gives me free breakfast for two, welcome amenities, free pressing, streaming wifi etc. When they first launched the program I remember these were options you could choose from when you booked, but now it says they’re included and I have an Elite status expiry date at Dec 2022.

    Then at the time of booking I can select two additional benefits on top. For my recent booking I chose a $150 hotel credit (F&B and Spa) and a surprise for a special occasion. Other options included guaranteed early check-in or late check-out, and some other options I don’t recall).

  4. I doubt the owners of MO will ever want to merge businesses given the size and strength they have in the property market in Asia. Perhaps an outright sale of the brand might be more of their interest.

  5. Random comment. Stayed at the Waldorf in Vegas a few months ago, which was a Mandarin. I don’t know what renovations Hilton did when they took over, but thoroughly unimpressed by the hotel. I’m guessing I didn’t miss much when it was a Mandarin.

  6. Indeed there is an Elite tier at the MO. It is not transparent, how to get there. But I was informed by mail some time ago, to have reached the Elite status. I always book this hotel through Virtuoso and don‘t know how this will interact.

  7. @Jay: Stayed there more than a dozen times. “Hard product” was fine but nothing spectacular, in line with the fact that the hotel hadn’t been updated since it opened (which is also why they sold the building and dropped the MO branding), but the “soft product” or service in general was by far the best in Vegas and possibly in the US. That, plus the fact there no stinky casino downstairs made me come back time and time again.

    They even had a program for frequent guests where the doormen would recognize you when you got out the car and handed you your room key because you had been checked in automatically. Magic, for real. Ahhh, the good old days 🙂

  8. The Oberoi Lombok is one of my favourite hotels! The venture makes sense to me as Oberoi adds more resorts to a predominantly business/city hotel portfolio.

  9. Oberoi Vanyavilas and the Taj Lake Palace are my two favourite hotels in the world. The Oberoi and Taj properties are simply fantastic.

  10. @Roberta – the violence you refer to is horrific and the roots are much more complex and rooted in backward caste issues more representative of rural populations. I doubt you will ever visit those areas. As a western woman, traveling across India has never felt unsafe to me. I feel more at unease in my hometown of Chicago due to wide-spread gun violence.

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