“Marriott doesn’t have enough hotel brands, I wish the company would introduce some more…” said no one ever. That’s not stopping the company, though. In September 2023, Marriott announced the details of its newest hotel brand, Four Points Express by Sheraton.
Marriott has today revealed what we can expect from these properties in terms of Bonvoy participation, so I wanted to go over those details, in addition to recapping the basics of the brand.
In this post:
The basics of Four Points Express by Sheraton
Four Points Express by Sheraton is Marriott’s newest hotel brand, designed for the midscale segment. This is intended as a regional brand, with properties in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. This new brand follows Marriott’s recent launch of the City Express by Marriott brand in Mexico and Latin America, as well as the StudioRes by Marriott brand in the United States.
I think the logical question is what makes Four Points Express by Sheraton different from the standard Four Points experience. Marriott describes Four Points Express by Sheraton as offering “value-conscious consumers a seamless hotel experience in a convenient location, with principles of reliability, simplicity and value in both the design and guest experience.”
Here’s how Marriott describes what we can expect from Four Points Express by Sheraton:
“Four Points Express will provide guests with the genuine, friendly service Marriott International’s brands are renowned for. Midscale travelers are practical planners who prioritise elements that make both business and leisure trips effortless. The brand will treat these fundamentals with great importance by providing clean, comfortable rooms, breakfast and complimentary Wi-Fi, delivering an efficient and relaxing experience at an affordable price.”
“Four Points Express hotels will offer design signatures that provide character and a recognisable, localised aesthetic. The brand has been tailored to meet guests’ needs and the efficient cost model is intended to provide an effective pricing strategy for owners and help drive meaningful growth for Marriott International.”
As you can see, a lot of these points don’t actually tell you a whole lot. I suspect Marriott would describe all of its brands as offering “genuine, friendly service,” yet the company still uses that to describe a new brand, clearly due to lack of other unique characteristics.
There are three Four Points Express by Sheraton properties expected to open in the next year or so:
- The 52-room Four Points Express by Sheraton Antalya Lara is expected to open in Türkiye in late 2023
- The 201-room Four Points Express by Sheraton London Euston is expected to open in the United Kingdom in 2024
- The Four Points Express by Sheraton Bursa Nilüfer is also in the pipeline in Türkiye, but details are otherwise lacking
Four Points Express by Sheraton will be a soft conversion brand
Keep in mind that for the major hotel groups, us consumers aren’t the customers, but rather we’re the product. The customers are the hotel developers that the major hotel groups are hoping to attract, since that’s how they make money.
So if you want an honest perspective of what a new hotel brand actually offers, head over to the page for developers. Here’s how Four Points Express by Sheraton is described there:
“Four Points Express is conversion-friendly, offering owners the ability to join Marriott Bonvoy and benefit from the power of Marriott International’s distribution system and loyalty program without extensive refurbishment requirements. The brand offers a fast entry option into Marriott International’s powerful platform while providing all the key elements midscale guests value.”
“The midscale traveler is highly price and value conscious. Location and price for a specific trip type are key decision-making drivers. Our brand promise has been tailored to meet the guests’ needs and the cost model enables both an effective pricing strategy and meaningful growth, which will significantly increase distribution and provide guests with more choice in terms of locations to stay.”
In other words, what makes Four Points Express by Sheraton unique is that the brand won’t actually have many standards. It will be an easy way for hotel developers to join the Marriott ecosystem with a limited service hotel conversion, while not having to invest much in refurbishing the project. So while other brands promise a certain level of consistency, that’s much more limited with this new brand.
How this brand will participate in Marriott Bonvoy
When it comes to Four Points Express by Marriott participating in Marriott’s loyalty program, here’s what we can expect:
- Bonvoy members will earn 5x base points per US dollar spent on qualifying charges; this is aligned with some other limited service brands, like Protea Hotels, City Express, Element, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites, and Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy
- Bonvoy members will earn one elite night credit for every two nights stayed
- For the elite welcome gift, Platinum members, Titanium members, and Ambassador members, will have the choice of complimentary breakfast for each night of their stay for two people, or 500 bonus points per stay
I think this is more or less what we all expected. At least elite breakfast is an option, though in terms of points and elite night credit earning, this will be among the less rewarding brands. I’m not a fan of the trend of Marriott awarding half elite nights, but there’s not much we can do about it.
Four Points Express by Sheraton is Marriott’s newest hotel brand, and it will be a soft conversion brand focused on Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. This will essentially be an easy way for existing midscale properties to be converted into Marriotts. This gives them access to Marriott’s loyalty program and distribution channels, without having to invest a significant amount in renovations.
For Marriott, clearly the focus with growth is on quantity rather than quality. I suppose that’s fair enough, given how the major hotel groups have money. However, it’s also kind of sad when new brands come in the form of “hey, let’s start a hotel brand just like our existing hotel brand, just without the standards.”
What do you make of Four Points Express by Sheraton?