Greenbrier to Marriott: 'Let's Call the Whole Thing Off'
August 3, 2009 at 10:16 AM
This year's drama at the Greenbrier in West Virginia unfolded a bit like this: the resort was having some issues, so it shed about half of its staff. Then the rumor goin' around town was something about Marriott coming in to purchase and save the resort (um, and by "rumor" we mean there was a contract involved) but then another buyer stepped in and snapped it up, and furloughed employees were called back.
But then the new buyer reached a tentative marketing agreement with Marriott, where the chain would receive "a special fee for every Greenbrier guest booked through the hotel chain's marketing network" and if it didn't work out, the hotel's new owner would have to pay Marriott "a $7 million 'break-up fee'" if he ended Marriott's marketing partnership.
And it looks like that's what just happened.
According to an industry tipster, the new owner of the Greenbrier wired Marriott International $7.5 million "following the expiration of the deadline for the two parties to reach a marketing agreement." The "break up" had to do with the economy and the branding of the resort, as the new owner felt strongly about keeping the historical resort's identity the same as it's always been.
So, in conclusion: Marriott got their money and, presumably, they're peacing out of the whole Greenbrier thing entirely. Hopefully the resort can pull it together and recover from whatever's going on without the help of the hotel giant.
[Photo: Bloomberg News via WSJ]