Luxury hotel chain Marriott International plans expansion, to add 50 hotels in 4 years

NARAYANAN V Chennai | Updated on April 01, 2019 Published on April 01, 2019

Marriott International

Luxury hotel chain Marriott International will expand its India presence by adding over 50 hotels in the next three-four years, according to a senior official of the group.

“We have about 50 hotels in the pipeline but will probably open even more than that,” said Craig S Smith, President and Managing Director, Asia-Pacific, Marriott International Inc.

The global hotel chain, which operates in the ‘leasing and franchising’ model, has 116 hotels and over 32,000 rooms in India. It has 15 brands such as Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, Renaissance Hotels, Courtyard, Fairfield and Le Meridien, each catering to a different customer segment. Marriott has been on expansion mode the last few years. The group added 18 hotels in calendar 2018 and for 2019, plans to add 22 hotels including in Tier 2/3 cities.

Noting that 30 per cent of the group’s India expansion is through the ‘conversion and rebranding’ route, Smith said setting up a new hotel has challenges of high cost of land and capital, besides a cumbersome permit process.

“So it becomes a very compelling argument to buy a distressed hotel, renovate it and put a name on it and see the hotel uplift,” Smith added.

He said India stands at No 4 position worldwide in terms of the number of Marriott hotels in a single country and No 2 in the Asia-Pacific; domestic tourists contribute up to 80 per cent of the business. “India is like 15 countries-in-one and has a lot to offer,” Smith said.

Terming ‘conversion’ as the top priority, Neeraj Govil, Area Vice-President – South Asia, said most of the conversions the previous year were from Tier 2 regions; the group is aggressively looking to convert independent hotels.

Govil said that in the next two-three months, a Four Points hotel will come up in Chennai’s Old Mahabalipuram Road, and a Fairfield hotel at Mahindra World City.

“In Chennai, we had only Courtyard Marriott for long, today we have 11 hotels in the city and Sriperumbudur,” Govil added.

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Published on April 01, 2019
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