New Delhi: Marriott International Inc., the largest publicly traded US hotel chain, plans expansion in Asia Pacific markets including China, India and Thailand amidst a slowdown in Europe and the US.
“Asia Pacific is our growth factor,” said Neelima Chopra, chief sales and marketing officer, Asia Pacific. “We are going to open 20 hotels in China, nine hotels in India and eight to nine hotels in Thailand next year.”
The group plans to add 30,000 rooms globally in 2012, in line with the company’s target of 300 hotels for Asia Pacific by 2015.
Headquartered at Maryland in the US, Marriott International has more than 3,600 lodging properties in 71 countries. It currently manages 18 properties in India across 10 cities under brands JW Marriott, Renaissance, Courtyard by Marriott, Marriott Hotels and Resorts, Marriott Executive Apartments.
Marriott International is also looking for new partners to increase distribution in India. It has signed 36 management deals with hotel owners to achieve its target of 100 hotels in India by 2015, said Ramesh Daryanani, regional director, global sales, India.
The group will launch two new brands in India by early 2013 taking the total number of brands to seven. It’s budget hotel Fairfield will debut in Manesar, Haryana and luxury brand Ritz Carlton will be launched in Bangalore.
The group is scouting for new locations in tier-3 and tier-4 cities in India for its mid-segment Courtyard by Marriott and budget Fairfield hotels.
“We are looking at cities such as Guwahati, Bilaspur, Jalgaon in Pune, Hisar, Amritsar and Kochi in India and Dhaka in Bangladesh,” said Daryanani.
The company said it does not reckon that slowdown in Europe and the US has affected Marriott hotels. However, it reported a net loss of $179 million in third quarter of the year, compared with a profit of $83 million, a year earlier, after recording costs related to a timeshare business it is planning to spin off, according to Bloomberg.
“It continues to be our concern, but we are still growing. We are not seeing it (business) flat in Europe or the US ,” said David N. Townshend, senior vice president, global sales. “But, there is no market (inbound demand), it’s flat. So what is feeding us is the local market. We have learnt it the hard way that we need to cultivate local market after the recession of 2008-09.”
Referring to the Indian market, Chopra said: “Surprisingly, we are not seeing any slowdown in demand in India as we never recovered from our heydays of 2006-07.”
The group reported sales of $12 billion in 2010 from its operations.