Marriott adds properties and recovers demand in key markets

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Marriott adds properties and recovers demand in key markets
Alejandro Acevedo & Michael Leon
Source: Travel2latam
March 25, 2022

With the effects of the health crisis in the rear-view mirrors, the firm is working hard to lead the tourism market in the post-pandemic

Prior to the pandemic, Marriott has been one of the chains that has marked the greatest growth, although the health crisis has affected it as well as the industry in general, the firm is not only recovering ground, it is also growing and planning new important openings. To learn in detail about the company's current situation, during the last SAHIC, we were able to interview Alejandro Acevedo, Regional Vice President, Development Caribbean and Latin America, and Michael Leon, Director Of Development. We share their responses below:

What has been the expectation of participating in SAHIC?
Alejandro Acevedo: “It has been a unique experience because after being locked up for so long due to the pandemic, here we have been able to make personal contact and also important business meetings. With some of the investors, we have been working for more than a decade and we had not seen each other in these 2 years. The professional and personal reunion was something very special”.

Michael Leon: “The goal has also been to meet new owners, learn a bit about the trends, see where the need for growth is, and support people who are thinking of making investments. Our job is to look for new business opportunities for Marriott in order to promote the opening of new hotels”.

What is the vision regarding the investments that can be generated as a result of this event?
Alejandro Acevedo: “During this conference some opportunities arose, but it is complex to predict if they are going to materialize. Everything is a process, but the door is open. We have noticed interest in the pleasure segment, where they are already starting to invest again.”

What is the differential value of Marriott to attract an investor?
Michael Leon: “We have great strengths today, our loyalty program is one of a kind and today has 155 million members. We have very important brands to offer and that is highly valued because in this way, the investor becomes affiliated with a leading hotel chain. Our distribution channel is another of our great strengths and I think it is the biggest differentiator”.

How have you been able to support the properties that felt the low demand the most?
Michael Leon: “We have seen in many of the countries how restrictions and quarantines have affected our hotels, to support them and recover demand we have carried out very interesting campaigns, we are holding events in key countries such as Colombia and Brazil and the idea is little little by little recover the levels prior to the pandemic.

Alejandro Acevedo: “What we have tried to do in the pandemic has been to support the hotels so that they can maintain their operations to the bare minimum in these markets that have been hit. Now they are recovering and some of them are even operating with high occupancy. Where we are most delayed is in the big cities. That depend on MICE and corporate tourism. Additionally, some properties have been able to take the opportunity to make renovations without having interrupted their flow of business”.

What are the projections for 2023?
Alejandro Acevedo: “We opened our first hotel in 1957 in Washington DC, which unfortunately no longer exists and today we have 8,000 properties. In fact, number 8000 has just opened in the American capital, right next to our corporate building. That complex will have the Marriott brand.”
“In Latin America we have around 280 hotels throughout the region and our pipeline includes 160 hotels that are in different stages. The pandemic delayed some of the openings that were pending, it has also delayed the start of construction of others.
“Our annual growth will be between 5 and 7% of the current rooms. Today we have 1.6 million rooms and this year we will add between 5 and 7% more”.

Michael Leon: "In all crises there are many opportunities, there is a change of thinking of many owners, they realize that it really is good to join a network that has that marketing power."

Alejandro Acevedo: “There has also been a very specific focus on conversions of existing hotels, independent hotels that were not affiliated with an international brand and the pandemic has accelerated the decision making of owners who have realized that they had to have a distribution system. large and efficient, that has a leading loyalty program, that can reduce reservation costs, etc".


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