By Colleen Isherwood, Editor
TORONTO — Marriott International president and CEO Arne Sorenson says the company will be opening a new hotel every 14 hours for the next three years — a statistic that fills him with equal parts energy and exhaustion. Marriott, which already has more than 1,160,000 rooms, plans to add 300,000 more by 2019.
Canada's share will be 40 or more hotels in the next three years — with 20 expected to open this year.
CLN met with Marriott Hotels of Canada president, Don Cleary, and Sorenson, who was in Toronto for a jam-packed schedule on March 23, including a Kostuch Media Icons and Innovators breakfast, the first ever stand-alone conference for Marriott's Canadian full-service hotel managers, a gala dinner and an awards night.
“Canada has 18 of Marriott's 30 brands, and this year we will add two more,” said Cleary. “They are the Tribute Hotel Pur in Quebec City, and AC by Marriott, which is coming to Montreal this fall.”
Breaking down Marriott's global expansion plans, Sorenson said there will be more growth in the U.S. than anywhere else, which is a function of the U.S. economy, although it is not growing as fast as hoteliers want it to.
China has 500 hotels under development, with 300 already open. “That's a function of two things: the GDP is growing faster than other places in the world even though it has been slower in the past decade; and there is a shift towards more of a consumer economy, which tends to be in our favour.”
Growth will also be strong in India — Starwood is the biggest operator in that country. Sorenson said it's hard to believe that Marriott started with a JW in Mumbai 15 years ago, and now has 100 hotels open in India.
“It's a big world. Japan is performing well, thanks to Chinese international arrivals, and Thailand is doing well.”
Europe is also growing quite well due to inbound international travel, but it's often a case of taking share away from other operators. Sorenson gave Moxy as an example — there are 50 under development in Europe.
“Delta, which is near and dear to Canada, is growing very well in the U.S. and around the world,” said Sorenson. “We have a few open in the U.S. and more than 40 in the pipeline.” Delta growth will be mainly in U.S. markets.
Sorenson also mentioned Marriott's Autograph and Starwood's Tribute Portfolio and Luxury Collection as brands to watch. He linked Element and Residence Inn, noting that Starwood's Element has 20 of the lifestyle, extended stay hotels open worldwide, while Marriott's Residence Inn has 900. Starwood's Aloft, an upscale version of Courtyard by Marriott, has just 100 open compared to 1,000 Courtyards worldwide. Sorenson sees “massive potential” for those brands.