MUMBAI — Marriott International is on track to open seven hotels, adding 1,561 new rooms in India this year, said Ed Fuller, president & managing director of international lodging. These new openings will offer employment opportunities in the hospitality sector across the country.
“Despite the global economic slowdown and pockets of political unrest, India’s tourism sector continues to demonstrate encouraging resilience,” Mr. Fuller said. “Since our Global Sales Office opened in India a little more than five years ago, total room-night sales have increased over 500 percent, and all our existing hotels in the country are performing to expectation. The country’s rapidly-expanding middle class and buying power, growing industrial infrastructure, rich cultural heritage, and natural attractions are all combining to make India a strong inbound and outbound tourism market in which we are delighted to be a part.”
Mr. Fuller said that the hotel openings are creating a wealth of opportunity for career-minded individuals who want to enter the hotel industry.
“We anticipate needing approximately 2,000 individuals across all operational and marketing disciplines to staff these seven hotels in the coming months,” he said. “Because we tend to promote from within, these hotels will offer an unprecedented opportunity especially for those who are just getting started.” He noted that approximately 50 percent of Marriott’s leadership at the property level began their careers in line-level positions and that Marriott India ranked “5th best company to work for in India,” in a recent study, up from 11th position in 2007.
“We put a lot of emphasis on training at all levels of the organization and offer hundreds of training courses annually for both hourly associates and managers across the globe. These courses are taught by certified trainers, professional experts, and property-based management,” Mr. Fuller continued. “Some courses are self-directed and include internet-based learning. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that all our associates receive the training necessary in their discipline to help develop their careers while benefiting our guests.”
Marriott’s new hotels will represent three of the company’s six international lodging brands, namely:
In the luxury segment:
– The 320-room JW Marriott Hotel Bangalore
In the upscale, deluxe segment:
– The 426-room Pune Marriott Hotel & Convention Center
In the upper-moderate segment, five new Courtyard by Marriott hotels:
– 199-room Courtyard by Marriott Gurgaon
– 153-room Courtyard by Marriott West Pune
– 193-room Courtyard by Marriott Hyderabad
– 164-room Courtyard by Marriott Ahmedabad
– 299-room Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport
The additional hotels were previously announced and will open under long-term management contracts. When opened, they will more than double the Marriott International hotel brands portfolio in India, which today consists of six operating properties. Another 14 previously-announced hotels are expected to open in India through 2012 as part of Marriott International’s global pipeline of hotels under construction, awaiting conversion, or approved for development. The company’s current pipeline represents approximately 130,000 rooms worldwide.
Attracting MICE market key part of Marriott’s sales strategy
Mr. Fuller indicated that a key component of Marriott International’s success in 2009 and beyond is the Meetings Incentives Conference & Events (MICE) segment.
“Since our beginning as a hotel company in 1957, we’ve been recognized as a leader in hosting large groups and conferences, especially in the United States,” he said. “And now, our portfolio of hotels designed specifically to cater to this market has begun to grow significantly throughout the world including in India.”
Examples of Marriott International hotels that are designed to host big meetings in India include the recently-expanded Renaissance Mumbai Hotel & Convention Center; the existing, recently refurbished Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention Center, and the Pune Marriott Hotel & Convention Center, which opens later this year.
Outside of India, the Hong Kong Sky City Marriott Hotel, Renaissance Tianjin TEDA Hotel in China, the Rome Park Marriott Hotel in Italy, the Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel in France, the Cairo Marriott Hotel in Egypt, Beijing Marriott City Wall Hotel in China, and the Grosvenor House Hotel in London rank among prime Marriott International-branded large conference venues.
“In today’s uncertain economic times, companies and professional groups want to gather their teams, members, and customers together to address new strategies or reward performance,” he said. “Our JW Marriott-. Marriott- and Renaissance-branded hotels “know” meetings. We have the hotel product, the conference planner support infrastructure, the catering and events expertise, the e-Tools on Marriott.com, and other on-line training programs to help our customers get the most value out of their investment in the events they book with us.”
Expanding Marriott International portfolio in Thailand attracts Indian travelers
Mr. Fuller said that Thailand is among the fastest-growing destinations for Indian travelers.
“Last year, we registered at 24 percent increase of Indian visitors to Thailand. Many were attracted by the introduction of our new, upper moderately-priced Courtyard hotels in Bangkok, Phuket, and Hua Hin. Besides being a great hotel product offering great value, our Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Thailand offers our exciting new restaurant concept, MoMo Café, which serves up a personable dining experience with its open bar and kitchen and its blending of local and western cuisines and the popular KidsWorld, a complimentary child-care amenity offered at our Courtyard hotels in resort destinations,” he said.
In addition to the seven hotels listed above as opening in 2009, Marriott International will open properties in Kolkata New Town, Amritsar, Noida, Chennai, and Chandigargh, as well as additional properties in Pune, Kolkata, Bangalore, and Gurgaon in India now through 2012.
Currently operating in India are the following Marriott International-branded hotels: JW Marriott Hotel Mumbai, Goa Marriott Resort, Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention Center, Renaissance Mumbai Hotel & Convention Center, Courtyard by Marriott Chennai, and the Lakeside Chalet Marriott Executive Apartments in Mumbai.