MARRIOTT International has seen ‘an exceptional year’ in the Middle East, with an 11 per cent increase in RevPAR, according to the group’s president and managing director Ed Fuller – and the hotel chain is gearing up for an even better year ahead, with a healthy development pipeline.
By the end of 2009, the group expects to have around 600,000 rooms in its system. This includes nine hotels that have already been announced in the Middle East.
Taking that forward, he said, “We are now looking forward to ATM to announce probably the best list of new hotels than we have ever announced before, for most part in the region. You’re going to see more properties of JWs, Ritz-Carltons, Renaissances, Courtyards, as also Marriott Executive Apartments,” he told TTN at ITB Berlin, while refusing to go into the details. “We can’t talk about specific markets, but assume if we are not there, we are looking – other than what’s announced, of course,” he said.
Marriott International saw system-wide sales totalling $12.2 billion from continuing operations, added Fred Miller, vice president-travel industry relations. The highlight of Marriott's strong sales performance during the year was the 35 percent increase over 2005 in reservations made through Marriott.com, which accounted for $4.3 billion is sales in 2006.
The firm is also proud that it has held its level of travel agents’ activity steady for more than a decade, despite the vast array of distribution channels. Marriott now has 113,000 travel agents in 129 countries, who are certified as experts in selling hotel rooms, Miller said. The positive results come at a time when the group celebrates 80 years in hospitality and 50 years in the hotel business.
The coming year, Fuller said, would be very strong for the company in the Middle East. “We are looking at continued growths along the lines of what we have seen in the past. There is one catch: we have several hotels under renovation. But beyond those, we expect to continue at between 10 and 11 per cent.”
Fuller also said the group was looking to bring more spas to its properties in the region, particularly at the JW Marriotts in Cairo and Dubai. It already has one at the Jordan Valley Marriott.
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.