Leading the charge

Brand: Marriott Spokesman: Samir Daqaq, vice-president, Marriott Global Sales Organisation, Middle East, Africa & Subcontinent.

Expansions, new openings or closures?
We continue to build our company’s worldwide lodging portfolio by about 25,000 to 30,000 rooms or 150 hotels a year.

Internationally, we have been adding between 30-40 hotels a year, so there more than 25 per cent of total growth comes from outside the United States. In the Middle East, I expect we will see good growth here; the area continues to offer growth potential as regional stabilization progresses. Several hotels are under development and the Courtyard is beginning to evolve as well. Our Marriott Executive Apartments (MEA) brand has been very successful in Bangkok and Mumbai, and now in Dubai. I see a lot of continued potential for the MEA product in the Middle East.

Strategy in the face of competition?
Culture is at the root of a company’s success. Marriott’s family tradition, stability and continuity of having the same CEO for 30 years mean that we have a major advantage over our competitors. Our strategy is to continuously grow the membership base of our Marriott Rewards Program and increase brand loyalty, while we re-engineer our sales structure to become even more account focused rather than transaction focused.

The way forward
The lodging business is changing and Marriott is leading the way. We are introducing a whole new look and feel across our brands, with hospitality concepts catering to the requirements of our guests. We offer state-of-the-art technologies, products and services that enable us to create a more personalized service for our guests. The changes are evident in our stylish room designs and luxurious beddings among many others. Our rooms have been refined and every element has been designed with the customer in mind. In coming months, you’ll be hearing a lot about our revolutionary plans to transform public spaces in all our hotels to better meet the needs of today’s travellers.