Marriott goes for growth

Marriott International enjoyed a record year of new hotel signings in 2023. The hotel giant grew its pipeline by 15% from the previous year, taking it to 573,000 planned rooms.

In the US and Canada, regional signings of 91,000 rooms included 37,000 added via a strategic licensing agreement, signed with MGM Resorts International. While in Mexico, completion of the acquisition of City Express led to the addition of 150 hotels with 17,500 rooms into the Marriott global portfolio.

Outside the home US market, the strongest signing volumes were in China, Vietnam, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and India.

“As we continue to expand our global brand portfolio, grow our Marriott Bonvoy loyalty platform, and provide innovative offerings to our owner and franchise community, we continue to meet the needs of guests across all stay purposes around the world,” said Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano. “I am excited about our momentum as we strive to connect people through the power of travel.”

Conversion opportunities

Around one quarter of Marriott openings in 2023 were conversions of existing hotels, and the company signed a record 184 properties during the year, which will see close to 65,000 rooms switch to Marriott brands. Marriott’s collection brands, Autograph, The Luxury Collection and Tribute, all allow easier conversions, with greater brand flexibility. There is also a conversion brand for longer stay properties, Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy, which saw its first opening in Puerto Rico in late 2023.

New brands

Having acquired Mexican business City Express, which had hotels not just in Mexico but a presence in Costa Rica, Colombia, and Chile too, Marriott now plans expansion. Other country markets in the Caribbean and Latin America region will see City Express launch in 2024.

Also new into the market, and focused initially on the USA and Canada, is StudioRes, a new midscale aparthotel brand. Marriott says it has 300 deals in negotiation as it looks to grow the brand at scale.

For Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Marriott has launched Four Points Express by Sheraton, a conversion brand in the midscale segment. Since launch in September 2023, six properties have been signed in the UK and Turkey.

Responding to demand

Other areas where Marriott is responding to growing market demand are all-inclusive resorts, branded residences, and luxury. Following the pandemic, branded hotel groups have seen more consumers seeking the all-inclusive option for leisure trips, and Marriott signed deals in 2023 that have taken its portfolio of such resorts to 49 open or in the pipeline, under 10 of its brands. Six more all-inclusive destinations will open in 2024.

Branded residences, too, continue to be in demand from investors and consumers. Marriott finished 2023 with 134 locations open, and a further 115 in the pipeline, numbers that allow it to claim leadership of the sector. It recently opened The St. Regis Residences, Cairo, Egypt, The Residences at Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort, Philippines, The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Portland, and The Ritz-Carlton Residences Mexico City.

Luxury is also still much in demand, and Marriott has refreshed its W Hotels brand, launching new W hotels in Budapest and W Edinburgh, its second UK location under the brand. The luxury pipeline has grown to 245 hotels, of which more than 20 are expected to launch in 2024. Recent openings include the Ritz-Carlton Portland, St Regis Chicago, and Rissai Valley, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, which is the company’s 500th hotel in Greater China.