2017: A robust year for Marriott

Ramesh Daryanani, Vice President, Global Sales – Asia Pacific (excluding Greater China), Marriott International, talks to us about the market response to the world’s largest hotel group post-merger and the motive of Marriott’s Sales Mission that happens every year in the country.

Tell us about Marriott’s Sales Mission 2017.
The Global Sales Mission is an annual meet organised by Marriott International to bring together primary contacts across all market segments with Marriott associates, to update them on the company’s developments worldwide, strengthen existing relationships, educate and induct new customers into the rich loyalty programmes, discuss the performance of the year gone by, and explore opportunities for the year ahead and beyond. It is a great platform for meeting industry partners and potential customers from various sectors of business. Marriott has always received great support from its customers, who look forward to this annual event each year.

Global Sales Mission 2017 provides a platform for us to engage with our partners from all sectors across meetings, MICE, and corporate and travel trade. It is an opportunity for constructive dialogue and ambitious exchange of thoughts that lead to innovative and mutually productive results. We have participation from more than 60 Marriott hotels and resorts showcasing brands and destinations from all over the world, making business possibilities endless as we offer the largest portfolio of powerful and distinctive brands. We have more than 50 participants from all over the world that are here to meet with Indian customers.

The Global Sales Mission brings together B2B customers from all segments of the industry. This platform is also used to thank business partners in the region for their support over the past year for all 15 Marriott brands in India. It also gives us an opportunity to analyse the performance of the past year and evaluate possible business prospects in the existing cities and markets as we grow and expand. The wide and exhaustive showcase of hotels at the event is aimed to bring all the best brands under one roof and make the planning process seamless and interactive for partners as well as potential business partners.

How has India’s response been to Marriott?
The response has been phenomenal so far. We have received a lot of appreciation from our partners. One advantage that we clearly have is worldwide coverage. Some statistics will show you that one in every four hotels that is being constructed across the globe today may be a Marriott. We have 30 brands and that is an advantage for us. We are able to meet the demands of customers across all needs, thanks to the variety of brands we have under our umbrella. Also, irrespective of the fact that we are a large organisation, we do not take anything for granted.

What transpired in terms of business between 2016 and 2017?
Business from India has seen a growth of 10 per cent. The predominant beneficiary of this business was Asia-Pacific, followed by Europe, US, and the Middle East.

What are your expansion plans?
Today, we have 6,000 hotels and around 1.1 million rooms across the world; this year alone we have signed 175,000 rooms. We see this number increasing over the next few years by at least 10-20 per cent. In Asia, we have 526 hotels and another 500 in the pipeline. In India, we have 84 hotels with another 80 in the pipeline. So, there is a lot of growth everywhere. It is also great to see that there is a lot of interest from the ownership community for Marriott’s brand of hotels. The outlook of our expansion looks very positive.

What kind of trends do you see for 2017?
The Indian market is a robust growth sector for us. I don’t think it is a market that’s going to stop, given all the challenges we have. Indians will still continue to travel. Also, digital and social mediums of communication with customers are going to increase. The customisation of products and experiences is also going to be a huge trend for this year. Indian consumers are looking at more experiential travel. They have done the Bangkoks of the world and now want to experience something different. As a hotel company, that’s what we want to focus on, to alter our services according to the needs of Indian customers.

Which is Marriott’s highest revenue generator brand?
That would depend on the market we are into. JW Marriott Delhi is the highest revenue generator for us in India. I would say that the JW Marriott brand in India has done significantly well because of the MICE facilities, the food outlets, and the inventories that the brand has to offer. The scale of operation is very different from that of Fairfield.

Marriott’s take on liquor ban

Neeraj Govil
Market Vice President – South Asia
Marriott International

A number of our hotels have been impacted by the ban. We have received a copy of the judgement and are working through the nuances of it, always ensuring that we are in compliance of the law. We also see an impact on our business, especially in the tertiary market. We will work with the industry bodies to make our voice heard.