Marriott India to expand luxury portfolio

Hospitality firm Marriott India is focusing heavily on developing its luxury hotels portfolio in the country and plans to increase the share of luxury brands to about 35% from the current 20%, mostly in the leisure segment. The company has signed hotels in Ranthambore, Shimla, Solan, and Udaipur, all of which typically fall in the leisure markets.

In less than two years, the company has signed close to 24 hotels, and a little over a third of them are in the luxury space, the company’s area vice president for the South Asia region, Ranju Alex said in an interview.

“The one thing we have noticed after the pandemic is that people want to spend on luxury. They want experiences and when they travel, they want luxury. We see a very strong footprint of Marriott in the luxury segment and our launch of the St. Regis Goa has been a huge step towards it this year,” said Alex.

St. Regis Hotels and Resorts is part of the American hotel management company Marriott International Inc.’s 30 hotel brands. The company launched its second property in India in Goa this month. The hotel, for which it signed a partnership with Ceres Hotels Pvt. Ltd., was earlier branded as The Leela Goa. The property has 206 rooms. This is St. Regis’s second hotel in the country, the first one, being in Mumbai.

“Airlines have increased their rates. Aircraft are going full and the domestic load of India is at about 105% as compared to 2019 in terms of domestic travel and that the international load is close to 100%. People definitely now have a propensity to pay. People are not just staying but celebrating in hotels a lot more. We’ve seen a huge surge of weddings happening in our hotels and a lot of social gatherings,” she added.

Alex said the company’s domestic business travel had recovered to pre-pandemic levels but there was still scope to grow in the international business travel space. “We are hoping that will happen by December since it is looking good for our hotels,“ she added.

The company reached its 2019 levels earlier in the year, Alex said. After the Omicron wave, the business was back in April. “That was why the occupancies and average daily rates of rooms bounced back by May-June,” she added.

In July this year, Marriott International, Inc., also signed an agreement to bring five new hotels to Jharkhand and West Bengal. The company said these hotels will open over the next two to four years with local partner BeeKay Group and the agreement is expected to add about 700 rooms to the American hospitality major’s existing portfolio of over 26,000 rooms in the country and 134 hotels here. India has about 1.5 lakh branded hotel rooms in the country.

These hotels will be in Ranchi, Asansol, Maithon and Deoghar under The Le Méridien, Courtyard by Marriott and Fairfield by Marriott brands. It plans to add 200 hotels to its portfolio in India by 2025 and will add more than 3,500 rooms to its portfolio by that year.

The company’s current India portfolio of 134 hotels has 16 brands with 63 of these in the select service hotels like Courtyard, Fairfield, Four Points and Aloft, 29 in the luxury segment, like The Ritz-Carlton, W Hotels, The St. Regis, JW Marriott, Luxury Collection (ITC) hotels as well as 42 in the premium segment – Sheraton, Le Meridien, Renaissance, Marriott Hotels, Marriott Executive Apartments, Westin, Tribute Portfolio.

Earlier this year, it also announced that it will bring its ‘Moxy’ brand to India, it will be its 17th brand in India. In total, it has 30 brands in the world. It also signed an agreement with the Prestige Group and DB Realty to launch the Marriott Marquis in New Delhi and another The St. Regis property at Aerocity, which will be operational by 2025. The two hotels collectively will have 779-rooms of which 179 will be in The St Regis.

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