While Marriott International has an ‘almost insurmountable’ lead over competitors in terms of its global luxury portfolio and pipeline, India can also expect more Marriott International hotels coming up in the secondary and tertiary markets of India across other brands, given the ‘tremendous opportunity’ prime minister Narendra Modi sees in these locations, said Anthony Capuano, CEO of Marriott International in an interview to ReTale.
Marriott International is the world’s largest hotel chain and lodging company in terms of number of rooms with over 1.5 million rooms in its portfolio.
“In our hour-long meeting with the prime minister on Thursday, he encouraged us to partner with his staff to not just do a better job in the region, but globally to make sure that the next generation of travellers who crave adventure and local authentic experiences understand the breadth of those experiences that are available in India,” said Capuano.
“India is one of the bright shining stories we have in our global recovery. We have more rooms managed in India than any other branded company in the world and would like to see that lead extend over time. The prime minister was thrilled to hear that we have already got projects, open and under construction, in markets that many of the multinationals might not be able to find on a map. As we think about meaningfully increasing our footprint across India, a lot of that growth will come from those markets,” he added.
The chain has 140 hotels in India and plans to get to 250 hotels in the country by 2025. Marriott is planning to launch 13 hotels in India this year totalling 1902 rooms.
Capuano said in the US, 60% of all the hotels are owned by Indian or Indian American owners, and with increased frequency, those owners feel an opportunity to reinvest in their home country.
“We met with our large US partners who are establishing development offices here in India. They are building operating infrastructure and are looking to grow their portfolios here,” he added.
While the chain operates in an industry that is cyclical and is influenced by macro-economic metrics, there are dynamics at play that bode well for Marriott’s financial performance, Capuano said.
“Firstly, in many of the markets that are most important to us, notwithstanding the economic headwinds, the consumer’s balance sheet remains strong. This is great news for travel and tourism. In many of the markets that are important to us, the employment story is very encouraging,” he said.
“When you look at corporate earnings outside a few sectors like banking and technology, the corporate earnings story continues to be quite compelling which is great news for our business. We are a different company from a financial structure perspective, than we were during prior economic downturns. We are in 138 countries today. We have got another 20 new countries in the pipeline. We have seen a global shift towards franchising which means less of our global fees volume comes from the riskier management fees. More and more of our income is coming from non revenue per available room related fees, like our credit card business, our residential business, our new yacht business.”