Marriott International Plans Double European Growth

by Jessica MCILHINNEY on March 10, 2010

Marriott International said on Tuesday that they plan to double their European presence. The group operates 174 hotels and 40,000 rooms in Europe already, but they want to have 80,000 rooms by 2015. Chief operating officer Arne Sorenson says that they are very happy to see the growth to continue into emerging markets and secondary cities in Europe after they already have hotels in gateway cities. The company has about 30 projects in the pipeline already, including hotels being constructed in Budapest, Moscow and Ankara.

Marriott International is planning to introduce two new European hotel brands. The Edition brand will be a boutique hotel brand created by both hotelier Ian Schrager and Marriott. Amy McPherson, president and managing director for Europe, believes that their new Autograph Collection will be rather attractive to travelers. This brand will give independent hotels the ability to access the company’s customer database and reservation system without having to change their names or go through expensive renovations.

The decision to focus on Europe comes after the outlook on growth in the US has declined significantly due to a rise in reluctant lenders and a fall in room rates. Hotels are having to look at other countries to build their new properties in now. Overall, there is a 36% decline of new hotels in the US from the same time last year. Even Hilton Worldwide has 37% of their pipeline going up outside the US compared to just 15% two years ago. McPherson noted that about 20% of their new hotels rooms in Europe came from 2009 conversions, while the rest are new hotels.

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