Marriott has 19 Thai hotels in pipeline

Marriott has 19 Thai hotels in pipeline

Chain eyes meetings and incentives sector

Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa is operated by Marriott International, which has just completed its merger with Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa is operated by Marriott International, which has just completed its merger with Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

US hotel chain Marriott International Inc plans to open 19 new hotels in Thailand within the next five years to serve the rising number of tourists, particularly for the meetings and incentives sector.

The move follows Marriott's recent merger with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc to become the largest hotel chain in the world.

Regan Taikitsadaporn, Marriott's chief human resources officer for Asia-Pacific, said the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (Mice) market is becoming more robust and hotel demand from Mice guests is on the rise, and Marriott will focus on this sector.

Marriott, which has worked closely with the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), has found that the Mice business in Thailand grows every year.

"Our 19 hotels in the pipeline will be developed to mainly meet demand from Mice tourists," he said.

Mice visitors spend three times more than general tourists. This year, the TCEB forecast Thailand will welcome 900,000 Mice tourists, who will generate an estimated 100 billion baht in revenue.

After merging with Starwood, Marriott now manages 39 hotels in Thailand, of which 21 properties have been transferred to its portfolio from Starwood. The largest hotel chain expects to operate 58 hotels here in the next five years.

Mr Regan said the hotel chain would be able to expand the scope of its distribution, while its larger scale would improve cost efficiency and facilitate flexible operations.

Marriott is confident about lowering its annual operation costs by around 8.7 billion baht from combining synergies and operations to enhance efficiency and increase revenue in the future.

"Boosting efficiency and revenue opportunities will make our hotels more profitable as well as create a stronger reputation among hotel owners and franchisees from the combined brands," he said.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide previously managed many leading hotels in Thailand including the Sheraton, the Westin, the St Regis, W Bangkok and the Plaza Athenee Bangkok.

Marriott's revenue is expected to double after combining the two giant hotel chains, but Mr Regan said it is too early to forecast a precise figure.

"For Thailand, I think Marriott's revenue will surely increase and this will give us an opportunity to use the synergy of the two hotels to become the world's biggest hotel chain," he said.

Marriott will match its membership status across the Marriott rewards programme internationally including The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest, enabling members to transfer points between the programmes for exclusive travel experiences.

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