On the onset of its Exchange India event 2022, US-based hospitality major Marriott International shared updates and details on the recovery of its hotels in the Asia Pacific markets and how the next year is going to shape up for the company in terms of new openings and inception of new campaigns to drive growth in the hospitality industry globally.
In conversation with ETTravelWorld, Ramesh Daryanani, Vice President, Global Sales, Asia Pacific Marriott International shared Marriott’s plans for the Indian market and mentioned that the company has 69 new hotels under the pipeline. He also shared details on the ‘Future Connections’ campaign Marriott is going to launch. The company’s B2B networking and business event took place for the first time after March 2019 since the pandemic and saw the participation of more than 65 delegates representing over 150+ hotels and regions.
Record year in terms of signings
During the conversation, Daryanani informed that Marriott International has about 69 hotels under pipeline in India and the rebound to pre-pandemic looks very positive in the region.
“During the pandemic, we didn’t stop opening new hotels. We have opened under 100 hotels in this Asia Pacific market, which shows resilience and more so the confidence of our owners to partner with Marriott to open these hotels. We have had a record year in terms of signings as well in this part of the world of new deals that are coming to Marriott. It is driven by both the top line performance of our hotels, but also what we’ve been able to do at the bottom line and return to our owners,” he said.
Leisure leading the recovery!
Sharing insights on travel rebound and Marriott’s global recovery, Daryanani mentioned that they have almost reached the pre-pandemic levels in terms of RevPAR. “We are trying to recover versus 2019 levels or surpass 2019 levels and in a lot of markets, we have done that. Recovery is on, Australia is leading the recovery globally followed by India, Singapore, and Indonesia. We are just around five points below the pre-pandemic levels in terms of RevPAR, which is great as Q2 and Q3 are shaping up to be very good for us. So, I feel very optimistic about how travel is rebounding. It’s led by leisure predominantly, but we’re also starting to see groups and events, meetings and corporate travel bounce back as well. Travel restrictions have eased, and people want to get back on the road, meet face to face and rebuild their businesses. So, all of this is what’s driving the demand right now that we’re seeing at our hotels,” he mentioned.
India is a resilient market, with record occupancy in Mumbai properties
Sharing his views on the recovery of the Indian market, Daryanani termed India a very resilient market and mentioned that Marriott is registering record occupancy in certain pockets of the country.
“In some markets, we have surpassed 2019 levels in terms of its occupancy, and it’s also led by an increase in rates versus 2019. So, we’re seeing, we’ve surpassed 2019 rates in many of our markets. Mumbai is one of those markets where we’re seeing record occupancies and rates. It’s going to spread across the board, where we need more international travellers to get into India and that will solve itself once the flight capacities stabilise, especially in markets like Bengaluru, which is heavily reliant on the tech sector, predominantly from the US. Once that starts coming in, different parts of India will recover, but the leisure destinations are doing extremely well. We have never seen occupancies and rates as we have seen in this last year at our leisure destinations,” he added.
Marketing plan and new campaigns
Daryanani also talked about Marriott’s marketing plan and the new campaigns they are launching, especially focused on the MICE sector. He informed that Marriott’s meetings and events campaign called ‘Create Moments Worth Celebrating’ will be soon launched in different markets apart from another campaign called ‘Future Connections’.
“This is going to encourage people to book next year now so they can secure their space. I think one issue that customers are going to have going into next year’s, just availability and the sooner they book in secure space, I think they’re going to be in a better position to plan and execute their events.”
“Right now, the struggle for meetings and events is flight capacity, soaring airfares, the delays with visas as well. So that’s been some of the roadblocks that are stopping us to get to our fullest potential, but as this stabilises. I can see that there is demand for travel and people want to travel,” stated Daryanani speaking about the challenges the industry is facing.