Marriott’s next three years are going to be huge. In fact, some loyal customers may wonder if the hotel chain is going too far when it comes to expanding into new markets. Is this a case of trying to please too many different types of customers? Marriott plans to open more than 1,700 properties during the next three years. That adds up to somewhere between 275,000 and 295,000 new rooms around the world by 2021. It also adds up to somewhere between $9.5 billion and $11.5 billion for Marriott’s shareholders.
Marriott is emboldened, thanks to its recent merger with Starwood. That merger has made legendary Marriott an even bigger player in the hotel market than it was just a few years ago. Marriott unveiled its new Bonvoy loyalty program back in February. The new program marks the final phase of merging Marriott and Starwood into one entity. The shared loyalty program is the most powerful loyalty program in the world by almost all indicators. It includes 125 million members. What’s more, about 50,000 people sign up for the program every day.
One big task that Marriott faces is the revamping of its Sheraton brand. Sheraton currently offers a total of 155,000 rooms around the world. It is actually the most geographically diverse brand under the Marriott umbrella. In fact, Sheraton is a big contributor to Marriott’s overall scale. Sheraton properties allow Marriott to reduce costs across its network of properties around the world. You may remember that Marriott released a prototype of the new room design it is considering for Sheraton properties not that long ago. Another move was made this week when Marriott unveiled a new Sheraton logo that does away with the brand’s iconic laurel wreath.
Where will new Marriott properties be added in the years to come? Marriott’s vision is truly a global one. A lot of energy is being put into expanding in North Africa and West Africa right now. Places like Morocco, Ghana and Liberia will get upgraded hotels and new properties. However, we don’t yet know the full list of properties that will be unveiled between now and 2021. Marriott also hasn’t revealed how it plans to spread the new properties across its brands. It’s very possible that some of the new properties will be designed for travelers looking to take advantage of the home-sharing trend.
It’s important to remember that Marriott may not reach its target of opening 1,700 hotels by 2021 just because an announcement has been made. There are many factors in play that could cause delays or convince Marriott to abandon some projects. Keep in mind that Marriott missed its goal of opening between 285,000 and 300,000 gross rooms during the period between 2017 and 2019. Marriott was only able to add 245,000 gross rooms during that period. Marriott has cited the complexities of opening high-end properties in urban areas around the world when explaining why targets haven’t been met.
[Image Source: Marriott]