‘A golden age of travel’

Ramesh Daryanani, VP (Global Sales), Asia Pacific, Marriott International, is optimistic about 2023 being the year of travel. After north-bound recovery fuelled by M!CE, the brand is prepping to open new hotels across India.

Hazel Jain

Leading the Marriott delegation at its recently held annual show called ‘The Exchange Event’, Ramesh Daryanani, VP of Global Sales, Asia Pacific for Marriott International, says, “It is an opportunity for Marriott International to connect with its customers, partners, and stakeholders. This year we had over 70 hotels with representation from Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and the US.” In 2023, the event series will be hosted through April to July, commencing in India followed by Greater China, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and concluding in Southeast Asia. In India, it was held in Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi.

Aggressive plans for India

“We have some very aggressive plans announced by our President & CEO Anthony Capuano recently when he was visiting India. We plan to open 250 hotels by 2025. Its an aggressive target but one that, I think, is certainly achievable given the interest that we are seeing from various ownership groups to partner with us to open new hotels in new destinations. We see strong demand not only for the luxury tier, but also for upper-upscale and select tier, especially in secondary and tertiary locations, which are a new area of growth for us,” Daryanani adds.

India is certainly at the top of the list in terms of the recovery that the group seeing. “In fact, we have already surpassed our 2019 levels. India is leading the way in terms of how quickly its accelerated from the pandemic. We are seeing strong demand from the Indian consumer, both for our domestic and international hotels. At the moment, the flavour of the month is Europe, closely followed by Vietnam and Australia and Thailand in the Asia Pacific that travellers want to visit,” he adds.

Corporate staying longer

He believes that the corporate demand will return stronger than ever. “A lot of our corporate guests are staying for longer durations. We are not seeing day trips; we are seeing longer business where the average length of stay ranges from four to seven nights. This is also fuelled by a lot of corporates wanting to take a vacation followed by their business trips. With business and leisure combined, bleisure is a theme that we are seeing in corporate travel and that is fuelling a lot of our occupancies in this segment,” Daryanani says.

He says M!CE is being predominantly driven by pharmaceutical companies, professional services and consulting companies, as well as the manufacturing sector where a lot of the demand is fuelled by incentives and companies wanting to get their teams together. “We are also seeing a lot of leadership meetings take place to strategise and build on the camaraderie. So, at a senior leadership level, we are seeing more frequent and intimate meetings. Sustainability is also a predominant part of our focus today for corporates, as they ask us about our sustainability efforts. At Marriott, we take that very seriously. As we look at these trends in the first quarter, we certainly seem to be in golden age of travel” he says.

The company is focusing on advancing development in secondary and tertiary markets. It has launched brands in locations such as Mussoorie, Pushkar, Mahabalipuram, Raipur, Siliguri, Bilaspur, Tiruchirappalli and Shillong, where Marriott was the first international brand to enter the market. It plans to expand its portfolio in markets such as Corbett, Coorg, Shimla and Pahalgham.

Plan to be in 50 cities in two years

“Marriott is excited to advance the hospitality industry throughout India,” said Anthony Capuano, President & CEO, Marriott International. “We are committed to India’s economic growth and have plans to be in more than 50 cities in the next two years, creating 10,000 new jobs.” Capuano was in India recently to open JW Marriott Goa, it’s 150th hotel in South Asia as well as the Mulberry Shades Bengaluru Nandi Hills, A Tribute Portfolio Resort. In addition, the company announced its plans to open 15 hotels this year in South Asia across its luxury, premium and select brand segments. Marriott also has plans to launch the brand debut of Moxy in India with the anticipated openings of Moxy Bengaluru Airport Prestige Tech Cloud and Moxy Mumbai Andheri West in 2024.







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