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Marriott to add 24 new hotels by '12

By Swaraj Baggonkar in Mumbai
May 27, 2009 11:38 IST
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Luxury hotel chain Marriott International will open 24 new properties in India over the next three years. The company, which largely operates through management contracts, has sealed the deal for the properties with real estate developers.

Some of these are regional players, like K Raheja Corporation (Mumbai), Salgaonkar (Goa), Viceroy Hotels (Hyderabad) and Panchshil Realty (Pune).

Marriott will launch six properties this year. Of these, the Courtyard Marriott in Pune will be the first to open. Subsequently, four more Courtyard-branded properties would come up in Ahmedabad, Gurgaon, Hyderabad and Mumbai. The sixth would be operated under the Marriott brand. In all, the company intends to have 14 hotels operating under the Courtyard brand.

The hospitality major currently has six properties in Mumbai, Goa, Hyderabad and Chennai and operates through five different brands, including Marriott, JW Marriott, Courtyard, Renaissance and Marriott Executive Apartments.

Rajeev Menon, Marriott International, Inc's area vice-president for India, Malaysia, Maldives and Pakistan, said, "Our focus for expansion will be pan-India. We have signed up for properties for 24 hotels and we are in discussions with our real estate partners for further additions."

The five Courtyard-branded properties, which will be operational this year, are in Ahmedabad (150 rooms, in August), Gurgaon (200 rooms, month yet to be finalised), Hyderabad (164 rooms, in October), Pune (153 rooms, in May) and Mumbai (340 rooms, in December).

Recently, a number of international hotel companies -- like MGM Mirage Hospitality, Wyndham Hotel Group, Langham Hotel International, Corinthia Hotels & Resorts, Jumeriah Group, Movenpick Hotels & Resorts, Swissotel Hotels & Resorts and Hampshire Hotels & Resorts -- either indicated their plans to enter India, or made announcements about expansion.

However, a significant drop in tourist inflows into the country, following the economic slowdown and also due to the threat from terrorism, has eroded the margins of most of the top hotel operating companies in India.

In addition, due to the financial meltdown, many international hotel companies were apprehensive about launching newer properties in developed as well as emerging markets. In India alone, plans of launching about 50 new properties were shelved.

"Typically, hotels are constructed over a period of 3-4 years. So our properties, which began construction 2-3 years ago, will open for operation according to their earlier schedule. Like everyone else, we too have been impacted by the slowdown. But our plans are still on track," said Menon.

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Swaraj Baggonkar in Mumbai
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