Thu | May 25, 2017

Marriott spreading across the Caribbean

Published:Sunday | April 19, 2015 | 4:00 AMJanet Silvera
The Great Room of the Marriott Guyana.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana:

While tagging 2014 as a banner year in the Caribbean, Marriott International Inc says it is positioned for even more growth in the region as it rolls out new properties.

The company's executives in an interview with Sunday Business during the opening of the multimillion-dollar Marriott Guyana Hotel in Georgetown on Thursday said in addition to its Courtyard by Marriott property slated for a June opening in New Kingston, a Renaissance hotel named Jaragua is to be opened in Santo Domingo later this year, and two other Courtyard properties are set to be opened in the eastern Caribbean islands of Curacao and Bonaire.

The hotel company also operates a Marriott hotel in Haiti owned by Denis O'Brien's Digicel Group, which opened officially for business in February.

"We depend on local and regional investors to put in the capital, and we manage these iconic properties, offering them the opportunity to be aligned, marketed and managed by an international company that has had successes in more than 500 hotels in nearly 50 countries and territories around the world," said Rahul Vir, Marriott's vice-president for South America, Caribbean and Latin America.

Boost in demand

According to Vir, with the economic cycle returning to normal, there will be increase in hotel rooms and a boost in demand for hotel company's brand. There are 59 hotels in the pipeline for development by 2018 - seven in North America and 41 in four international regions.

The hotel chain operates 8,614 rooms in the Caribbean and is the first international brand to enter Guyana in over 45 years.

What is evident is that the American chain is not following in the footsteps of the Spanish and the Mexican hotel investors, who are quickly taking over the Caribbean with their 800 to 1,000-room resorts.

The Courtyard by Marriott, which is being developed by Pan Jamaican Investment Trust and partners, will be about 130 rooms, Marriott Port au Prince is 175 rooms, while Marriott Guyana is a neat 197-room hotel, designed with innovations such as the brand's signature interactive Great Room concept.

The Great Room lobby provides a destination where guests and locals can gather, by themselves or with friends or colleagues, to relax, socialise or work. With free Wi-Fi and USB ports and outlets throughout the lobby, hotel guests and locals can work on their laptops and relax with their own tablets.

In addition, Marriott is known for its 'Future of Meetings' and mobile guest services that elevate style, design and technology.

All Marriott hotels participate in the award-winning Marriott Rewards

frequent travel programme that allows members to earn hotel points or airline miles for every dollar spent during each stay.

Vir said Marriott Guyana was one of 23 other hotels to be opened in South America under the brand.

There is also to be massive development in Brazil in the next 24 months, with eight new hotels totalling 2,000 rooms on the books, he said.

Marriott is also making its presence felt in Bolivia and will open a hotel there for the very first time in 2016.

Aggressive marketing

All the hotels aligned with the brand have access to the 45 million members registered with the chain," said Vir.

Marriott's aggressive marketing in the region has seen it taking over the 3,000-room Atlantis hotel at Paradise Island in The Bahamas under its Autograph Collection.

The collection allows Marriott International to offer management and franchise expertise, as well as its global sales and marketing channels to new owners and franchisees, says senior director for global corporate relations, Jeffrey Flaherty.

"Autograph Collection has also introduced Marriott International to a new customer - the individualist traveller who prefers an independent hotel experience," Flaherty said via email.

"Upon partnering with Autograph Collection, each hotel is awarded access to Marriott International's powerful global sales and marketing channels; including the award-winning Marriott Rewards guest loyalty programme, where guests can earn points at more than 3,700 hotels in 71 countries," says Marriott's fact sheet.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com