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Marriott To Continue Rapid Expansion, Despite Geopolitical Headwinds

Hotel room, hotel industry

The world’s largest hotel company is looking to ramp up the pace of its brand expansion by adding those acquired during the Starwood Hotels & Resorts takeover to its arsenal, Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson said.

Sorenson said Marriott wants to keep up the same pace of growth it had set before the Starwood deal, which will result in a faster rollout for Starwood brands. As such, a new Marriott Group hotel is anticipated to open every 15 hours this year.

Prior to its merger, Marriott was already the world’s largest hotel operator with 19 brands under its belt. The hotelier now owns 30 brands, including Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott and Edition, and is not ruling out adding to its portfolio should the opportunity arise. 

The company is projecting 2017 to be a strong year, despite the geopolitical headwinds that may present challenges to the hospitality industry. While attending the International Hotel Investment Forum  in Berlin, Sorenson said hoteliers are concerned about “whether national policies around travel roll out in a way that is harmful to our business and economies,” Reuters reports. This is a timely concern considering President Donald Trump unveiled a revised travel ban Monday restricting travelers from six Muslim-dominant countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days; the new executive order also caps the annual admission of refugees to 50,000.