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‘After a year of integration, we will look for consolidation in 2018’

Monday, January 22, 2018, 14:48 Hrs  [IST]

Marriott International recently hosted its first ever South Asia Market Place in Mumbai and Delhi showcasing over 50 properties to its potential buyers with a key aim to grow their market share and introduce to the buyers the new properties added to the Marriott International portfolio after the official merger between Marriott International and Starwood Hotels and Resorts last year. Hema Hariramani, Director National Sales - India, Marriott International while interacting with Anurag Tiwari talked about the performance of South Asia market for Marriott International.

Q Which are the top performing markets for Marriott International in South Asia region?
After the completion of merger between Marriott and Starwood last year, our tally of hotels in South Asia has increased considerably. At present we have 99 hotels across South Asia in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal and more to be added in the near future. Mumbai and New Delhi have been the best performing markets for us in South Asia. JW Marriott Mussoorie, W Goa and our Bengaluru properties are also among the best performing properties. All these markets have recorded double digit growth in terms of RevPAR. For us, 2017 was a year of integration. We will work towards consolidation in the New Year. Our target would be a double-digit growth in RevPAR across all markets in South Asia for next year.

Q Which are the best performing markets in terms of MICE and Leisure in South Asia for Marriott?
With the recent integration, a lot of well performing hotel properties have been added to our group which has boosted our already strong hotel network for MICE. Our properties in metro cities like Delhi and Mumbai like JW Marriott Aerocity, JW Marriott Sahar and Renaissance Mumbai have been best performing in terms of MICE. JW Marriott Hyderabad, Le Meridian Kochi and few other hotel properties in Tier-II and -III cities have also been outperforming in MICE and corporate segment for us. JW Marriott Juhu, JW Marriott Jaipur, Courtyard by Marriott Agra and JW Marriott Jaisalmer have been attracting a lot of inbound leisure travellers. Jet Airways has started a direct flight to Mussoorie from Mumbai after opening of our property in the city. Same way now Jodhpur also has quite a few direct flights to Mumbai and Delhi. For the overall growth of tourism every sector included in it should work hand-in-hand, be it airlines industry or be it hospitality industry and we are glad that few airlines have stepped up just like us and cashed the potential these comparatively smaller markets have shown.

Q How much do inbound tourists contribute to Marriott’s South Asia market?
If we look at inbound visitors segmentation at our properties then our North Indian hotels see 60 to 65% of foreign arrivals while our West Indian properties specially Mumbai, Goa and Mahabaleshwar witness around 50% of foreign guests. Though inbound tourists contribute in majority for us but we don’t rely completely on them. For us domestic guests are equally important. The spending power of Indians is now increasing day-by-day specially among the middle class.

Q Hotels depend on selling rooms to generate revenue. This statement now stands outdated as many hotel giants now focus on ancillary products like banquets, catering, etc., too for generating revenue. Does this stand true with Marriott also?
Rooms have more share compared to catering and banquet space for us. We record room occupancy 75 to 80% at an average whereas banquet’s occupancy range between 65 to 70%. I think these two aspects of generating revenue for a hotel can go hand in hand specially if you have big group of guests staying with you specially during a wedding or for any corporate and social events. Guests today look for a property which is all inclusive and Marriott is no left behind in catering to both aspects equally. We will be increasing our marketing efforts to host more and more weddings at our properties. We have set a target for every hotel to achieve at least 10% growth in weddings segment for 2018.

Q How do you portray India as a MICE destination?
Majority hotels across the country get more than 95% of its MICE guests from within India. In recent years we have seen quite a few International conferences and other world level events happening in India but primarily people across the world have a mind block for our country as a MICE destination. We have very few convention halls in the country that are capable of hosting international level events. India needs to raise its infrastructure level in terms of convention halls, exhibition spaces, conference halls, etc., to be at par with other countries in its vicinity that hosts majority of world’s popular corporate and other related events.

Q How much growth do you target in terms of sales and revenue for the next financial year?
With the integration our target would be nothing below a double-digit growth for revenue generation. We would at least target 14% growth in national sales across India.

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