Home' Hotel Management : HM February 2018 Contents F
ollowing a year of change, 2018 promises to be one of growth. Asia Pacific
is booming, creating a unique opportunity for our industry and the local
communities in which we operate.
Over the next year, the region is expected to maintain its position as the
world’s fastest growing, with China and India leading the charge. Understanding
and accommodating this burgeoning, yet diverse, middle class is the most important
challenge for our industry. In China alone, the middle class includes over 100 million
people and across ASEAN over 67 million households are able to afford discretionary
travel, according to the WTTC. At Marriott International, we’re working to meet this
rising demand by accelerating our expansion across the region: In 2018 we expect to open
80 new hotels in 16 different markets. By 2020, we expect to operate 1,000 hotels across
the region, nearly doubling our current portfolio of 620 properties.
As travel becomes more ordinary, guests will increasingly expect the extraordinary,
irrespective of their budget. Global luxurians will continue to demand authentic
and engaging experiences, challenging our industry to further elevate this category.
At Marriott International, we’re responding to this trend by opening 11 new
luxury properties across the region while our premium brands, such as Sheraton,
Le Meridien and Marriott, will open in daring new destinations such as Auckland,
New Zealand, Hobart, Tasmania and Siem Reap, Cambodia. To accommodate those
travellers who seek to experience quality international brands at affordable prices,
we’ ll continue to expand our select brand portfolio, including classic brands like
Courtyard, Fairfield and Four Points as well as distinctive brands such as Aloft, Moxy,
Element and AC Hotels, in key markets like Greater China, India and Indonesia.
Given the rise of the middle class, it’s no surprise that this portfolio is set to be our
fastest growing tier of brands in 2018.
Corporate travel will also continue to drive spend across the region: by 2025, it is
expected to account for half the world’s total, according to Amadeus. As someone who
travels frequently, I know firsthand that our guests expect us to deliver ever smoother
trips and events. This past year, our Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) programme was
recognized as the region’s best at the Business Traveller Asia Pacific Awards and we’re set
to unveil even more rewards and technology-enabled convenience.
But we cannot become complacent – relentless innovation will remain critical to
our industry ’s growth in 2018 and beyond. I’m often asked how traditional hospitality
companies, like Marriott International, are responding to disruptors like Airbnb.
The truth is that we offer a fundamentally different guest experience. Hotels create
With great growth comes great opportunity for our industry and local communities
President and Managing Director - Asia Pacific
communities that can’t be replicated and I’m excited to see
how our industry continues to innovate both traditional
and digital hospitality services. At Marriott International,
for example, we’re building on our new partnership with
Alibaba’s Fliggy to offer Chinese travellers an even more
personalized and convenient travel experience. We’re also
working to integrate our Marriott Rewards and SPG
programmes so all our 100 million global guests can
access one unparalleled world of rewards and incentives.
Despite this race for apps and amenities, our industry
will continue to be grounded in the people and places
that underpin our growth. As we expand our footprint
across Asia Pacific, we all have a great opportunity and
responsibility to ensure that our local communities share
in our success. At Marriott International, we just recently
launched our a new global platform, Serve 360, that seeks
to address some of the world’s most pressing issues of our
time – environmental sustainability, youth unemployment,
human trafficking and additional human rights
challenges. Having started my own hospitality career by
folding towels, I’m living proof of the opportunities our
industry creates for ambitious young people.
But we alone cannot address the region’s important
issues. This year, we must continue to work together and
with our partners in business and government to ensure
Asia Pacific’s workforce and infrastructure develop apace
of the tourism industry. In many cases, tourism is growing
faster than the economy as a whole. If we cannot upskill
local talent and upgrade local infrastructure together, then
none of us will reach our growth potential.
I have great optimism for the opportunities ahead.
Asia Pacific offers growing economies, an ambitious new
class of travellers and freshly charted destinations. As our
industry grows, so should our local communities in 2018
32 HM The Business of Accommodation
Asia Pacific Leaders
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