Marriott International—the world’s largest hotel chain by number of rooms—is stepping up hotel openings across the Asia Pacific to meet the robust post-pandemic travel demand.
The company—which manages 1,087 properties across the region, with 527 in China and the rest across the Asia Pacific—opened over 60 new hotels in the Asia Pacific region excluding Greater China, bringing its total to 560 with 130,000 rooms.
“Last year, growth in the Asia Pacific was on steroids,” Rajeev Menon, president for Asia Pacific ex-China at Marriott International, said at a media briefing this week. “We’ve pretty much broken every record.” While travel demand has recovered to pre-pandemic levels across India, Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asia, Menon said the recovery in China is taking longer due to the limited flights and economic headwinds in the country.
In 2023, Marriott signed a record of over 80 deals to open hotels with a total of 18,000 rooms across 13 destinations outside of China. This brings the U.S. hotel giant’s development pipeline in Asia Pacific ex-China to 320 hotels with over 69,000 rooms slated for completion in the next few years.
Travel demand across the region has been driven largely by domestic and intra-regional tourism, prompting Marriott to open hotels in new destinations even in second-tier cities across India, Indonesia, Japan and Thailand. Average room rates in the region climbed about 20% in the third quarter of 2023 compared to the previous year, according to Marriott. Menon expects the positive momentum to continue as China’s recent move to sign visa-free travel agreements with Singapore and Thailand is expected to boost inbound and outbound travel to and from the mainland.
“As people’s wealth grows, we’re seeing double-digit growth for luxury hotels,” Menon said. About 25% of Marriott’s global pipeline of luxury hotel rooms are in the Asia Pacific ex-China. Last year, it opened a record number of nine luxury hotels across the region including the W Hotel in Sydney and Ritz Carlton in Melbourne, the Edition hotel in Singapore and JW Marriott in Goa in southwestern India.
Globally, Marriott manages almost 8,800 properties with a total of about 1.6 million rooms in 139 countries and territories.