Inside Our Hotel Development Committee
Last week, we had our quarterly hotel development committee meeting. Our senior development officers come from around the world to discuss the various projects they’re working on. It is really exciting for me, as it gives me a chance to look back at where we have come from and where we’re going.
I remember our first hotel outside the U.S. in Acapulco, Mexico, in 1967. At our latest meeting, we discussed progress on a half-dozen new hotels in Mexico, including hotels under the Courtyard, Autograph and Renaissance brands. Some of these hotels are in our stated pipeline, others are new and we’re beginning to work on them.
In the mid 1980’s, I felt we should put our toe in the water in Asia. I was especially excited about locating in Hong Kong. Together with a local partner, we bought a piece of land and built the Hong Kong Marriott on our own balance sheet, and opened the hotel in 1989. It has been a terrific success.
At our recent meeting, we reviewed our Asian development pipeline, which includes hotels that we’re working on and not yet been included in our overall pipeline. I counted 23 projects in China that we were working on, 11 in India and 34 in the rest of Asia. There were several hotels in Asian countries where we have never planted our flags before like Bangladesh, the Maldives, Kathmandu in Nepal, Taiwan, and the growth continues in many other new countries around the world like Bolivia, Bonaire and Asuncion, Paraguay.
Our development pipeline in the Middle East also involves many new projects in many new and exciting destinations like Nairobi, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, the Seychelles, Sierra Leone in Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.
We are working on projects in new destinations in Europe also, and they include Belarus, Bosnia, Macedonia and Kiev.
I keep my world atlas handy so I can keep up with the locations of all these new countries and destinations. We’re developing a lot here at home also, and have a terrific development team working deals around the world. Of course, some projects may never be completed, but we are proud of our ability to complete many of these projects.
It’s very exciting to watch all this. We’ve come a long way from Acapulco. But, oh, there are so many more places to go.
I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.