Many years ago my favorite movie was Around the World in 80 Days. I just experienced around the world of Marriott in 8 hours by video conference.
I started my day with our president & CEO, Arne Sorenson, and our senior team with a call to Simon Cooper, who is president of Asian operations and who was talking to us from Hong Kong. I was pleased that the Asia team had signed up more than 800,000 Marriott Rewards members last year in their region.
At 9:30 a.m. we talked with Alex Kyriakidis, our new president of the Middle East and Africa. They are certainly challenged by the continued unrest in Egypt and Bahrain, but very encouraged by the continuous 90% occupancy in Dubai. They have a very robust expansion program in the Middle East and will open new hotels in Rwanda and Ghana – our first sub-Sahara African hotels.
At 11 a.m. we video conferenced Amy McPherson. She’s president of Europe and she was in London. The new acquisition of the 85 AC hotels in Spain and Italy is going very well and AC is beginning to sign up enthusiastic Marriott Rewards players. London is certainly very busy preparing for the Olympics this summer.
After lunch we met in our boardroom with The Ritz-Carlton president Herve Humler and his team. They continue to sign up many new Ritz-Carlton Hotels in China. The Ritz-Carlton had a great 2011 with very much improved margins and strong RevPar. (That’s revenue per available room, for those of you who don’t know.)
Finally at 3 p.m. we met with Dave Grissen, president of the Americas. 2012 will be a strong year for the Americas. All our brands will add several thousand rooms in North and South America in 2012. Yet competitive new supply is remaining low. Brazil is doing extremely well and we continue to receive thousands of Brazilians into our U.S. gateway cities, especially Miami and New York.
We have been transforming into a global company for many years now, but this was the first time that we had traveled around the world in one working day. What a great thrill it was.
Leave a comment and let me know how many countries you've visited in one day of travel.
I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.