Marriott to add 1,000 hotels

Company's goal is 175,000 more rooms worldwide by 2003


November 17, 1999|By Amanda J. Crawford | Amanda J. Crawford,SUN STAFF

Marriott International Inc. announced plans yesterday to add 1,000 new hotels and 175,000 rooms worldwide by 2003.

The Bethesda-based hotel conglomerate revised its target numbers for the period because it already has 400 hotels under development to be flagged under one of the company's 14 brand names.

"We expect to manage or franchise a hotel in every gateway city in the world and in 70 countries within the next five years," said J. W. Marriott Jr., chairman and chief executive officer.

Marriott currently has 1,800 hotels in the United States and 56 other countries.

It manages and franchises hotels under brand names including Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, Residence Inn, Courtyard, TownPlace Suites, Fairfield Inn, SpringHill Suites and Ramada International.

In Baltimore, Marriott properties include the 622-room Renaissance Harborplace Hotel and the 525-room Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor. In addition, two hotels under construction at Inner Harbor East will fly Marriott flags: a 750-room Marriott and a 207-room Courtyard by Marriott.

The company said research by Lodging Econometrics shows that nearly one-fourth of all hotel rooms under construction in the United States are committed to Marriott brands.

The new goal is a 25,000-room increase over the previous company target for the five-year period from 1999 through 2003, said Marriott spokesman Tom Marder. Analysts say it is in line with expectations.

"They have a very strong pipeline of existing projects but are also comfortable to raise their forecast based on the strength of their brand and the willingness of developers to build properties for the Marriott brands," said David W. Anders, senior gaming and lodging analyst with Credit Suisse First Boston.

The company has 2 percent of the 14 million hotel rooms available worldwide, and 25 percent of the new rooms will be outside the Unites States, Marder said. He said the company would be looking to expand overseas through new hotels and conversions of existing hotels to Marriott brands.

"The Marriott Hotels and resort brand is pretty saturated in the U.S. but not anywhere outside the U.S.," said Denise Wilder Walker, vice president and senior industry analyst with Merrill Lynch & Co. "There is a lot of upside potential in the international arena."

Shares of Marriott closed yesterday at $35.5625, down 18.75 cents.

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