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Marriott builds stronger ties with PH

By: - Reporter / @amyremoINQ
/ 05:14 AM May 12, 2018

Courtyard is the first international hotel brand in Iloilo.

Iloilo City—The much awaited opening of the Courtyard by Marriott Iloilo last Wednesday was really more a preview of what the world renowned hotel brand has in store for the Philippines.

Nine years after Marriott Manila started operations at the Resorts World Complex in Pasay, the group kicked off an aggressive expansion plan in the country starting with the opening of the 326-room Courtyard Iloilo in the Mandurriao district, reportedly the first international hotel brand in the province.

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It is indeed a signal of strong business confidence in the Philippines as Marriott is poised to launch more hotels and several other brands under its portfolio including the swanky Ritz Carlton over the next several years. The third Marriott branded hotel, which will have 250 rooms, will already open in Clark, Pampanga later this year, to be followed by the 393-room Sheraton, which is also located within the Resorts World Manila complex.

Peter Foreman, company senior director for sales and and distribution, luxury brands Asia Pacific, Bulgari Hotels & Resorts Asia Pacific, said in an interview here that Marriott International’s development pipeline for the Philippines will in fact involve 10 hotels with over 2,600 rooms.

“We’re at a time now when the economy of the Philippines is doing well. We have a lot of new interesting hotels and we have investors willing to invest and build… We’ve got some of our SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) brands like Sheraton now coming in. I think the time is now for the Philippines. We’ve got 10 hotels under development and so it’s going to be an exciting next couple of years,” Foreman explained. “What we want to do is be able to represent the entire portfolio.”

Foreman was among the senior officials who graced the opening of Courtyard by Marriott Iloilo, the first international hotel brand in the province, which offers business travelers, the locals, as well as tourists a unique brand of intuitive services and design.

Also present at the opening were Victor Clavell, area vice president for Asia Pacific of The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company; Marriott Manila cluster general manager Bruce Winton, Courtyard Iloilo general manager Cleofe Albiso, Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III, Megaworld senior vice president Kevin Tan and Travellers International Hotel Group president Kingson Sian.

Winton noted that while Marriott is admittedly underrepresented in the Philippines, they are highly optimistic of their prospects here, and hence the reason why this international hotel brand is keen on expanding its footprint. The target, he added, was to look into how Marriott can further develop their brands in the country.

“Our president (at Marriott) said about four years ago… (that) we need more representation here in the Philippines. We saw a lot of potential here with the (growing) middle class, rising incomes, and increasing foreign direct investments over the last decade. So there’s a demand and we needed to make sure that the supply kept up with the demand… (The expansion) we are seeing now is the result of the last three to four years of hard work,” Winton explained.

Winton said they are expecting to have at least seven brands under the Marriott group to have a strong presence in the Philippines, each carrying its distinct trademark, along with a unique proposition to the local market.

For instance, the Sheraton Hotel that is set to open at the Resorts World Manila this year will have a couple of firsts for the brand, according to Winton, as it will feature a design forward meeting space called Idea Lab. This will be a combination of a co-working space and meeting space with a 14-meter floor-to-ceiling glass overlooking the airport.

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Winton added that the different Marriott hotel brands will be spread across key strategic areas including in Mactan in Cebu, Caticlan, Ortigas and Pasay, among others.

“The Sheraton Resort in Mactan is opening next year, which should coincide with the expected increase in tourist arrivals in Cebu and so we’ll be ready for them. We also have a couple of projects in Caticlan and Ortigas, and we expect to open Ritz Carlton Manila by the first quarter of 2020,” he further disclosed.

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