Marriott to add 1,300 rooms in Singapore

The South Beach hotel in Beach Road will be rebranded as JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach in December.
The South Beach hotel in Beach Road will be rebranded as JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach in December.ST FILE PHOTO
The South Beach hotel in Beach Road will be rebranded as JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach in December.
Mr Rajeev Menon ST FILE PHOTO

Marriott International is bullish about its prospects in Singapore and plans to add more than 1,000 rooms to its local portfolio in the coming years.

It said it could create as many as 2,000 jobs in the next three to five years to support the expansion.

Marriott operates 11 hotels in Singapore, following the completion of its $13 billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide last Friday.

It is upbeat about the local hotel industry's outlook despite the large incoming supply of rooms in the market, executives said yesterday.

With the addition of Starwood's portfolio, Marriott now has 30 hotel brands globally under its umbrella, creating the world's largest chain with more than 5,700 hotels and 1.1 million rooms in over 110 countries.

GEARING UP

Intra-Asia travel is the biggest growth story in the next decade and for decades to come. You see that Singapore is getting ready with the (Changi Airport) Terminal 4, Terminal 5. That is going to bring considerable amount of travel and tourism into this market.

MR RAJEEV MENON, Marriott's chief operating officer for Asia-Pacific (excluding Greater China).

Their loyalty programmes - Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest - have a combined 85 million members. Members can link accounts to continue enjoying benefits.

Its stable of hotels in Singapore comprises the Marriott and Ritz- Carlton brands, as well as Starwood's Design Hotels, Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, Four Points, Le Meridien and St Regis.

"We have about 3,000 rooms operating between nine brands, we have another 1,300 rooms under construction as we speak that will be ready in the next couple of years," said Mr Rajeev Menon, chief operating officer for Asia-Pacific (excluding Greater China) at Marriott International Asia-Pacific.

In December, the South Beach hotel in Beach Road will be rebranded as JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach.

Upcoming brands include Edition, The Luxury Collection, Tribute Portfolio and a 250-room Courtyard by Marriott in Novena, which will open next year.

Mr Menon noted that another brand with good potential in Singapore is Moxy Hotels - boutique hotel for budget-conscious travellers - which will be launched in Bandung, Indonesia, later this year.

The group is confident demand will catch up despite concerns about the oversupply of rooms in Singapore, with some analysts expecting several thousand new rooms to hit the market by 2018.

The occupancy rate for its hotels here ranges from 80 to 85 per cent.

Mr Menon noted: "Intra-Asia travel is the biggest growth story in the next decade and for decades to come. You see that Singapore is getting ready with the (Changi Airport) Terminal 4, Terminal 5. That is going to bring considerable amount of travel and tourism into this market."

In addition, Singapore's ability to keep its offerings fresh will give the hotel industry a boost.

"It used to be a one-day destination, where people stop over to go to Malaysia or Thailand, but now they stay three to four days and that's because Singapore has actually reinvented itself," said Mr Stephen Ho, chief executive for Greater China at Marriott International Asia-Pacific.

The group employs about 3,800 staff in Singapore, and says it is hoping to add 2,000 jobs in the next three to five years as it expands its presence.

Upcoming plans include sourcing for bigger office space to house the employees from Marriott and Starwood, who are now based at different locations.

Marriott is also looking at building up its business in the Asia-Pacific, where it has a total of more than 500 hotels in operation across 20 brands.

"We have a lot of markets in the Asia-Pacific that are still under-developed and don't have enough hotel rooms and could use more, especially in China where the middle class continues to grow," Mr Craig Smith, president and managing director at Marriott International Asia-Pacific, said yesterday.

Apart from China, Marriott also sees further growth opportunities in Japan and India. It operates 79 hotels with 18,000 rooms in India, and has a further 100 hotels under construction.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2016, with the headline 'Marriott to add 1,300 rooms in Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe