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[Exclusive data – 25 years of Hospitality ON] Marriott International: from family operation to number 1 worldwide

Over the last 25 years Hospitality ON has borne witness to the evolution of hotel groups. In celebration of this quarter century, we offer a look at their history through the data we have collected.

Today's largest hotel group in the world and a symbol of long-term commitment, Marriott International has been ranked among the top 3 hotels with the highest number of rooms 18 times in the last 20 years. 

Founded in 1927 by Alice Sheets Marriott and John Willard Marriott, the couple began by selling cold drinks. A chain of "Hot Shoppes" restaurants followed and in 1957 they opened their first hotel: the Twin Bridges Marriott Motor Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. Their son J.W. (Bill) Marriott took over until 2012 - the year he turned 80 - when he handed over the reins to the current CEO, Arne Sorenson.

From 1998 to 2018, Marriott International gained almost 1 million rooms to become the world leader. To revisit part of the American group's history, we have selected four key dates that have marked it over the past twenty years.

1999: The advent of Internet

Internet entered the strategy of hotel groups: every division was affected: buying, sales, recruitment, management… Marriott and Hyatt decided to launch a purchasing pool.

2005: Cendant acquired all of Ramada's rights and renewed 480,000 beds

Faced with a domestic market where its brands are already very present, Marriott is expanding beyond its borders: "We are adding hotels all over the world with establishments capable of increasing the value of our system," Laura Paugh, Senior VP of Investor Relations for the group, told HTR, "Europe is mainly a conversion market. The Middle East and Asia: new constructions. And in the United States, it's a combination of the two."

Another major task that year was the renewal of all the bedding in the establishments. "We decided to invest $40 million to do everything in one year. According to consumer surveys, customers are willing to pay more for their rooms. These new beds will contribute to the improvement of our RevPAR."

Finally, Cendant - then the second largest hotel group - acquired all the rights to the brand Ramada International previously co-owned with Marriott. 

2007: All eyes on Asia

Marriott's offer is growing thanks to the worldwide appeal of Courtyard and Residence Inn. The group continued to strengthen its positions in its local market with its mid-range brands, and is more than ever looking to Asia to develop its full service brands Marriott, JW and Ritz Cartlon.

Three years later, efforts are being made: in 2010, one-third of the 100,000 new rooms are located outside North America.

At the same time, Marriott has been working hard to renew the concept of lobbies at its properties.

2016: Merger with Starwood Hotels

The merger with Starwood Hotels - a $13 billion deal - makes Marriott International the first hotel group to exceed the million room mark. 200 million economies of scale must be found and owners must be educated to convince them of the merits of the operation, while some consider that competition is already distorted at certain destinations.

The merger represents several major challenges, such as the IT integration of the 6,000 hotels and loyalty programs that justified the merger in order to increase cross-marketing.

In 2018, the integration of Starwood's portfolio continues to progress with significant real estate and overhead cost synergies.

Finally, symbols of the appeal of the Middle Kingdom: China now represents 19% of the pipeline at the end of the year and the American group has set up a joint venture with the Alibaba platform to strengthen its distribution.

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