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Marriott’s 3 Massive Challenges and the CEO’s Case for Optimism



Marriott CEO and president Anthony Capuano faces a pivotal level within the progress trajectory on the world’s largest lodge group.

He’s specializing in filling out the map worldwide with numerous sorts of properties in order that Marriott at all times has a property to supply its most loyal visitors for each kind of journey. The CEO is betting particularly on the luxurious lodge class as a result of he believes it’s going to generate fats charges that would compensate for the corporate’s enlargement into lower-margin mid-tier manufacturers.

Marriott has additionally launched a multi-year know-how revamp that ought to assist its employees change into extra environment friendly and encourage extra visitors to purchase extra companies.


“I can’t see the tip of the runway for progress,” Capuano instructed Skift Monday throughout an interview on the Americas Lodging Funding Summit (ALIS) in Los Angeles.

Nonetheless, the challenges are actual – right here’s how Capuano stated he’s dealing with them.

Will Future Improvement Hit Revenue Margins?

The problem: Marriott has greater than doubled its room rely over a decade. It’s gone from managing 675,000 rooms on the finish of 2013 to 1.59 million on the finish of final 12 months. Can it sustain the tempo?


Some skeptics say Marriott has put accommodations in all the important thing cities it could possibly by now — greedy the low-hanging fruit of prime areas. Future improvement could also be in third-tier markets producing third-tier margins.

Capuano’s optimism: “Some have requested us, ‘Aren’t you operating out of road corners right here at residence?’ The reply is a powerful no.”

Marriott stated on Monday it added 91,000 rooms within the U.S. and Canada final 12 months. Roughly a 3rd of that got here by a licensing cope with MGM Resorts.


Marriott had a 16% share of open lodge rooms within the U.S. and Canada as of September 30.

Outdoors the U.S. and Canada, Marriott added 73,000 rooms final 12 months. It solely has 4% market share exterior of North America.

Capuano’s re-tooling: The CEO has ensured the corporate has sufficient improvement employees devoted to the markets with essentially the most alternative to scale shortly.


Displays A and B are China and the Center East. Many house owners in these markets are accustomed to hiring third events to handle properties on their behalf and alternatives for scale due to uniform languages, legal guidelines, and strategies of doing enterprise.

“You’ve acquired some markets the place you have got this glorious mixture of lengthy runways for progress and a a lot increased depth proprietor need than within the U.S. for administration contracts,” Capuano stated.

So Capuano is concentrating forces in these markets. He’s additionally emphasizing Europe, which stays in excessive demand from vacationers and the place administration contracts are additionally frequent.


Will Mid-Tier Manufacturers Put Stress on Charges?

The problem: Certainly one of Marriott’s most profitable enterprise strains is charging homeowners charges for managing accommodations on their behalf. But as Marriott provides mid-tier manufacturers, its common charges will drop — and the administration charges it generates will drop in absolute {dollars}.

Traders have a tendency to offer a premium valuation to lodge firms that generate the best common income per accessible room. 4 Seasons was purchased out in a deal at an estimated 40 instances earnings, whereas Wyndham, which expenses a lot decrease common room charges, fetched round 12 instances earnings when Alternative provided to purchase it final 12 months.

The lodge large has been including manufacturers which can be exterior its conventional upscale focus. Prior to now 12 months, Marriott launched the StudioRes model for extended-stay visitors — which will probably be a bit cheaper per night time than its TownePlace Suites and Residence Inn manufacturers for long-stay visitors.


Within the U.S. choose service prolonged keep space, complete administration charges are usually between 12% and 14%. Marriott’s administration charge for StudioRes is actually 9% as a solution to woo homeowners and make it simpler for homeowners to get banks prepared to underwrite loans for development.

Capuano’s optimism: Marriott isn’t giving up its curiosity in high-margin luxurious and life-style properties. The posh progress will probably be a method the corporate compensates for any attrition in charges due to the push into mid-tier accommodations, in line with the CEO.

“Among the many areas the place I believe we have now essentially the most alternative to drive significant progress in administration charges, each base and incentive, is in our industry-leading luxurious portfolio,” Capuano stated.


It has 623 luxurious accommodations open, greater than some other main lodge group — with 245 within the pipeline.

“You can characterize a few of Marriott’s most intense focus areas as wanting like a barbell,” Capuano stated. “At one finish of the barbell, you’ve acquired our multi-continent entry into midscale. On the different finish of the barbell, you’ve acquired us leaning in actually arduous to elongate our {industry} lead in luxurious.”

Capuano’s re-tooling: Since changing into CEO in 2021, Capuano reorganized his senior management workforce and created a worldwide president of luxurious place — a job crammed by Tina Edmundson.


“The phrase that I exploit is that ‘The best way you outperform opponents is to concentrate on fluency in all issues luxurious,’” Capuano stated. “I consider the way in which you do that’s with devoted luxurious assets. We now have stood up devoted working assets for luxurious in each one of many continents we function.”

One precedence is bettering the eating places and bars on the firm’s luxurious accommodations.

“Increasingly more of our visitors are making their reserving choices primarily based on the meals and beverage fame of the lodge,” Capuano stated.


When opening an Version lodge in Tampa, for instance, Marriott employed Chef John Fraser who earned a Michelin star for the restaurant in its first 12 months.

“The celebrated chef José Andrés runs all of the meals and beverage shops at our Ritz-Carlton in New York, and that lodge might be producing the best meals and beverage quantity at any Ritz-Carlton on this planet,” Capuano stated.

Can Marriott Replace Its Tech Shortly Sufficient?

The problem: Know-how has modified quicker than Marriott’s software program has. Friends and workers might get annoyed and select different lodge teams with a savvier strategy.


Capuano’s optimism: The CEO stated the corporate has launched a know-how transformation that may begin rolling out “inside a few years.”

On the entrance desk, workers can have a single, intuitive-to-learn system for checking in visitors, not like the array of clunky programs they presently use.

The corporate will revamp its web site and app to make it simpler to comparison-shop for accommodations by their distinctive attributes and can allow extra cross-selling of spa companies and different upsells.


Customer support brokers answering telephones will use generative synthetic intelligence to have the ability to parse sophisticated questions like “I need to keep at a seaside resort in a three-bedroom suite and have a Japanese and an Italian restaurant and never be greater than half-hour from the airport and that enables pets and is near a seaside with good browsing.”

Marriott will proceed to maintain its lodge listings separate from its listings for trip leases as a result of it says the merchandise are totally different.

Capuano’s re-tooling. “For our next-gen visitors and our next-gen associates, intuitive, high-quality know-how is second nature to them, and we’ve acquired to match consumer-grade merchandise.”


Marriott is within the technique of adopting a foundational cloud-based system from Amadeus, the Agilysys property administration system within the U.S. and Oracle’s cloud-based Opera system abroad.

On the board degree, the corporate now has a technology-focused committee, which seeks position fashions in retailers who’re higher expert at upselling and cross-selling clients on-line.

“The re-platforming of our reservations system, our property administration programs, and our loyalty program is an enormous venture, nevertheless it’s not like we’re going to complete it and say we’re performed and don’t have to consider know-how for one more 30 years,” Capuano stated. “That is the beginning of a gentle and constant cadence of know-how funding, which can not have been the case on the firm earlier than.”


Lodging Sector Inventory Index Efficiency Yr-to-Date

What am I ? The efficiency of accommodations and short-term rental sector shares inside the ST200. The index contains firms publicly traded throughout international markets, together with worldwide and regional lodge manufacturers, lodge REITs, lodge administration firms, various lodging, and timeshares.

The Skift Journey 200 (ST200) combines the monetary efficiency of almost 200 journey firms value greater than a trillion {dollars} right into a single quantity. See extra accommodations and short-term rental monetary sector efficiency.


Learn the total methodology behind the Skift Journey 200.

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