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Marriott reinforces its commitment to KSA

Marriott International has reinforced its commitment to Saudi Vision 2030 at the inaugural Saudi Arabia Hotel Investment Conference (SHIC) 2018. Saudi Arabia represents the company’s second largest market in the Middle East with 23 operating hotels. Marriott International continues to nurture a robust pipeline with number of hotels set to more than double in the Kingdom.

Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International said: “The renewed focus and investment in the sector opens up a wealth of opportunity for Saudi nationals. Following a successful 40 years in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we remain committed to our continued support towards growth of the tourism sector. Our Saudi Arabia growth plan along with the implementation of our programs that aim to foster local talent underpins this collaborative approach.”

Marriott International recently rolled out its ‘Tahseen’ program, a hospitality management development plan focused on fast-tracking the next generation of Saudi leaders. The students get full exposure to the business of running a hotel resulting in a managerial opportunity. Graduates experience six months of cross-exposure to all departments and six to 12 months of departmental specialization. The program is run in partnership with Cornell University and 32 participants were selected into the inaugural batch in September 2017.

Marriott International operates nine brands in Saudi Arabia including Aloft, Courtyard by Marriott, Four Points by Sheraton, Le Meridien, Marriott Executive Apartments, Marriott Hotels, Residence Inn, The Ritz-Carlton and Sheraton. The company will debut three new brands including Autograph Collection, Westin and Element while consolidating its existing portfolio of brands in the country.

Aloft Palm Jumeirah debuts in Dubai

Marriott International announced the opening of the design-led Aloft Palm Jumeirah. This is the first Aloft to open in Dubai.

The new property offers a lifestyle experience with its tech-forward approach, social experiences and modern style that is different by design. Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International said: “In the UAE alone, the brand will double its portfolio in the next three years with five new openings.”

Designed for the hyper-connected, ‘always on’ global travellers, Aloft Palm Jumeirah offers 206 guestrooms with high ceilings and views over the Arabian Gulf.

The additional features include six dining and social spaces, which include East & Seaboard Restaurant – the hotel’s all day dining venue, Afterdeck Lounge for its lounge beats over beverages and snacks and the Aloft brand’s signature W XYZSM Bar and Re:mix Lounge. The Re:fuelSM by Aloft is the brand’s signature 24/7 grab and go venue which offers light meals, mix-and-match munchies, healthy bites, beverages and more.

The hotel will also launch a unique Mexican-themed cantina and cocktail lounge, Luchador, which will host live events on its expansive rooftop. There is also the 24-hour Re:charge fitness center and Splash pool – an infinity pool and the Camp Aloft which is a bed-in-a-bag and special treats for kids.

Marriott International boosts Africa expansion

Marriott International has announced further expansion plans in Africa with seven new hotel signings. Marriott was the first global chain to make a significant investment in Africa with the acquisition of Protea Hotels for US$210 million in 2014.

The company is targeting over 200 hotels with 37,000 rooms open or in the pipeline by 2022, equating to around US$8.5 billion of capital investment by its real estate partners. The investment is expected to generate substantial economic activity and around 50,000 direct and indirect jobs once the hotels open.

“Africa today makes a very compelling story. We are seeing unprecedented traction for our brands, driving our momentum of growth,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “We have always believed in the potential of Africa and the opportunities the continent has to offer. With economic growth, a rising middle class and rapid urbanization, the demand for travel and high-quality lodging is growing, providing us with a significant opportunity to enhance our footprint and play our part in supporting many emerging markets across the continent,” he added.

Today Marriott International hotels are present in 20 African countries: Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia. The company is expected to foray into new markets including Benin, Botswana, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, and Senegal and has signed 1300 new rooms marking the debut of Marriott International into Côte D’Ivoire while strengthening its presence in existing markets including Ethiopia, Ghana and Nigeria.

The company debuted the Four Points brand in Tanzania last week with the opening of Four Points by Sheraton Arusha, The Arusha Hotel and is now gearing up to open the Four Points by Sheraton Dar es Salam, New Africa Hotel. Earlier this year, the brand debuted in Kenya with the opening of Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Hurlingham and is now expected to open its second hotel in Kenya, Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Airport in the next couple of weeks.

Today, Marriott International has a strong footprint across the continent operating 140 hotels with close to 24,000 rooms across 12 brands.

Marriott International’s MEA Sales & Marketing Team

Marriott International has strengthened its sales and marketing leadership team for Middle East and Africa.

Paul Dalgleish – vice president of sales and distribution

He will be responsible for property, market and area sales organisations as well as the global sales organisation, while leading the Middle East and Africa Distribution Strategy. Previously, vice president of sales for Marriott International, Paul has played a key role in the rapid expansion of the Middle East and Africa Region, deploying new and innovative sales strategies, while ensuring talent development lives as a discipline priority.

Sarah Allen – vice president of revenue strategy and analysis

She will be responsible for property, market and area revenue management, remote revenue management solutions and revenue management analysis. Formerly, vice president of revenue management, Marriott International Middle East and Africa, Sarah is a Marriott International veteran and has played a key role in moving hotels onto Marriott’s Revenue Management platforms implementing processes as well as setting up shared services across markets to drive synergies. She was also the business leader for the integration of Protea Hotels which was acquired by Marriott International in 2014.

Jitendra Jain – vice president of digital, loyalty and portfolio marketing

He will be responsible for the company’s loyalty programmes, partnerships, cross-brand marketing of Marriott International’s regional portfolio and will lead all digital marketing, platforms and products. Jain previously led the marketing function for the former Starwood portfolio in the Middle East, where he spearheaded transformation of marketing processes, talent and culture, cultivating a data-driven and forward-looking mindset leveraging digital, brands and loyalty.

Sandra Schulze-Potgieter – vice president of premium and select brands

She will be responsible for brand marketing and management for Marriott International’s portfolio of Premium and Select Brands and will oversee restaurants and bars marketing as well as area field marketing. Sandra was previously senior director, brand marketing and eCommerce for Marriott International Middle East and Africa managing field marketing, brand marketing, public relations, partnerships, social media, digital as well as loyalty. She was instrumental in positioning Marriott International’s lead in brand marketing in the region.

Sarah Walker Kerr – Vice President of Communications Middle East and Africa

She will be responsible for devising and implementing overall Communications Strategy for Marriott International in the region, driving visibility, enhancing perception of the company and its brands and increasing its share of voice. She will provide strategic counsel to senior executive leadership team, managing Internal and External Communications, Crisis Communications and Reputation Management as well as Brand Communications.

Raheel Baggia – Senior Director, BMSC Planning and Services

He will be responsible for Integration and Change Management, Program Execution, and Training. Prior to this Raheel served as Director, BMSC Consulting-Middle East and Africa. Since joining Marriott in 2013, Raheel has been working on strategic continent projects both in his previous role supporting BMSC-Middle East and Africa as well as in Europe where he was part of the Global Operations team.