Marriott International’s chief development officer for Latin America and the Caribbean talks with Hotel News Now about the company’s launch into the all-inclusive hotel space with five properties in Latin America and how that will expand globally.
QUITO, Ecuador—Marriott International entered into the all-inclusive hotel space last month with the signing of five resorts representing more than 2,000 rooms in the Caribbean and Latin America, but Marriott’s platform is much bigger than these five hotels and bigger even than the Caribbean and Latin America.
Laurent de Kousemaeker, Marriott’s chief development officer for the Caribbean and Latin America, said the company had been studying the all-inclusive space “for a while, over a decade,” and based on several factors, decided now is “the right time to penetrate the market in a significant way.”
Though its first all-inclusive properties will be concentrated in one region, this is a “global launch” for Marriott that will leverage its existing brands, as well as its Bonvoy loyalty program, with 133 million members worldwide, he said.
“Bonvoy customers are asking for it; they’re asking for brands that are reliable in that space,” he said.
To distinguish itself from the competition, Marriott’s all-inclusive platform will focus exclusively on its upper-upscale and luxury tiers, with seven brands—Ritz-Carlton, Luxury Collection, Marriott Hotels, Westin Hotels, W Hotels, Autograph Collection and Delta by Marriott.
“Traditionally, the all-inclusive space has been seen as focused more on mass-market, midscale service, but over time, we’ve seen that sector improve in terms of quality,” de Kousemaeker said. “We also like the size it has today, with 430,000 rooms worldwide in the sector. That, for us, justifies investing in that space.”
The Caribbean and Latin America present a lot of opportunity for Marriott in the all-inclusive space, but the company is already fielding interest for its platform in other parts of the world, de Kousemaeker said.
“There’s a lot more going to come from this region. But what I’m hearing, and again it’s fairly recent, from my peers, is they’re getting a strong reaction in Middle East/Africa, so places like Egypt, Europe as well and in Asia, interestingly, the team is very interested in it. They believe there is a lot of demand for that product in the coming years,” he said.
“So it’s really going to be a global launch. And that’s what we wanted and why we waited this long as well. For us to justify putting the resources, building the infrastructure, investing in the systems and the like, it needs to really be something significant. We’re coming in strong.”
For more on Marriott’s all-inclusive platform, watch Hotel News Now’s video interview with Laurent de Kousemaeker at the South America Hotel Investment Conference: