Marriott plans aggressive expansion in India

American hotel chain Marriott International, which operates a dozen luxury properties in India, plans an aggressive expansion this year, besides entering the mid-market segment.

Marriott plans to open six new hotels, with 1,500 rooms, taking the total number of rooms in India to 5,000.

According to Rajeev Menon, area vice-president, Marriott International, the chain plans to open new properties in Chandigarh, Jaipur, Pune, Bangalore, Bhopal and Chennai by the end of 2011.

These include hotels under its JW Marriott, Marriott and Courtyard brands. The hotels would be under management contract with different asset owners. ''As one of the fastest growing international brands, we will be in the top league with 18 operational hotels across upscale, upper upscale and luxury brands in India,'' said Menon.

The group also plans to launch its Fairfield Inn and Suites brand in the mid-market segment in India, in a joint venture with Samhi Hotels Pvt Ltd, a hotel investment fund. According to The Wall Street Journal, Marriott will for the first time invest its own money in the project. It usually manages hotels and does not own the properties.

Navjit Ahluwalia, senior vice-president of development for India, told the paper that Marriott will hold a 30-per cent stake in the venture, reducing it to 10 per cent gradually. The new venture will operate about 15 Fairfield Inn hotels by 2015.