NAIROBI, KENYA—Marriott International has revealed rapid expansion plans across Africa here from the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF).
Strong demand for select-service brands and conversion opportunities are driving the momentum of growth for the company, amplified by five new hotel signings. The new signings will further consolidate Marriott International’s presence in Ghana, Kenya, Morocco and South Africa, and mark the company’s entry into Mozambique. The signings put Marriott International on track to increase its portfolio by 50% with more than 200 hotels and 38,000 rooms by 2023 estimated to generate 12,000 new job opportunities.
The planned growth reinforces Marriott’s commitment to Africa and underscores the substantial emphasis that countries across Africa are placing on the travel and tourism sector, according to the company. It estimates that the five new projects signed will drive investment of more than $250 million by the property owners and will generate substantial economic activity.
“Marriott International’s acquisition of Protea Hotels followed by the acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has given an impetus to our organic growth on the continent,” said Alex Kyriakidis, president/managing director, Middle East and Africa for Marriott International. “Today we are seeing strong owner interest in our brands, backed by our combined loyalty program, the collective strength of our global platform and our highly-experienced, local teams. African economies have sustained unprecedented rates of growth, which have mainly been driven by a strong domestic demand, improved macroeconomic management and increased political stability. The continent is still under capacity as far as branded hotel supply is concerned, presenting us with a fantastic opportunity to grow our brands and enhance our footprint.”
Today, Marriott International is present in 21 countries on the African continent: Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia. The company is set to expand into new markets including Benin, Botswana, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Mozambique and Senegal.
Conversion Strategy Spurs Growth
Marriott International continues to see increased interest from owners looking to maximize the value of their assets quickly, with many conversion opportunities across Africa. “The increasing demand for conversion deals from new and existing partners is a strong reflection of Marriott International’s powerful network, loyal customer base and commitment to deliver value for owners,” said Kyriakidis. “We’ve developed a conversion-friendly strategy, which allows us to deliver value to our partners through a flexible, cost-efficient process that yields almost immediate results. That strategy gives our partners access to world-class reservation systems and our loyalty program.”
Recent conversions to the company’s brands include Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi, Hurlingham, Four Points by Sheraton Arusha, The Arusha Hotel, Tanzania and the Mena House, Cairo, which joined the Marriott Hotels and Resorts global brand portfolio earlier this year.
Amongst new conversion deals, Marriott International has signed the Marriott Marrakech Hotel in Morocco. With more than 360 rooms, the hotel is slated to be re-branded in 2020.
Select-Service brands in high demand
Marriott International has signed two new hotels under the Protea Hotels by Marriott brand including Protea Hotel by Marriott Accra Kotoka Airport, Ghana and Protea Hotel by Marriott Nairobi, Kenya.
Protea Hotel by Marriott Accra Kotoka Airportis planned to be a 200-room hotel located in the airport residential area of Accra offering a restaurant, a lobby bar and lounge, small conference and meeting facilities, an air crew lounge, a gym and a roof-top pool bar and lounge with uninterrupted views of the city.
Protea Hotel by Marriott Nairobiis expected to open in 2021. The 250-room hotel will include a restaurant, a bar, a fitness center, a pool and meeting space.
Earlier this year, Marriott International signed Protea Hotel by Marriott Pretoria Loftus Park South Africa, which is slated to open later this year.
The company also signed Four Points by Sheraton Nampula, Mozambique,which will be its first hotel in the country. The hotel, expected to open in 2023, is part of a mixed-use development comprising a shopping center, apartments, residential homes, a hospital, offices and the hotel. The 185-room property includes 100 hotel rooms and 85 extended stay units, food and beverage facilities, conferencing facilities, a fitness center and a pool.
Later this year, Marriott International will debut the AC by Marriott brand into Africa with the opening of the 188-room AC by Marriott Cape Town, Waterfront.
The company has also signed its second AC by Marriott hotel in Africa, AC by Marriott Umhlanga Ridge, Kwazulu Natal, Durban. The 205-room hotel, slated to open in 2023, will be a part of a mixed-use development comprising offices and high-end residential apartments and has views of the Indian Ocean.
The company expects to introduce some of its other select-service brands like Aloft Hotels, Element, Courtyard by Marriott and Residence Inn by Marriott with hotels already under development. It is also looking for opportunities to bring Fairfield by Marriott to the continent.
Speaking on the increased interest in mixed-use development projects, Kyriakidis said, “As cities evolve and grow into flourishing urban centers, we will continue to see a lot of activity in this space. An international hotel brand can bring cachet to a project that positions it significantly above its peers. Our portfolio of diverse brands lends itself to grow in all markets providing developers the flexibility and choice to identify the right brand for the right location. We believe this also provides an incredible opportunity to develop branded residences with our luxury brands such as The Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis and W Hotels and we are actively pursuing this. Today our brands account for nearly 60% of the global hospitality-branded residences market.
“Africa is a very compelling story for us. With our history on the continent, our footprint and strong pipeline, a diverse portfolio of brands and a robust management infrastructure, we believe that we enjoy the trust and the confidence of Africa’s hotel development community,” he added.
Marriott International is enjoying a strong year of new hotel openings in Africa, which includes its first hotel in Mali—Sheraton Bamako—as well as the first Marriott Hotel in Accra. The company also debuted the Protea Hotel by Marriott brand in North Africa with the opening of Protea Hotel by Marriott Constantine.