American hospitality major Marriott International is looking to explore more offbeat locations in India as it formally announced on Thursday the opening of Courtyard by Marriott Aravali in Faridabad, Haryana. The company is also planning to open a hotel in Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand, apart from starting a new project in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.
While Courtyard by Marriott is designed for the upscale tier, with its overall products and services geared towards business travellers, the new Courtyard by Marriott Aravali is the first resort property under the brand in India. This is also the 23rd Courtyard by Marriott property in the country and second in Delhi-NCR after Courtyard by Marriott Gurugram.
Marriott International now has 131 hotels and resorts under its umbrella in India, spanning 16 brands like St Regis Hotels & Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, W Hotels, The Luxury Collection, Westin, Marriott Hotels, Sheraton, Renaissance Hotels, Marriott Executive Apartments, Le Meridien, Aloft, Tribute Portfolio, Courtyard by Marriott, Four Points by Sheraton, and Fairfield by Marriott.
Talking to FE, Arun Kumar — market VP — North India, Nepal and Bhutan of Marriott International — said that Courtyard by Marriott Aravali will attract leisure customers who will drive from Delhi and nearby destinations as well as cater to wedding demand. The new property will also appeal to companies who do their offsite meetings and incentive trips, he added.
Globally, Marriott International has over 1,200 Courtyard hotels, with a major chunk concentrated in the USA. Kumar said that the brand recall of Courtyard by Marriott is very high and that ties into what the company is trying to do in India and get the customers who understand the brand to use the new resort.
Although the company did not disclose any timeline, it confirmed that a new JW Marriott hotel would open in Jim Corbett National Park. “That is something I am looking forward to. Such destinations are catching up. Wildlife tourism is also increasing,” Kumar said. Another property of the same brand will open in Ranthambore National Park by CY2025.
At present, Marriott International does not have any property in Himachal Pradesh. However, a new JW Marriott hotel will come up in the state’s capital, Shimla, by CY2025. Marriott International, by CY2025, will also have new properties under Marriott Marquis and St Regis brands in Delhi.
According to Kumar, the corporate bookings, at different hotels of Marriott International in the regions, he is heading, have reached 60% of the CY2019 levels.
As inbound tourism has still not touched the pre-Covid levels, the domestic market continues to drive demand. “Now 88% of our business comes from local Indian travellers. It is going to get balanced off as international travel comes in,” Kumar added.