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JW Marriott eyes up Europe and China for expansion drive

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JW Marriott, the luxury arm of the Marriott International hotel chain, has revealed an ambitious plan to double its number of hotels and break into the European market.The company has already tripled the number of JW Marriott hotel and resort properties to 30 over the past three years.

The company has already tripled the number of JW Marriott hotel and resort properties to 30 over the past three years.

Paul Malcolm, JW Marriott’s regional vice-president of sales and marketing for the UK, Ireland, Middle East and Africa, said Marriott International aimed to have up to 65 JW Marriott hotels by 2008. It then planned to stabilise the brand.

One region the company is eyeing closely is Europe, where it is not currently represented. “Europe is an important market for us,” said Malcolm, who revealed the company had “looked closely” at destinations such as Moscow, Warsaw and Bucharest.

Although he refused to rule out the possibility of a hotel in London, Malcolm explained that development cost is a problem – for example, all JW Marriott hotel rooms have to be at least 50sq m.

Other important new areas are China, which Malcolm said had “huge potential” for the chain, and North Africa. JW Marriott is opening its first hotel on the Chinese mainland, in Shanghai, on 29 September.

Malcolm said the luxury hotel market – JW Marriott is pitched at the “mid-luxury” space between sister brands Ritz-Carlton and Marriott Hotels – is doing “surprisingly well”. “We’ve seen some very good growth and we haven’t seen a need to discount heavily to draw people in,” he said.

The company has already tripled the number of JW Marriott hotel and resort properties to 30 over the past three years.

Paul Malcolm, JW Marriott’s regional vice-president of sales and marketing for the UK, Ireland, Middle East and Africa, said Marriott International aimed to have up to 65 JW Marriott hotels by 2008. It then planned to stabilise the brand.

One region the company is eyeing closely is Europe, where it is not currently represented. “Europe is an important market for us,” said Malcolm, who revealed the company had “looked closely” at destinations such as Moscow, Warsaw and Bucharest.

Although he refused to rule out the possibility of a hotel in London, Malcolm explained that development cost is a problem – for example, all JW Marriott hotel rooms have to be at least 50sq m.

Other important new areas are China, which Malcolm said had “huge potential” for the chain, and North Africa. JW Marriott is opening its first hotel on the Chinese mainland, in Shanghai, on 29 September.

Malcolm said the luxury hotel market – JW Marriott is pitched at the “mid-luxury” space between sister brands Ritz-Carlton and Marriott Hotels – is doing “surprisingly well”. “We’ve seen some very good growth and we haven’t seen a need to discount heavily to draw people in,” he said.

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