Hotel conversions continue to have real momentum in the Caribbean and Latin America (CALA) region and in recent years have become an important growth driver for Marriott International. Hoteliers and investors are leveraging the efficiencies and advantages of renovating and rebranding existing properties, further expanding the breadth of Marriott’s portfolio, consisting of 31 global brands.
According to data from Lodging Econometrics, the pipeline of brand conversions in Latin America jumped by 22 percent on the first quarter of 2023 compared to the first quarter of 2022, totaling 67 projects and 9,464 rooms. Marriott’s data parallels global trends, with a first quarter of healthy conversion activity, accounting for 29 percent of rooms signed and 25 percent of rooms opened by the company globally.
Marriott International has been boosting its organic growth with increased conversion activity. The company added nearly 17,500 conversion rooms in 2022 and signed 20,500 rooms, approximately 20 percent of rooms signed globally last year, and has continued to see strong momentum in the space thanks to its broad array of conversion-friendly brands across different segments, including The Luxury Collection, Autograph Collection Hotels, Tribute Portfolio, Delta Hotels, and Four Points by Sheraton.
In the Caribbean and Latin America, more than 50 percent of Marriott’s rooms signings were conversions in 2022. As of the first quarter of the year, the region had more than 3,000 conversion rooms in the pipeline – building on the success of the company’s strategy.
“Hotel owners, investors and developers are drawn to Marriott International’s brand conversion opportunities for an array of reasons. For independent hoteliers, adding an existing property to our portfolio provides access to our well-established loyalty, distribution, and marketing platforms, access to our global sales organization, and direct bookings at our low customer acquisition cost,” said Walter Regidor, Vice President, Development for Marriott International in CALA. “Owners also have the opportunity to see potential cost savings connecting to the Marriott ecosystem, including our digital and innovation programs, which can aid in improving the visibility of a property and positioning the property for potentially higher occupancy.”
Joining Marriott International also allows hotel owners to tap into Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott’s award-winning travel program and marketplace, with 182 million members worldwide. Marriott Bonvoy members can earn and redeem points when staying at the converted property, an added incentive to book and stay.
Examples of recent Marriott conversions in CALA include the JW Marriott Hotel São Paulo, which welcomed its first guests in May 2022 as Marriott’s first luxury property in Brazil’s largest metropolis. Designed by U.S.-based HKS, Inc., the 258-room hotel is inspired by Brazilian architecture and features an art-filled lobby and modern, wellness-focused accommodations.
Another recent highlight in the CALA region is The Westin Porto de Galinhas, an All-Inclusive Resort in Brazil, an oceanfront resort that opened its doors last December after undergoing an extensive renovation. The conversion effort—in collaboration with PGA Hotel Management Group—brought the prestigious Westin brand and Marriott’s first All-Inclusive resort to Brazil, one of the fastest growing emerging markets for Marriott in the Caribbean and Latin America.
The Dominican Republic is home to a similar project, the Sanctuary Cap Cana, a Luxury Collection Adult All-Inclusive Resort, Dominican Republic, which rebranded in September 2022. Marriott collaborated with hotel developer Playa Hotels & Resorts to renovate the property in 2019, creating the first All-Inclusive by Marriott property in the luxury segment and elevating Marriott’s offerings in the All-Inclusive market. This adults-only, 325-room resort offers an array of a la carte restaurants, bars, pools, and its own nightlife destination for an exceptional travel experience.
Conversions are seen as a win-win for the owner and the brand, aligning the brand’s expansion plans with the owner’s cost, timing and risk concerns. Owners and franchisees appreciate the flexibility of the many conversion brand options and the power of affiliating with Marriott’s global hospitality platform.