Marriott Adds 5 Million Bonvoy Members in First 3 Months of 2019
Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest had a combined 110 million members before the programs were integrated in the second half of 2018. Now, the new Marriott Bonvoy program counts 130,000,000 among its ranks, as it grows alongside competitor programs, such as Hilton Honors, which added 14 million new members in 2018.
"We continue to build our company for the future," Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson stated in a press release. "In the first quarter, we opened our 7,000th property, the 27-story St. Regis Hong Kong. Year-over-year gross room openings accelerated to nearly 19,000 rooms, a first quarter record. Our development pipeline totaled approximately 475,000 rooms at quarter-end, nearly 3 percent higher than a year ago. Marriott Bonvoy membership rose by 5 million to reach nearly 130 million members."
Sorenson also highlights that the company "opened" nearly 19,000 rooms, but you'll need to dig a bit to see any mention of hotels that have left the chain following the merger, such as the W Beijing Chang’an and a handful of others. The addition Sorenson does call out, the St. Regis Hong Kong, is truly spectacular, though.
In total, Marriott added 114 new hotels around the world, with a total of 18,842 rooms, all in the first quarter of 2019 — that more than makes up for the 15 properties (2,693 rooms) that have left the chain. Over 40% of the these room additions were in international markets, despite the fact that just a third of the chain's worldwide inventory of rooms are outside of North America. Marriott also hit a notable milestone, with a total of 7,003 active hotels and timeshare resorts by the end of the quarter, for a grand total of 1,333,000 rooms.
We can expect the chain to continue to grow over the next few years, as Marriott works to develop 2,853 new properties, which — when complete — will add another 475,000 rooms. By the end of 2019, the company expects to boost available rooms by roughly 5.5%, while properties leaving the portfolio could account for a 1% to 1.5% drop in inventory.
It's also worth noting year-over-year occupancy rate changes, as properties in North America saw a 0.8% drop in occupancy in Q1 compared to the first quarter of 2018, while international locations saw a 1.1% increase. This translated to an overall drop of 0.3% across the worldwide portfolio.
For comparison's sake, Marriott's closest competitor (Hilton) currently has a total of just over 923,000 rooms across its worldwide portfolio, roughly 70% the size of Marriott. Hilton added 12,100 rooms in the first quarter of 2019 and currently has 371,000 rooms in its development pipeline as of March 31, 2019, both of which are roughly equivalent to the rate at which Marriott is adding room inventory. However, Hilton did see its systemwide occupancy rates increase by 0.5% in Q1 compared to the same time period last year.
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