Marriott International (NASDAQ:MAR) is both responding to, and boosting the Middle East and Africa region’s growing extended-stay hospitality sector by opening two new Residence Inn properties in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
According to the hotel company, the openings are in response to increased demand, highlighted by a 13 per cent rise in year on year RevPAR rates within its own extended stay-portfolio, as well as increased demand from the region’s Gen Y demographic.
The openings are part of a robust pipeline of upcoming Residence Inn by Marriott, and Marriott Executive Apartments extended-stay properties within the region. By 2018 the company will see the opening of 12 hotels across the MEA, which together will add 1228 rooms to the extended stay sector. Within the Marriott Executive Apartments brand alone, six properties in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Gabon, and Ethiopia will open in the next couple of years, doubling the brand’s presence from the six current properties operating across four countries within the region.
Boosting the brand’s presence with immediate effect, the Residence Inn by Marriott Kuwait City offers 139 suites, and the Residence Inn by Marriott Jazan in Saudi Arabia is home to 79 suites. Both hotels offer tremendous value for extended-stay travelers through spacious suites, fully equipped kitchens and daily free hot breakfast service.
“The region’s extended-stay segment continues to go from strength to strength, boosted by both economic growth as well as a new generation of travelers,” commented Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Marriott International Middle East and Africa. “While we are seeing rising demand for extended-stay accommodation across the board, it’s particularly important to note that nearly a quarter of our Gen-Y guests stay in our MEA hotels for five or more nights – the highest portion of Gen-Y extended-stay travelers of any region in the world. This reinforces both the need for extended-stay properties, particularly amongst younger MEA travelers, as it also highlights the unique and changing habits of this demographic within the region,” Alex added.
Gen Y travelers are increasingly important to the company’s regional properties, accounting for 25 per of Marriott International hotel guests within the MEA region, the highest portion of any global region for the hotel company. Along with increased presence, Marriott International’s Gen Y guests are also staying at Marriott International properties longer, with 23 per cent staying for five or more nights, also the highest percentage of any Marriott region worldwide.
Further research by Marriott International has also shown that Gen Y travelers in MEA are also more likely to communicate with Marriott via mobile device than in any other region. Catering to this demographic, Marriott International has introduced a Mobile Check-in phone app which allows members of the company’s loyalty program, Marriott Rewards, to check-in as early as 4pm the day before arrival and receive an automatic notification when their room is ready.
“As we grow and expand throughout the region, it’s vital to tailor our offer to meet the changing needs of our guests. Within the Middle East and Africa in particular, there is a vibrant and growing demographic who, as research suggests, are becoming increasingly mobile. These Gen Y guests will continue to play a large role in shaping our offer, both within the extended-stay segment as well as within the wider portfolio,” added Kyriakidis.