Marriott International will develop three more hotels in Doha to cater to rapidly growing business tourism in Qatar, a top management official told The Peninsula yesterday.
"With the growing number of tourists and expatriates in Doha, Marriott decided to develop tourism projects that include the building of new hotels in the city centre area," said Julius W Robinson, Vice-President of the Global Sales Intermediaries, Marriott Headquarters.
"This area is continuing to grow from a commerce perspective, so the Marriott group wants to be here as the Doha market starts to bring in business tourism. We want to have the products here to meet those needs," Robinson explained.
Despite the spectre of the global financial crisis, Doha Marriott Hotel said it is on track to end 2008 with record profits.
Robinson, who joined Marriott International in 1992, said, outside the United States, records show its business is going strong, especially in the Middle East.
"Our Doha Marriott Hotel is doing very well. This is an example of one of our hotels that is going strong despite the difficulties experienced in the world market," said Robinson.
As a result of the success of its businesses in Doha, Marriott plans to invest more in the area. "We have a Renaissance Hotel that will open in the middle of next year — one of the hotels that we have planned to put up. The good business that we're having here, it really speaks of the growth and development that's happening in Doha," said Robinson.
Robinson, who hails from New Jersey, said Marriott expected a slowdown in its earnings due to the financial crisis, but the management found that globally profits were higher compared to last year. "We have experienced a slight decline in business. Our last report showed our business is down between one and three percent globally. However, we found that if we look at our many markets, it still shows we have numbers that are higher than last year," he said.
"One of the luxuries that we've had in Doha Marriott is that we've turned away a lot of business because we were full. So we can stand to lose a part of that demand because we still have excess demand in our hotels to begin with, which is a good thing for us," Robinson added.
Robinson said Marriott makes sure its hotels are always in good form. "We have made a lot of changes in Doha Marriott. This lobby has been renovated and wi-fi technology is coming up. We even have a new restaurant that will soon be open to guests."
"We build hotels in the Middle East that have big lobbies, very open lobbies, because unlike in other parts of the world, people in the Middle East use lobbies as an opportunity to socialise, to talk, to discuss business," he said.
Robinson said the company is ready to face any crisis. "The main thing you have to do is to stay connected with your customers in the good times so that they're there for you in the bad times. If there's a downturn, we have special offers as incentives for people to come in and maybe stay longer or come at other times of the year than they normally would. That, for the most part, would save us during a downturn in the economy," he said.
Follow us on our social media channels: