Ed Fuller, President & Managing Director for International Lodging; Mark Satterfield, COO for Middle East and Africa; and Jeff Strachan, Vice President Sales & Marketing during the press conference today
All resorts and selected city hotels representing four of Marriott International’s most popular lodging brands in the Middle East & Africa will offer summer travelers a 20 percent discount off normal per night rates for stays beginning June 17, 2011. To take advantage of the discounted rates, travelers must pay with a Visa card and must book their stays at least seven days in advance of their arrival date. The promotional rates will be available subject to availability on a limited basis through September 4, 2011 and are non-refundable.
Participating in the promotion are Marriott’s luxury JW Marriott and upscale Marriott and Renaissance branded resorts in Egypt, Jordan and Oman as well as the company’s highly desirable city hotels in Cairo, Dubai and Doha including those carrying Marriott’s upper moderately priced Courtyard flag. In addition, the promotional discount will also apply to summer leisure stays in global destination cities such as London, Bangkok and Paris, all of which are especially attractive to Middle Eastern travelers.
“We’re excited to offer this attractive summer leisure travel promotion,” said Jeff Strachan, vice president-sales & marketing for the Middle East & Africa Continent. “It’s an integral component of our leisure marketing plans within the region and for outbound travel particularly in the months of July and August.” He indicated that the discounted rates are a part of a global summer travel promotion Marriott International has planned with Visa that also includes travel to and within Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Caribbean & Latin America.
On-Line Booking Channels More Popular as New Travel Trends Emerge
Speaking about recent market trends, Mr. Strachan said that consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable while using on-line reservations channels when booking their hotels stays.
“Last year, we experienced a rise in the use of these channels throughout the region with the highest usage increase of on-line commerce being experienced by our hotels in Dubai and Doha which experienced usage growth of 35 percent and 42 percent respectively over 2009,” he said. “Early returns this year indicate this trend is continuing as consumers realize that our Look No Further Guarantee holds true and that rates are the same whether consumers search on-line or call one of our reservations centers or our hotels directly.”
He said that popular destinations for summer travel this year among the region’s consumers are shaping up to be city destinations in Europe and Asia with a growing interest in travel to North America.
“European cities such as London, Paris, Munich and Vienna are always in high demand among our customers but we are delighted to see Bangkok back on the “must visit” list along with other Asian cities like Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and the Australian Gold Coast,” Mr. Strachan said. “We have superb hotels in all these cities representing our Marriott, JW Marriott, Renaissance, Ritz-Carlton, Courtyard and Marriott Executive Apartments brands and we are confident consumers will find a summer holiday hotel experience that will appeal to most travel tastes and budgets.”
Mr. Strachan added that the continued expansion of the Gulf air carriers into North American cities has provided Marriott with increased traveler interest in visiting New York and San Francisco in particular. “Florida, and specifically Orlando and its myriad family travel attractions, has always been a popular destination for Gulf families and our resorts in the Orlando area are experiencing increased demand from the Gulf for the 2011 summer travel season,” he said.
Booking windows for the summer travel period throughout the Gulf region are also beginning to lengthen, he noted.
“Traditionally, customers have waited until the last minute to make and confirm travel plans; however, with the month of July becoming more compressed between school exams and the start of Ramadan, consumers are beginning to realize the benefits of booking and planning early,” he said. “While the vast majority of consumers are still booking very close to their departure date, we are seeing an increased number of travelers making their plans well in advance to secure their preferred locations and desired room types in our hotels.”