New R3bn SA hotels: Massive Marriott loyalty deals to benefit travellers

Cape Town - Marriott will add 500 more rooms to Cape Town's accommodation offering and its massive merger sees its loyalty programme opening SA up to the global traveller.

Marriot and Amdec Group have announced a multi-billion rand investment partnership that will see the world’s largest hotel group complete two new hotels already underway in Joburg and add three new ones in Cape Town.

Marriott says it is showing its commitment to the future of South Africa and together with local developer Amdec Group it will attract more global visitors and create massive employment opportunities in SA.

Of the three new hotels in the city, one will be a signature brand Marriott Hotels - the first Marriott Hotel in Cape Town. The second under the upscale extended stay brand, Residence Inn by Marriott®, the first for South Africa, while the third is an upper-moderate tier lifestyle brand, AC Hotels by Marriott, which is the first hotel under this brand for the Middle East & Africa (MEA) region.

R3bn investment in to South Africa hospitality industry

The three new hotels to in Cape Town are estimated to be worth R2 billion and will add over 500 rooms to Cape Town’s hotel accommodation offering.

- The 200-room Cape Town Marriott Hotel Foreshore

- The 189-room AC Hotel Cape Town Waterfront, to be located at the Yacht Club in the Roggebaai precinct

- The 150-room Residence Inn by Marriott Cape Town Foreshore

(Supplied)

A further R1 billion rand is being invested in builds underway Johannesburg.  These are the first two Marriott branded hotels in South Africa, situated in the popular upmarket Melrose Arch Precinct and are scheduled to open in 2018. Amdec’s total investment in these Cape Town and Johannesburg developments amounts to over R3 billion between the two cities, which will have positive economic spinoffs and a massive impact on job creation.

-          The 150 room Johannesburg Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch (150 Rooms)

-          The 200 room Marriott Executive Apartments Johannesburg Melrose Arch (200)

(Supplied)


Increasing the benefits of being members of both programs substantially

Speaking at the Skift Global Travel Forum last week in New York, and on the back of purchasing its former rival Starwood Hotels & Resorts, for roughly $13billion (about R181bn at R13.96/$), Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International says the hotel chain was committed to all its properties owned worldwide and that not a single one of the 30 brands would be affected.

Sorenson also confirmed the best way to spearhead the benefit of this merger in the customers mind is through the extensive loyalty programmes it now owns - aiming to put the members first.

(Photo: Selene Brophy)

Members of both Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) can now link their accounts to the two programs, allowing for immediate status matching and point transfers and redemptions whereby three Marriott Rewards points are equivalent to one Starpoint. Quite a remarkable feat within the industry as a start, but the complete integration is expected to take some time and will be fully available and combined by 2018.

SEE: Marriott Rewards: It's all about the moments

From an international perspective Marriott Rewards members can now redeem points for stays in the Maldives, Santorini, and Bora Bora, while SPG members can do the same in Aruba and as well as SA's sought after Kruger National Park.

With more than 1.1 million rooms, besides the newly proposed hotels in South Africam Marriott International also owns South Africa’s largest hotel group before purchasein 2013, the Protea Hotels Group. Rebranding of the group, announced in July 2016, is also said to capitalize on the travel aspirations of Africa’s growing middle class and the increased presence of this international hotel brand.  

“This is a great first step about continuing to evolve that loyalty program into something that is palpably good for every customer, so they understand how worthwhile it is to be a part of the program,” says Sorenson.

Sorenson also noted that its three-to-one point exchange was developed so that “the value of the points is the same as they have been in the two systems”, add more access to unique experiences and personalised concierge services

(Supplied)

“Africa is particularly important to Marriott International's expansion strategy because of the continent's rapid economic growth, expanding middle class and youth population, as well as the increase of international flights into the continent. With over 850 million people in sub-Saharan Africa alone, there are enormous opportunities,"  he says.

Attending the sod-turning in Cape Town, Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities who attended the sod turning Minister Winde says, “This investment by Marriott International, a leading international brand, is excellent news for our tourism sector. Tourism is our fastest-growing sector, and through the Western Cape’s Project Khulisa growth strategy, we are seeking to add up to a further 100 000 jobs to this sector.” Winde says the expansion of the CTICC as well as the increased direct routes air connectivity to the city would go a long way in helping to achieve this.   

Marriott International’s growth plans for the continent are impressive: by 2025 the company aims to expand its current presence in Africa to 27 countries, with over 200 hotels and around 37000 rooms.

What to read next on Traveller24:

- 42 Western Cape Lilizela winners showcase SA' world-class attractions

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