Marriott concerned about Paris summer bookings after attacks

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 08, 2016 10:40 AM

By Victoria Bryan

BERLIN (Reuters) - Hotel group Marriott International is concerned about tourist bookings in Paris this summer after November's attacks on the French capital, an executive at the firm said on Tuesday.

Marriott, whose brands include the Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, Autograph and Courtyard and which has 15 hotels in Paris, is working with the city's tourist office and adapting some of its pricing in a bid to get travelers back there.

"Paris is the one that concerns us, but for the rest of(Europe) we don't think there's any reason why we shouldn't get strong leisure travel," Amy McPherson, Marriott Europe head, told Reuters at the IHIF hotels conference in Berlin.

McPherson said business travel bookings were doing better than expected right now, with January and February being ahead of budget and she expected the good momentum to continue.

Europe's hotel industry grew faster than the United States in revenue per available room (RevPAR) for the first time since 2010, with growth of 6.9 percent to $83.94 against a rise of 6.3 percent to $78.65 for the U.S., a report from analysts STR said.

Europe benefited from the weak euro and also attacks in North Africa pushing demand to Europe, the report found.

McPherson said places such as Barcelona, London and Portugal were enjoying increased demand.

While Marriott had expected RevPAR to fall in Russia last year due to the crisis there, it had actually increased because Russians chose to travel within their own country instead of abroad, more than making up for a decline in overseas guests.

Earlier Marriott said it will double in size in Europe due to its takeover of Starwood, announced late last year.

Marriott has 61,000 rooms open in Europe, to which Starwood will add 40,500. The two companies' pipeline of 21,500 planned hotel rooms means it will have more than 123,000 open or signed rooms once the deal completes in mid-2016.

The combined group will have 30 brands, but McPherson said there were no plans to get rid of any of them because they appealed to different customers.

(This story has been refiled to add dropped word "Europe" to quote in paragraph 3)

(Editing by Alexander Smith)