American hotel brand targets expansion to Middle East and Africa

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American leading hotel operator, Marriott International, has announced the expansion and strengthening of its Sales and Marketing Leadership Team for Middle East and Africa with an intention to penetrate 38 countries across the region by

This bold new initiative comes on the heels of the successful mega merger between Marriott International and Starwood Hotels and Resorts and the fast progressing integration of the two companies.

With a current portfolio of over 240 hotels with 54,000 rooms in 30 countries, Marriott International is working towards targeting a projected growth of 150,000 rooms operational and pipeline in 38 countries by 2022 across Middle East and Africa.

A statement from the company noted that the revamped Brand, Marketing, Sales and Consumer Services (BMSC) Leadership Team comprises of highly experienced professionals from Marriott International and legacy Starwood Hotels and Resorts, bringing together exceptional talent and expertise from both companies and speaks to the company’s commitment to support its enhanced footprint and aggressive growth plans in the region.

Led by seasoned Marriott International veteran, Neal Jones, who is the Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Middle East and Africa, the team will provide dedicated support to the company’s thriving regional portfolio and will be responsible for driving top line revenue for Marriott International brands, ensuring the regional Sales and Marketing strategy is aligned with the company’s vision and priorities.

Commenting on the announcement, Neal Jones said, “The leadership changes we are announcing today are important to foster greater synergies, teamwork, accountability and nimble decision-making critical to lay a strong foundation that will support our ambitious growth plans in the region.

“I am extremely excited to work together with such a talented and diverse group of leaders who bring with them exceptional domain expertise as well as regional insights that will enable us to create a more vibrant organization that delivers value for all stakeholders.

“I am confident that with this, we have the right structure and talent in place to accelerate our lead in the market, drive further innovation and strengthen the positioning of our brands while keeping our loyal and new guests at the centre of everything we do, steering us into the next phase of our growth and success,” he added.

The new leadership team include Paul Dalgleish as Vice President for Sales & Distribution, while Sarah Allen comes in as Vice President for Revenue Strategy & Analysis.

Jitendra Jain from Starwood Hotels will serve as Vice President  Digital, Loyalty and Portfolio Marketing. Sandra Schulze-Potgieter, joined as Vice President of Premium and Select Brands, she will be responsible for Brand Marketing and Management for Marriott International’s compelling portfolio of Premium and Select Brands and will oversee Restaurants & Bars Marketing as well as Area Field Marketing.

The company also appointed Sarah Walker Kerr as Vice President for Communications, Middle East and Africa. She will be responsible for devising and implementing the overall Communications Strategy for Marriott International in the region, driving visibility, enhancing the perception of the company and its brands and increasing its share of voice in the media.

Raheel Baggia is Senior Director, BMSC Planning and Services and will be responsible for Integration and Change Management, Program Execution and Training. Prior to this Raheel served as Director, BMSC Consulting-Middle East and Africa.

Marriott International is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 6,100 properties in 30 leading hotel brands spanning 124 countries and territories. The company operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company also operates award-winning loyalty programs: Marriott Rewards®, which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®, and Starwood Preferred Guest®.

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