Marriott-Starwood merger to help Dubai host global events

JW Marriott Marquis

Marriott International’s $13bn acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts has strengthened Dubai’s position to compete for some of the world’s biggest global events, the global CEO of now the world’s largest hotelier has told Arabian Business.

Arne Sorenson said the proximity of the 1,600 room-JW Marriott Marquis and a combined 1,600 rooms at the W, the Westin and St Regis hotels, formerly part of Starwood, would allow the company to accommodate some of the biggest world gatherings, such as financial or medical conferences, global product launches and customer events held by large international brands.

Sorenson said: “We’re talking about substantial pieces of business, where you can say, we can host your business in Dubai – there’s great airlift, great centrality, especially for European people and Asian people meeting together.

“There are relatively few places in the world where you can get a 3,000-4,000 room block right there. (Las) Vegas is one and Vegas does a lot of huge global meetings. But for a global group to sometimes get into the US is difficult.

“So if Dubai says we’re going to provide this great airlift and make it easier for people to enter Dubai, I think it makes them more competitive. It’s not that they haven’t been competitive – there are obviously a lot of big hotels in Dubai and there are a lot of hotel rooms in Dubai but I think it’s another strength.

“(With) economies of scale we should be able to drive not only the top line through a stronger proposition with our customers but we should be driving improved profitability at the margin level by offering some services more efficiently than we have been able to do with smaller platforms.”

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