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Marriott (MAR) to Launch New Hotels, Fortify Global Presence

Zacks Equity Research

After announcing the acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts on Sep 23, 2016, Marriott International, Inc. MAR has become the world’s largest hotel company, spanning across 120 countries with over 6,000 properties. Shares of the company have gained over 30% since the date, while the Zacks categorized Consumer Discretionary sector has returned 11.6%, thereby depicting the positive effect of the acquisition.

In addition to domestic lands, Marriott is consistently trying to expand its presence worldwide and capitalize on the demand for hotels in the international markets. Yesterday, the company announced the inclusion of new hotels to its global landscape.

AC & Moxy Combined Project

The company announced its first-ever combination of an AC and Moxy property under one roof, in partnership with Noble Investment Group. The project, set to open by mid-2018, will be located on a full city block in Midtown Atlanta, one of America's most vibrant business districts and a local epicenter for music and arts.

The 133-room AC Hotel Atlanta Midtown will feature rooms with modern and sophisticated design elements, luxurious seating and multifunctional workspaces. In fact, its location on 14th Street makes the brand new hotel a favorable spot for luxury travelers. Additionally, this would be Noble’s second AC Hotel in Atlanta and the third in its portfolio.

Meanwhile, the 155-room Moxy Atlanta Midtown will feature stylish, tech-enabled bedrooms, coupled with the keyless entry system, USB outlets as well as extremely fast and free Wi-Fi. Located on the 13th Street, this hotel is likely to be an apt stop for business travelers. Notably, this would be Noble’s second Moxy Hotel.

Both the hotels will also share a deck-top amenity level that will feature shared meeting space with outdoor break-out space, health and fitness and a rooftop pool and bar with outdoor fire pits.

W Hotel

With the opening of W Goa, located on the internationally renowned Vagator Beach, Marriott also announced the debut of its W Hotels brand in India. The 160-room hotel overlooks the Arabian Sea and spans 25 acres of exotic sandy beach, set against the backdrop of a 500-year old Portuguese Fort. Moreover, this property features 50,000 square feet of function space and meeting rooms, a spa, a fitness center, a pool, and multiple restaurants.

This property marks the brand’s 50th hotel worldwide, positioning it to reach its goal of 75 hotels by 2020. The opening of this hotel in India follows the rising demand of luxury travel and underpins Marriott’s commitment to grow in the Asia-Pacific region.

Bottom Line

With the boost in the economy and an improvement in business and leisure travel, Marriott is well poised to grow in the near as well as long term, in major North American and international locations. Moreover, the company is investing in digital innovations and social media, which starting to play an increasingly important role in bookings by connecting directly with guests, which in turn can lead to increased loyalty and market share.

However, economic/political conditions are expected to remain challenging post Brexit and this might limit Marriott’s business growth, given its considerable presence in Europe. Significant currency headwinds are affecting most of the hoteliers across the world, including Hyatt Hotels Corporation H, Hilton Worldwide Holdings HLT, and Wyndham Worldwide Corporation WYN, are likely to impact Marriott’s top-line too.

Currently, the company carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

However, we believe, its large-scale expansion efforts position the company well for long-term growth, after sorting out some challenges the company might face in the near term.

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