Q&A: Does Marriott Franchise in the UK?

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Marriott is one of the biggest hotel brands in the UK, with an extensive network of sites up and down the country. But it’s also got thousands of properties across the world, so does Marriott franchise? And are there investment opportunities at the moment?

Marriott is just one of the brands managed by Marriott International. This is the biggest hotel portfolio in the hospitality sector, consisting of 30 brands and a total of more than 7,400 properties across 134 countries and territories. Other brands in the group include St Regis, Courtyard and The Ritz-Carlton.

Marriott International has built a reputation as a chain of high-quality hotels offering visitors a touch of luxury. Its loyalty club has more than 140 million members, who benefit from discounts, VIP experiences, mobile check-ins and late check-outs.

Does Marriott franchise?

Marriott International does offer franchise opportunities, so you do have the opportunity to start your own Marriott hotel.

As a franchisee, you’d have the backing of an internationally recognised company. You’d also benefit from a global distribution platform, which gives the brand international negotiating power. You’d also get the chance to use Marriott’s unique sales and marketing system, which takes advantage of the latest technology to source ‘high-value guests’.

On top of this, there are direct benefits for every franchisee. Marriott International collaborates with top management companies to provide helpful training programmes, as well as many of the tools needed to run a profitable business. The hotel portfolio reports that most of its ‘pipeline’ is run by multi-unit partners, so franchisees clearly trust the business enough to invest in it more than once.

History of Marriott

You might be surprised to learn that Marriott didn’t start out as a hotel. In fact, it began life as a root beer café with seating for nine people. The small business was founded in 1927 by husband and wife, J. Willard and Alice Marriott, alongside their business partner, Hugh Colton.

The root beer café proved popular among the people of Washington D.C., especially during its hot, humid summers. And before too long, the Marriotts decided to include hot food in their menu and name their business “Hot Shoppes”. The business owners launched more café locations over the years and, in 1937, began delivering boxed meals to aeroplane passengers at Hoover Airport. This helped introduce more people to their delicious menu.

In 1957, the Marriotts moved into the hotel business, opening the world’s first ever motor hotel. Their son, Bill, managed the Virginia business and grew it into an international chain. The first Marriott hotel outside of the US was launched in Acapulco, Mexico in 1969.

When Fairfield Inn and Marriott Suites hotels were introduced in 1987, Marriott became the first hotel company to create a portfolio of brands. In the following years, the chain also acquired Residence Inn, Renaissance Hotel Group, ExecuStay and a 49 percent interest in The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. Marriott also launched a number of new brands, including TownePlace Suites, SpringHill Suites, the EDITION brand, the Autograph Collection and AC Hotels.

Since Marriott International was first introduced, it has operated under five core values: putting people first, pursuing excellence, embracing change, acting with integrity and “serving our world”. Franchisees who join the world-renowned brand stand to benefit from the franchise’s consistently high standards and global acclaim.

Starting a Marriott franchise unit

Marriott International has a lot to offer franchisees. It runs a number of schemes designed to enhance the franchisee process, one of which is the Diverse Ownership Initiative. This programme was introduced in 2005 with the aim of encouraging more women and other minorities into the hotel industry.

As a result, over 1,200 Marriott International hotels are now managed by women or those belonging to minority groups – and a further 900 are in the pipeline. This officially makes the franchise one of the most diverse hotel portfolios out there.

  • Becoming a Marriott franchisee: If you join this franchise, you can opt to build your hotel from scratch, convert another building or simply renovate an old hotel to match the Marriott brand identity. The franchise will be behind you every step of the way as you develop your business, offering flexible building options to reflect your plans, budget and intended market.
  • How much you need to invest: Unlike many other types of businesses, hotels require a significant investment in the building and its interior design. Marriott International recognises that getting this aspect of the business right is crucial, and offers valuable support during the construction stages. To find out exactly how much you would need to invest, you should get in touch with Marriott International directly.
  • What you get for your investment: Franchisees benefit from an impressive level of initial and ongoing support. When you first sign up, you’ll get help with opening operations; sales and marketing; revenue management; platform delivery; and operations delivery and brand activation. In other words, you’ll get plenty of help as you build, convert or renovate your hotel.

    You’ll be able to source the best architects and interior designers, and get help with design, engineering, business operations, health and safety and the big launch day. What’s more, design professionals will regularly check up on progress in order to make sure the plans are moving in the right direction.

Join the travel and leisure industry

If you’ve got the capital, becoming a franchisee with Marriott International looks like a fantastic investment opportunity. But there are lots of alternative franchises out there, if your budget is a little tighter. Take a look at our investment opportunities in the travel and leisure sector. You’ll be able to sort the selection by franchise popularity or investment cost.

Or, if you’d like to find out about other hotel chains looking for new investors in the UK, you can read our article: Top 8 Hotel Franchises in the UK.

>> Read more articles on the Hotel sector

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