Marriott's Sorenson Says Stock Market Rout Won't Hurt Bookings

Marriott CEO Still Bullish on 2016 Growth
  • Asia's growing middle class helps keep demand steady, CEO says
  • Sees acquisition of Starwood Hotels closing by mid-2016

A decline in global stock prices won’t hurt hotel bookings and room rates for 2016, Marriott International Inc. Chief Executive Officer Arne Sorenson said in a Bloomberg Television interview.

Group bookings climbed 7 percent in 2015, and the company expects similar growth this year, said Sorenson, speaking from Davos, Switzerland, where he is attending the World Economic Forum. Rates that Marriott is negotiating with its largest corporate clients are also up, he said.

A growing middle class in India and China means “hundreds of millions of new international travelers” are being created to keep demand steady, and a stronger dollar makes Europe a cheaper destination for American tourists, he said.

“We’ll have a year that looks a bit like last year, which is, all things considered, not bad,” Sorenson said.

Marriott is working to complete the $12.2 billion deal to buy Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. by mid-2016. The transaction would create the world’s largest hotel company.

“There’s a lot of work in order to get that not just closed, but in order to get a company of that size integrated,” he said.

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