What makes a Marriott a Marriott and when is it a JW Marriott?
Marriott International is on a mission to clarify the status of the brands under its umbrella. Renaissance equates to economy class, Marriott to premium economy, JW Marriott to business class and Ritz-Carlton to first class, a marketing executive has explained helpfully.
Quality business hotels in China and India are the group's target, says Paul Toner, newly appointed vice-president, sales and marketing Asia-Pacific, based in Hong Kong. The company is seeking management deals that may involve building a property, selling it and managing it.
"We often end up aligning ourselves with investment partners who have multiple properties," Mr Toner said, adding that brand standards and integrity were ensured by discussions with owners. If partners fail to meet capital expenditure requirements, they lose the name.
"If you get a red flag three years in a row, the brand comes off," he said. "The biggest thing for us is our reputation - we won't stretch the numbers to get the deal."
The group plans to have 100 hotels in five years under its various brands in Asia-Pacific, of which 20 will be in China. A twin property in Beijing will pair a 320-room Ritz-Carlton with a 591-room JW Marriott, each occupying different towers in one complex. The project will be finished by late 2007, in time for the government's pre-Olympics moratorium on construction, says Mr Toner.