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Marriott jumps into all-inclusive resort business

New York

MARRIOTT International Inc. is jumping into the all-inclusive resort business, once the domain of speciality companies that offered lodging, food and other services for a single price.

Marriott, the world's largest hotel company, announced plans for two new resorts that will cost more than US$800 million combined to build: a 650-room hotel in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, and a multi- branded property on Mexico's Riviera Nayarit that will include the first all-inclusive project in the history of Marriott's Ritz-Carlton.

Those projects are part of a bigger push into the segment, designed to help Marriott compete for more development deals and prevent frequent customers from booking stays with competitors.

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"What's disappointing to us is when one of our loyal customers says, I want to have an all-inclusive experience in a given destination, and by virtue of the fact that we don't have that offering, it causes them to go outside of our system," said Tony Capuano, global chief development officer at Marriott.

Initially, the company is planning all-inclusive resorts under seven of its 30 brands and is expecting developers to opt for multi-branded properties like the one in Nayarit, where developer Artha Capital is building resorts under the Ritz-Carlton, Westin and Marriott Hotels flags, as well as a hotel in Marriott's Autograph Collection.

Getting into the all-inclusive game may help Marriott appeal to its 133 million loyalty programme members, letting them spend points earned while travelling for work to vacation with their families. It also helps the company convince real estate developers to partner with Marriott when building new resorts or rebranding existing properties. BLOOMBERG