Courtyard by Marriott plants first flag in Belgrade, Serbia

International Report–Fresh off the announcement of a new low-cost prototype for new Courtyard by Marriott hotels, Marriott has announced its first Courtyard property for Serbia. The 107-room Courtyard by Marriott Belgrade City Center is set to open in early 2014 under a management agreement with PFB Properties d.o.o.

“Since it’s a conversion of an existing building in a perfect location, the size of the building dictated what kind of branding we needed,” said Ivica Cacic, VP of development for the CIS and Western Balkans for Marriott International. “Courtyard is designed for business travelers, so at the end of the day it’s going to be doing big business in a location that is great for tourism as well.”

Marriott could expand development with another property in the country, capitalizing on industrial cities that are popular destinations for domestic travel. “Belgrade could take another full-service brand, either a Marriott or Renaissance, depending on the location,” said Cacic. “We could envision a Courtyard in Novi Sad and Užice. It may be a bit too early at this time but an enthusiastic developer could take a serious look at the project.”

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Cacic also outlined the company’s overall plan for hotel development in the Balkans.

“Our goal is to enter into the capital cities first,” he said. “Last year we signed a Marriott in Macedonia that is to be finished in 24 months from now and I hope that very early next year we will close our first hotel in Ukraine.

In five to seven years we should be present in almost all capital cities in the region, then we’re looking at secondary cities in Serbia and Ukraine that have a million-plus population. The new Courtyard should be the main product and we think it fits perfectly.”

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