A legal claim has been filed in the Thai courts by Minor International (MINT) against Marriott International and its Thai subsidiary amounting to more than 570 million baht. In its latest response, Marriott has sought an injunction to halt proceedings but has been unsuccessful.
The accusation made by Minor against Marriott concerns the JW Marriott Phuket, which is owned by Minor International. In a statement MINT notes that Marriott has repeatedly and seriously acted in breach of Thai law, and points out the following specific grievances:
- Marriott is actively and openly competing with the JW Marriott Phuket through its operation of competing Marriott portfolio hotels in Phuket
- Marriott is using the facilities of the JW Marriott Phuket to promote Marriott’s other competing Marriott hotels
- Marriott is forcing the JW Marriott Phuket to accept high volumes of low margin business through Marriott’s loyalty program and is operating the loyalty program in bad faith
- Marriott’s management of the JW Marriott Phuket has suffered a steep decline in performance as a result of Marriott’s poor purchasing practices, high staff turnover and bad sales/marketing decisions
- Marriott has misappropriated MINT’s confidential and proprietary information to promote Marriott’s competing hotels and unlawfully benefit Marriott’s own interests at the expense of MINT
- Marriott is unduly enriching itself at the expense of the hotel and MINT, through license fee arrangements, supplier rebates and use of monies in the Marriott loyalty program fund.
According to Minor International, this situation represents a long-standing issue, which MINT has attempted to resolve through dialogue in recent years. However, believing that Marriott is not prepared to take into consideration the legitimate interests of MINT as the property owner, Minor International expects that the Thai courts will have a better understanding of the damage caused by Marriott’s actions as well as their seriousness under Thai law. It is understood to be the intention of MINT to pursue the claims to the fullest extent under Thai law.
At present, the JW Marriott Phuket continues to operate under the management of Marriott, although it is significant that the operational performance has been in decline for a number of years. In 2013 gross operating profits amounted to 409 million THB on revenue of 920 million THB, but this had fallen to just 379 million THB from revenues of 876 million THB by 2019. Marriott has consistently failed to meet the agreed budget targets since 2013, and since 2018 has operated with no approved budget in place.
Minor International is a global company focusing on hospitality, restaurants and lifestyle brands. MINT owns, operates, and invests in hotels, and has a portfolio of 536 properties worldwide under the Anantara, AVANI, Oaks, Tivoli, NH Collection, NH Hotels, nhow, Elewana, Marriott, Four Seasons, St. Regis, Radisson Blu and Minor International brands.