The growth of new brands by major franchise companies contributed to a 44 percent increase in projects in early planning in 2017, according to Lodging Econometrics. Marriott has 240 projects with 28,535 rooms in early planning, almost double the number of projects it had in this stage at the end of 2016, according to LE.

HOTEL CONSTRUCTION IN the U.S. finished 2017 with another increase, 4 percent over the previous year, according to Lodging Econonmetrics. Also, LE said Marriott International currently has the largest construction pipeline of any franchise company in the U.S. with 1,410 projects and 180,647 rooms.

The year-end U.S. construction pipeline contained 5,151 projects with 623,695 rooms, according to LE. There are 1,544 projects with 200,632 rooms under construction, up 2 percent. Projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months declined 12 percent from 2016 to 2,101 projects with 245,214 rooms.

However, projects in early planning rose 44 percent to 1,506 projects with 177,849 rooms. “The rapid growth of new brands announced by major franchise companies in 2017 contributed to the increase in projects in the early planning stage,” LE said in a statement. “The end of the year also tends to encourage developers and brands to finalize franchise construction agreements and review timelines on existing agreements, which both contribute to an uptick in early planning.”

Marriott has 240 projects with 28,535 rooms in early planning, almost double the number of projects it had in this stage at the end of 2016, according to LE. It has 502 projects with 68,119 rooms currently under construction, according to LE. That makes up more than a third of all pipeline rooms under construction.

The company also has the most rooms scheduled to start construction in the next 12 Months, 668 projects with 83,993 rooms. It expects to open 351 new hotels with 43,587 rooms in 2018, 31 percent of all new hotels anticipated to open this year.

Marriott’s largest brands in the total pipeline are: Fairfield Inn, 303 projects with 29,051 rooms; Residence Inn, 199 projects with 24,680 rooms; and TownePlace Suites, 208 projects with 21,299 rooms. Fairfield and Townplace brands had the largest number of new hotels expected to open by year-end for the company, 81 hotels with 7,739 rooms and 58 hotels with 5,774 rooms respectively.