Marriott International, the largest U.S. hotel chain, plans to expand by taking over the operation of hotels from competitors unable to pay or refinance debt, chief financial officer Carl Berquist said.

'There’s a lot of money on the sidelines to step in and take the position as an owner,' Berquist said yesterday. 'We are more than willing to work with those folks and help manage or franchise those opportunities,' he said, adding that Marriott would be prepared to 'put in some equity if it makes sense to us.'

Marriott, owner of about 45 of the 3,000 hotels that carry its flag, expects conversions to help the company gain market share during the global recession. The value of hotel properties in default or foreclosure surged to $17.3bn in the second quarter through June 24 from $9bn at the end of the first quarter, data compiled by Real Capital Analytics show.