Last updated: 11:40 AM ET, Wed July 01 2015

Hoteliers Expand in Asia

Hotel & Resort | Melia Hotels International | James Ruggia | May 11, 2015

Hoteliers Expand in Asia

PHOTO: The Sol House Kuta Bali is one of two properties that will introduce Meliá to Bali. (Courtesy of Meliá Hotels International)

Expansion in Asia,” has become a more repeated phrase among hoteliers than “location, location, location.” Clearly, the location for the last 20 years has been Asia, and the beat goes on. In explaining its Asian expansion plans, Meliá Hotels International cited figures recently released by the World Travel Monitor. Between 2009 and 2013, the number of international travelers in Asia rose by 53 percent, more than half of total global growth.

China leads the pack. According to a report issued at the ITB Berlin, one in 10 international trips begin in China, and the market will continue to grow. Speaking at ITB, Stephen Chung, Overseas Sales and Marketing Director of adSage, said that “In 2014 Chinese tourists spent close to 165 billion dollars abroad.” Attract China is predicting that in 2015, 140 million Chinese tourists will go abroad, spending more than $188 billion.

Findings from a GfK study last year revealed that 93 percent of Chinese have travelled within the Asian region in the past one year, and nearly half (47 percent) chose to go to countries in Southeast Asia — making it the most-visited region for leisure trips amongst this group of people.

Thus it’s urgent for a company such as Thailand’s Centara to be tapped into China and its travelers. Well-known throughout Southeast Asia and the Middle East, Centara will open its first property in China in late 2017 when the Centara Resort Zhaoqing, opens on the Pearl River Delta. China’s, “vast and ever-growing tourist market means China is a key part of Centara’s strategic expansion across Asia,” said CEO of Centara Hotels & Resorts Thirayuth Chirathivat.

The 250-room four-star resort will feature family-friendly facilities including a water park. Zhaoqing City is located in Guangdong Province near powerful local source markets in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and Macau.

Best Western recently opened properties in Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Mandalay. BW’s pipeline in the Asia-Pacific region is comprised of 90 percent new build projects with 35 percent branded either BEST WESTERN PLUS or BEST WESTERN PREMIER. There are nearly 50 projects in India, China, and Indonesia; virtually all are new construction. ASEAN countries have a combined 37 BW projects representing 6,110 rooms in the pipeline.

Best Western International recently launched two new global hotel products, Vib (as in vibrant) an urban boutique hotel concept and the BW Premier Collection, targeting upscale and luxury independent hotels. The Vib concept targets younger travelers, who say Best Western, are seeking, “innovation, technology and style with an authentic, local flavor offered at a great value.” The first Vib signed to be developed is a 148-room new build in Seoul. Vib is currently considering projects in Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Meliá is adding three new resorts in Vietnam and Indonesia. “For decades our company has led the resort domain in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean,” said Vice President of Meliá Hotels International in Asia Pacific, Bernardo Cabot. “We are in a great position to grow as the key holiday destinations in Asia while meeting the expectations of modern travelers as well as offering innovative hotel experiences that revolutionizes the traditional sun and beach concept.”

Currently Meliá operates 24 hotels in the region, and plans to expand based entirely on management agreements. Meliá’s assets in Asia-Pacific expect to increase revenues and record one million stays, 55 percent driven by local clientele, this year.

The Sol House Kuta Bali and Sol House Jimbaran are the two newest additions in Indonesia, the result of concerted efforts to grow the Sol Hotels & Resorts brand which has recently been completely renovated to become a more modern brand. The recently opened Sol House Kuta Bali has 132 rooms and is located in one of Bali’s most popular destinations.

The hotel will be renovated over the coming months to adapt it to the design standards of the Sol House brand, a lifestyle concept for young travelers. The Sol House Jimbaran, also on Bali, will be a newly-built 178-room condo hotel, and is scheduled to open in 2018.

The company recently signed Sol House Phu Quoc, the first Sol resort in Vietnam. Phu is the largest island in Vietnam and is an emerging holiday destination. The hotel has been designed as a four star eco-resort with 200 rooms and 26 villas located on a beach. It is scheduled to open in 2016.

Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels unveiled its ‘design conscious, price-conscious’ brand, Zone by The Park in Coimbatore and Jaipur with upcoming properties in Mahabalipuram, Chennai and Raipur. Park Hotels is known for its luxury boutique properties in India. Zone Coimbatore brings a design hotel to the mid-market Indian hospitality sector.

The second Zone by The Park is slated to launch in Jaipur (Rajasthan) later on in January 2015 and the third property in Mahabalipuram. Further, properties will open in Chennai and Raipur in 2015. “Over the years we have noticed a growing demand for a new kind of a hotel, for a new kind of traveler, someone who is moving up the ladder and is at ease with themselves,” said Priya Paul, chairperson, Apeejay Surrendra Park hotels Ltd.

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