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Vietnam’s Booming Hotel Sector

Alan Woinski

May 30th, 2023

Skift Take

  • The global hotel industry is seeing increased activity with notable transactions in Vietnam, Macau, Japan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Thailand, and India.
  • Key deals include Marriott International’s operation of seven hotels from Vinpearl in Vietnam, Accor’s new Novotel in Nara, Japan, and DoubleDragon’s launch of the largest hotel in Bonifacio Global City in the Philippines.
  • Several hotel brands are expanding their footprints, with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts signing two agreements with Fulcrum Ventures Asia and Marriott International’s Fairfield brand entering Agra, India.

Dow Jones published an article on how foreign investors are taking advantage of the low prices of hospitality properties in Vietnam to acquire hotels and resorts. The article cited the Marriott International deal in April to operate seven hotels and resorts from Vinpearl, including three existing hotels in Nha Trang, Hoi An and Da Nang. In February Singapore’s Lodgis Hospitality Holdings said they are partnering with South Korea’s Hanwha Group to invest in hotel projects in several Asian countries including Vietnam. Colliers Vietnam noted Bain Capitalacquiring more hotels in Vietnam since the pandemic hit as a sign hospitality firms are making bold moves there. Savills Vietnam noted that hotels on coastal roads in Da Nang City’s Son Tra and Ngu Hanh Son districts and the downtown area have recently been offered for sale because owners have cash flow issues. Most of the hotels belong to individuals. Foreign-run hotels seem to be doing better than their local rivals with Savills saying in the second half of last year, hotels managed by Accor’s Pullman, Grand Mercure and Novotel had 40% higher average room rates and 8% higher occupancy rates compared to hotels managed by owners themselves or by Vietnamese brands. Dow Jones published another article saying lower than expected sales and volume of international guests have forced many hotel operators in downtown Ho Chi Minh City to shut down, transform their operations or put their properties up for sale. Last Thursday the four star, 104-room Norfolk Hotel announced their closure after 30 years. The five-star Catina Saigon Hotel already has stopped operations and T.T. on Ly Tu Tong Street has a notice saying “available for rent.”

Macau’s hotel occupancy reached 79.8% in April, up 50 percentage points year on year and 2.8 percentage points higher than in March. The Statistics and Census Service said the number of guests of hotel establishments in April climbed 199% year on year to 1,101,000, up from 972,000 in March with 739,000 of those guests from Mainland China. For the first four months of 2023, the average occupancy rate of Macau hotels grew by 38.2 percentage points year on year to 76.2%. As for hotel industry supply, the Statistics and Census Service said Macau had a total of 129 hotels in April 2023, up by 8 year on year. The total number of available guest rooms rose by 10.6% to 43,000. The number of MICE events rose by 114% year on year to 208 in the first quarter of 2023 and the number of participants & attendees rose by 20.5% year on year to 199,000. This past weekend saw more than 90,000 visitors, mostly from Hong Kong, arrive in Macau on Friday and Saturday of the Buddha’s Birthday long weekend. The Macao Government Tourism Office said the average of weekday traffic to Macau continues to be about 60,000, more than 50% of pre-pandemic figures.

Accor has signed a management agreement with Kokyo Asset Management Group in partnership with PGIM Real Estate for a new Novotel in Nara, JapanNovotel Nara is scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2024. The hotel will feature 264 guestrooms and suites, an all-day dining restaurant, four versatile function spaces, a wellness area and a premium lounge on the top floor with an expansive outdoor terrace and bar, offering views of Nara. The wellness area is located on the second floor and will include a wellness lounge, fitness center and communal indoor baths. Nara is located 45 minutes south of Kyoto with the hotel located just a three minute walk from Nara Prefectural Convention Center, Nara Prefecture’s largest convention hall. Accor currently operates 20 properties with 4,950 keys in Japan across several brands. They have six more properties in the pipeline with a total of 1,282 additional keys.

Thaala Bentota in Sri Lanka, formerly known as Avani Bentota, unveiled its rebranding. Thaala Bentota is now a member of Browns Hotels and Resorts. The hotel is situated across the picturesque Hotel Road of Bentota. Browns Hotels and Resorts operates as the leisure arm of LOLC Group.

Also in Sri Lanka, the Reef Garden Hotel, Polhena, reopened following a post-Covid upgrade to the 20 room landmark property. The resort now includes a restaurant and bar with outdoor and indoor banquet and events facilities. They will soon open the Beach Club with a variety of food and drinks. Reef Garden Hotel is now managed by Hotel Development and Management Company.

DoubleDragon is gearing up to launch the largest hotel in the Bonifacio Global City in the Philippines by July. Hotel101-Fort is strategically located just a few minutes’ walk from major malls in BGC. It will have 606 rooms spread across 33 floors, accompanied by five basement levels of parking space. There will be an all-day dining restaurant and 24 hour convenience store. DoubleDragon has expressed its intention to list Hotel101 Global on a US Stock Exchange. The subsidiary is expected to derive more than 95% of its revenues from international markets. Hotel101 Global said they are aiming to become one of the top 10 largest hotel brands globally by 2035 with plans to expand to over 200,000 Hotel101 Happy Rooms. They have identified three initial overseas projects in Niseko Hokkaio in Japan, Madrid, Spain and California in the US.

Andrew Tan’s Alliance Global is buying out Genting HongKong Ltd’s stake in Travellers International Hotel Group Inc., owner of the Newport World Resortsgaming and leisure complex. Newport World Resorts Properties entered into a share purchase agreement with Genting Group. With Genting no longer an owner, there was no word on whether the Resorts World name/brand will remain on the Resorts World Manila IR.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts announced they signed two license agreement with investment firm Fulcrum Ventures Asia for the 183-room Ramada by Wyndham Bangkok Sukhumvit 11 and 91-room Ramada by Wyndham Bangkok Ten Ekamai Residences. These are the first deals between Wyndham and Fulcrum Ventures Asia. Both hotels are anticipated to open in June 2023 and will be Wyndham’s twenty-first and twenty-second hotels in Thailand and the eighth and ninth in Bangkok.

Marriott International’s Fairfield by Marriott brand announced the opening of Fairfield by Marriott Agra, marking the brands entry into the India city. The hotel is located just a 30-minute drive from Agra International Airport. The hotel features 98 guestrooms and suites. The hotel’s public areas serve as flexible social spaces. The Cosmos Café & Bar is an all-day dining restaurant that is paired with a bar. Business facilities include a total of 3,261 square feet of flexible banqueting space. There also is a fitness center and grab and go service counter.

Royal Orchid Hotels has an enlarged footprint in North India with the opening of the new hotel, Regenta Central City Vilas Palace Ambala. The new hotel is owned by Royal Orchid and is located on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway. The hotel features 52 guestrooms in three categories. 36 rooms are Mughal Standard, 14 rooms are Mughal Club with Balcony and there are two Maharaj/Maharani Suites.

Indian Hotels Company announced the opening of Taj Gandhinagar Resort and Spa in Gujarat. The 118-key resort sprawls over six acres of greenery, a comfortable drive from Ahmedabad airport. The hotel includes an all-day diner, Tea Lounge, spa café, the J Wellness Circle Spa, recreational activities including a swimming pool and a pillarless banquet hall of 5,000 square feet.

Personnel Move

Espire Hospitality Group has named Akhil Arora as its next CEO. Arora is promoted from the COO position, joining Espire back in May 2021. He is credited with expanding the portfolio of Espire from two to 10 operating hotels. There are six more hotels planned for 2023. Under his leadership, Espire launched the Luxury Boutique resort brand ‘ZANA – Luxury Escapes, expected to grow from the one hotel opened in September 2022 in Udaipur to five by the end of 2023.

Alan Woinski

May 30th, 2023

Companies: Accor, Bain Capital Credit, Browns Hotels and Resorts, DoubleDragon Corp., Espire Hospitality Group, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Genting Group, Grand Mercure Hotels and Resorts, Hanwha Hotel & Resorts, Hotel 101, Kokomo Asset Management, Lodgis Hospitality Holdings, Marriott International, Novotel, PGIM Real Estate, Pullman, Ramada, Resorts World Sentosa, Royal Orchid Hotels Limited, Savills, Taj, The Indian Hotels Company Ltd, Travellers International Hotel Group, Vinpearl, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

Locations: Agra, Bangkok, China, Gandhinagar, Ho Chi Minh City, Hokkaido, India, Japan, Macau, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Udaipur, Vietnam

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