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Accor Is Full Speed Ahead on China

Alan Woinski
September 12th, 2023 at 7:41 AM EDT

Skift Take

  • Singapore’s August visitation decreased by -7.8% compared to July, with 1.31 million visitors. Total eight-month arrivals remain nearly -30% lower than 2019.
  • Accor SA aims to sign approximately 125 hotel partnership projects in China this year, with plans to introduce the Orient Express brand.
  • Hilton plans to expand its Hilton Garden Inn brand throughout the Asia Pacific region, with a new regional room prototype introduced in Australia and New Zealand.

Singapore visitation in August was down by -7.8% from July. The Singapore Tourism Board said they recorded 1.31 million visitor arrivals in August. That takes the eight-month total to 9.01 million, still nearly -30% lower than the same period of 2019. August showed 214,490 arrivals from mainland China, the second consecutive month they were the largest single source of visitor arrivals to the city-state. Indonesia was the second-ranked source market, with 167,850 visitors to Singapore. Indonesia remained the top source for the first eight months, with 1.52 million visitor arrivals.

The Macao Government Tourism Office is projecting a daily average of 80,000 to 90,000 visitors during the upcoming October Golden Week that actually starts September 29th. Given how July averaged 89,000 arrivals per day and more than 100,000 in August, this projection seems quite conservative and will disappoint investors if it comes true.

Accor SA is on track to sign a record of about 125 hotel partnership projects in China this year. Accor currently has more than 640 hotels across Greater China, which are either joint operations with landlords or fully franchised under its asset-light model. Greater China CEO Gary Rosen told Bloomberg they are in talks with potential partners to introduce the region’s first project under its Orient Express brand. Accor has already introduced Orient Express brand hotels in Italy and Saudi Arabia, scheduled to open within the next two years. Accor said RevPAR and occupancy rates in mainland China and Macau have returned to or exceeded 2019 levels, while Hong Kong’s results have not fully recovered. Country Garden is one of Accor’s partners in China, with a deal to franchise Accor’s Jo&Joe brand. Country Garden Holdings is battling debt issues, and Accor said they face challenges in their residential business but see little impact on the hotel side. Country Garden has targeted over 1,000 hotel openings over the next three decades. Accor has also begun working with more state-owned enterprises as those companies take on more projects than private developers, especially regarding local governments’ master plans for their cities.

Hilton hosted over 80 hotel developers and owners from Australia and New Zealand as it introduced a new regional room prototype for its Hilton Garden Inn upscale-focused service brand. Hilton Garden Inn is focused on regionalization, catering to diverse guest needs. The new regional room prototype features innovations in design and amenities tailored to elevate the guest experience and deliver strong investment returns. Hilton, to date, has two properties operating in Australia, Hilton Garden Inn Albany and Hilton Garden Inn Darwin, with another five in the pipeline in Busselton, Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne.

The Bangkok Post published an article on Hilton’s strategy with Hilton Garden Inn, aiming to expand the brand in all of Asia Pacific, believing the growing middle class in the region creates an opportunity. They have about 75 Hilton Garden Inn properties in Asia with a pipeline of 130.

Interested in attending the Skift Global Forum in NYC September 26-28? As a Daily Lodging Report subscriber, you receive 15%-off full-price tickets. Register here. (you must be logged into your account for code to apply.)

According to the New Zealand HeraldQueensland’s Whitsunday Islandsmay go up for sale for a reported A$1 billion. The price is five times what the current owners, the Oatley family, paid for the island two decades ago. The winemakers bought Hamilton Island for nearly A$200 million in 2003. The island property, wedged between the Whitsunday Islands National Park and the coral of the Barrier Reef, was developed in the early 1980s and includes resort accommodation, an 18-hole golf course, and the Hamilton Great Barrier Reef Airport, which is also part of the sale. The Oatley family has invested more than $450 million in tourism infrastructure since then, according to the Australian Financial Review. The Australian reported that prospective investors have already been hosted on the island resort.

IHG Hotels & Resorts and Franze Developments have opened Geelong’sfirst major newbuild hotel in around 20 years, the Holiday Inn & Suites Geelong. It marks a significant milestone for Victoria, Australia’s biggest regional city. The hotel will anchor the $200 million mixed-use Geelong Quarter. The hotel is the largest in the Geelong and Bellarine region, featuring 180 rooms, 23 suites, Holiday Inn’s signature open lobby, all-day dining, meeting and event spaces, and a heated indoor pool and gym. A range of food and beverage options is integrated into the Open Lobby with Adrian Richardson’s Maestro restaurant on Level One. The hotel is an hour’s drive from Melbourne’s central business district near the upcoming Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Lemon Tree Hotels signed a 48-room hotel in Mashobra in the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The hotel is expected to open by the first quarter of 2026 and will be managed by Carnation Hotels, the hotel management subsidiary of Lemon Tree. This follows two recent signings by Lemon Tree, the 60-room Lemon Tree Hotel, Bhubaneswar in Odisha, and the 50-room Lemon Tree Mountain Resort, Kasauli, in Himachal Pradesh.

The initial public offering of SAMHI Hotels will open this Thursday for subscription and will close on Monday, September 18th. The public issue of equity shares comprised a fresh issuance worth Rs 1200 crore and an offer for sale of up to 13.5 million equity shares. SAMHI Hotels fixed the price band at Rs 119 to Rs 126 per equity share for its maiden public offer.  

Aman is entering an unprecedented period of growth with plans to add to its 34 luxury hotels with another 11 hotels and resorts over the next four years for its Janu brand. Aman last week was given the news that it would receive an investment of $360 million from UAE royals and their investment corps, including Mubadala Investment Co. and Alpha Wave Ventures. Janu will open its first property in Tokyo later this year. Aman plans to open Janu hotels in Thailand, South Korea, Maldives, Turkey, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Turks & Caicos, and Montenegro. Vladislav Doronin owns Aman, but it has received most of its funding from Middle East sources.

Personnel News

BWH Hotels announced Rod Munro’s appointment to Managing Director of Operations for Australia and New Zealand. He will relocate from Brisbane to Sydney and start his role at BWH Hotels in October. Munro recently served as Vice President of Operations – Australasia for Stamford Hotels & Resorts.

Alan Woinski
September 12th, 2023 at 7:41 AM EDT

Companies: Accor, Aman Group, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, Carnation Hotel Private Limited, Country Garden, Ennismore, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Janu, JO&JOE, Lemon Tree Hotels, Orient Express, Samhi Hotels

Locations: Australia, Bangkok, Brisbane, China, Geelong, Himachal Pradesh, Hong Kong, Macau, Melbourne, New Zealand, Queensland, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sydney

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