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Global hotel pulse: Asia/Pacific news
September 27 2011

In this month’s roundup of hotel news from the Asia/Pacific region: Marriott, Starwood, Caesars continue aggressive expansion plans; business-traveler survey reveals key trends; Royal Orchid to add Indian mid-market brand. each week features a news roundup from a different region of the world. Today’s review covers Asia/Pacific.

Regional hotel performance
In year-over-year measurements, the Asia/Pacific region’s occupancy ended August virtually flat with a 0.1% increase to 68.1%, average daily rate increased 12.2% to US$142.86, and revenue per available room jumped 12.3% to US$97.32.

“We see almost equal demand and supply growth across Asia/Pacific, keeping occupancy levels steady for the moment,” said Elizabeth Randall, managing director of STR Global. “Average room rates continue to improve against the prior year. Looking at Japan, five months post the tragic events in March, hoteliers reported 81% occupancy, matching August 2010 results.  Demand is returning month on month and we would expect it to soon grow again against last year.”

Business-travel survey outlines Asia/Pac trends
The Accor Asia Pacific Business Travel Research 2011 report indicated some key trends for the region, to which Accor is planning to respond with its hotel offerings, according to the survey manager.

There were 10,347 Asia/Pacific-based business travelers surveyed about their travel habits during the first half of 2011 and their planned business travel for the rest of the year.

Highlights of the findings include:
• Singapore and Hong Kong are the most popular destinations for business travel in the region, with each receiving 38% of answers from destinations traveled to for business in the first half of 2011.
• Travelers from Hong Kong are most likely to burn the midnight oil, with 14% working between midnight and 6 a.m., compared to 7% on average, while survey participants from Australia and New Zealand were most likely to work early—35% and 38% working from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., respectively.
• Survey respondents are most likely to book hotels directly online (57%), followed by hotels booked by a secretary (46%), online agents (26%), and contacting a travel agent (16%).

Read “Business-travel survey outlines Asia/Pac trends.”

Royal Orchid to add Indian mid-market brand
Hotel chain operator Royal Orchid Hotels Limited plans to add a new brand in the Indian mid-market space in the next couple of months, joining a growing list of hoteliers keen to expand portfolio for the cost-conscious Indian consumer, according to Reuters

"As things emerge, we will be adding categories of hotels so we are planning to add a couple of new brands. These will be in the mid-market space," Managing Director Chender Baljee said in an interview.

"In the five-star segment we have the Royal Orchid brand, in four-star, Royal Orchid Central, and maybe a notch below that we are planning to put another brand," Baljee said, adding a new brand is likely to be launched in the next two months.

Marriott plans record Asia hotel openings
Marriott International said it’s planning a record number of hotel openings for Asia in 2013 to cater to growing demand in the region, Bloomberg reports

The Bethesda, Maryland-based company plans to open about 27 hotels in Asia, the most in a year since it started operations in the region in 1989, said Craig Smith, Asia/Pacific chief operations officer. That’s more than the 17 hotels it opened in 2009, the most so far in one year, he said.

The hotel operator, which manages about 135 hotels in Asia, has 110 hotels under development in the region, Smith said. The majority of new hotel openings will be in China and India, he said, adding Marriott also will open new properties in Thailand and Vietnam. 

AsiaPacific Ad Will Appear Here

Southeast Asia dominates Asia/Pac tourism boom
The latest data released by the Pacific Asia Travel Association showed international visitor arrivals into Asia/Pacific destinations increased 6% year-on-year in June 2011, according to a news release from PATA
. This increase was led by Southeast Asia, which had a growth of 15.5% during June due to the rebound in arrivals to Thailand, strong travel demand within the ASEAN region and an increase in arrivals from China. South Asia experienced a growth of 12% in international arrivals in June due to an increase in European arrivals to destinations such as Nepal, the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

Tourism demand to Japan is slowly recovering as Northeast Asia had a 3.7% increase in arrivals for June 2011, compared to 0.6% in May. Southeast Asia's arrivals will continue to be driven by the growing China and India outbound markets, while European arrivals will continue to be the main contributor to South Asia's growth. With the steadily growing low-cost carrier network, Northeast Asia is expected to see an increase in arrivals from Southeast Asia.

Starwood expansion in India
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has planned 18 new hotels across India by the end of 2015, according to the Business Standard

Commenting on the future plans of Starwood, Dilip Puri, managing director India and regional VP South Asia, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, said, “Starwood considers India as the third largest market after the US and China. It has responded to India’s acute need for mid-market lodging by working with proven development partners to open best-in-class conversion and new-build hotels throughout this dynamic emerging market. We are also planning to develop hotels in the cities like Nagpur, Nashik and Aurangabad."

Caesars launches Asia/Pac expansion
Caesars Entertainment Corporation announced on 23 September its Asia/Pacific debut with the groundbreaking of Caesars Palace Longmu Bay in Hainan, China, according to a news release
. The flagship, 5-star luxury resort represents the first major venture of Caesars Global Life, a non-gaming division created to develop and manage branded luxury hotels, resorts, residences, villas, retail and entertainment destinations around the world. The company's goal is to develop 25 hotels and resorts in China over the next five years.

For the landmark Caesars Palace Longmu Bay, Caesars is partnering with Guoxin Longmu Bay Investment Holding Company Limited a subsidiary of Jiangsu Guoxin Investment Group Limited, one of the premier investment and development companies in China. Guoxin Longmu Bay Investment Holding Company is developing the area for global tourism, which in the first development phase covers approximately five square kilometers with a total investment of RMB 36 billion. Caesars Palace Longmu Bay will be the jewel in the crown with more than RMB 3 billion investment planned.

Openings, deals, etc.
• Hilton Hotels & Resorts opened its eighth Hilton-branded property in Australia in September, the 169-room Hilton Surfers Paradise.
• The Vivanta by Taj – Yeshwantpur hotel opened in Bangalore hotel in September. It is the third branded Vivanta by Taj in Bangalore and has 327 rooms.
• Wyndham Hotel Group announced the entrance of its Days Inn brand into Thailand with the signing of a managed Days Hotel in Phuket Town.
• Holiday Inn Express continues expansion in Thailand with the Holiday Inn Express Phuket Patong Beach Central, expected to open by early 2013.
• Accor has been appointed to manage the Hotel Lighter Quay, formerly called Hotel Viaduct Harbour, which launched under its new identity on 26 September 2011.
• Shangri-La Asia Limited signed an agreement with Huayuan Real Estate Beijing to open a new hotel in Changsha, capital of Hunan Province in south-central China. The 460-room luxury hotel, operated by Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, is scheduled to open in 2015.
• Regal Hotels International announced the signing of a hotel project with Wolong Holding Group to open a 5-star Regal Hotel in Wuhan, Hubei, China scheduled to open in 2014.

Compiled by Stephanie Wharton. 

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