| The Gran Meliá Shanghai
PALMA DE MALLORCA, Spain—The strategic alliance of Sol Meliá and Jin Jiang International Hotel Management Company Limited is seen as the first step in a larger management and development partnership, according to a Sol Meliá executive.
The alliance—an agreement to cooperate in respective markets on marketing, sales, operations, and development—was announced Friday. Jin Jiang did not reply to a request for comment.
It’s a unique agreement in that Jin Jiang will help Sol Meliá “to land” in China, according to Luis del Olmo, executive VP of marketing and Asia for the company.
Sol Meliá has more than 300 hotels with 76,000 rooms in 26 countries under its brands Gran Meliá, Meliá, ME by Meliá, Innside by Meliá, Tryp by Wyndham, Sol and Paradisus.
“The first step in our development plan in China is to increase our brand awareness and positioning our brands to the local consumer in the short term, and as such create a door-opener in order to increase our presence in the country,” he said. “We will build our presence with the support of their leadership in this country.”
Del Olmo said it is important for a company that wants the Chinese consumers’ business to have a presence in China.
Luis del Olmo
Executive VP of marketing and Asia
Likewise, Jin Jiang views the alliance as an avenue for exporting its hotels and management culture to European cities, “in line with the growing importance of China as a feeder market for European destinations,” said Yang Wei Min, managing director and CEO of parent company Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels Group Company Limited, in a statement.
Jin Jiang owns, manages and franchises more than 700 hotels with approximately 100,000 rooms across its portfolio of brands in China including Jin Jiang, Marvel, Jin Jiang Inn, Magnotel and Bestay.
This is the first alliance Jin Jiang has made with a European hotel brand, according to del Olmo.
“They have chosen us as a partner to market their hotels selected in Europe equally to our expectations in the Chinese market,” he said.
The initial plan
The initial plan will focus on six hotels managed by each company in major Chinese cities and major European cities. They are: the Jin Jiang Tower and Marvel hotel in Shanghai; the Xinai Jin Jiang hotel in Beijing; the Jin Jiang Sanya Royal Garden Resort in Sanya; the Wuhan Jin Jiang International Hotel in Wuhan; and the West Capital International Hotel in Xi’an. In Europe the agreement will apply to: the Meliá Barcelona and Meliá Madrid in Spain; the Meliá White House in London; the Meliá Berlin; and the Meliá Royal Alma and Tryp François in Paris.
Del Olmo said the hotels will not immediately change their respective brands, but Sol Melia did not exclude the possibility of co-managing some of the Chinese hotels in the future.
“The agreement is based on hotel product and service development, marketing and sales, reservation systems and loyalty programs, but we will also create ‘mixed teams’ in the 12 hotels to ensure the cultural adaptation of the reception areas, guestrooms, and food and beverage services to European and Chinese preferences,” he said.
The next step
The next step for the two companies will involve increasing partnership on business.
“Once we have created mutual confidence, we will be able to share common investments, commercial policies, etc.,” del Olmo said. “We must bear in mind that Sol Meliá is reinforcing its corporate structure in China, and that means having people from Spain and China working together, so we will certainly improve our understanding of the area.”
What is unclear from Jin Jiang’s perspective is how or if its ownership involvement in other companies, such as United States third-party management company Interstate Hotels & Resorts, will factor in to future work with Sol Meliá.