Hospitality groups push expansion momentum in APAC

String of hotel signings by Wyndham, IHG and Aquarius International Development signal continued confidence and potential in the region.

IHG launched its newest upscale hotel brand, voco, in the US and Greater China – two of the brand’s fastest growing markets.
IHG launched its newest upscale hotel brand, voco, in the US and Greater China – two of the brand’s fastest growing markets.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Aquarius International Development are some of the hospitality groups which have unveiled aggressive expansion plans and fresh initiatives in Asia Pacific, signalling their continued confidence in the region’s long-term potential.

In the first half of 2020, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts signed 59 new properties across Asia Pacific – an estimated 30% year-on-year growth compared to 1H 2019, marking “a strong show of confidence from owners and developers in our business and our family of brands,” said Joon Aun Ooi, president, Asia Pacific, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts.

Of these, 21 new hotels were signed within Southeast Asia and Pacific Rim (SEAPR), including the debut of the Wyndham Grand and Wyndham Garden brands in Japan, four new hotels in Bangkok, and two in New Zealand. Thirty-eight new hotels were signed in Greater China, with key signings including Wyndham Grand Lishui, Wingate by Wyndham Weihai and Wyndham Garden Wuhan Jianghan.

“While we remain cautiously optimistic on the recovery process, these signings reflect Wyndham’s focus on the long-term horizon and in the Asia Pacific hospitality industry’s ability to recover and bounce back from the pandemic,” said Joon.

IHG launched its upscale hotel brand, voco, in the US and Greater China – two of the brand’s fastest-growing markets. In Greater China, voco marks IHG’s 11th brand entry in the region, where an upcoming voco Hangzhou launch will bring the group's total footprint to 500 hotels.

Created two years ago, voco has saw 12 conversion and new-builds across the UK, Continental Europe, the Middle East and Australia. Next in the pipeline are 28 more properties entering 19 markets over the next five years, and in the next 10 years, another 200 hotels will be added at urban and leisure destinations.

“The brand’s sleep experience, thoughtful interior design, informal service and focus on sustainability have really resonated with guests. We’re excited to be bringing voco to the US and China, as we continue to grow it successfully in our other key markets across the world,” said Keith Barr, CEO, IHG.

On this note, IHG has also stepped up their game for global planners with its ‘Meet with Confidence’ programme. Some safety practices and cleanliness guidelines include clutter-free event spaces to ensure social distancing, visible signage and staggered breaks for crowd management, tapping on outdoor spaces where possible, disinfecting tables and chairs before, after and during events, enhanced food handling procedures, and technology solutions to support virtual and hybrid meets. Zero cancellation charges, no attrition fees for unbooked rooms, up to 5% rebate for master bill and IHG Business Rewards Points are other ways the hotel group hopes will attract events decision-makers.

“The Meet with Confidence programme combines a laser focus on cleanliness as well as flexibility where it’s needed most. Whether it’s for a 10-person meeting, an intimate wedding or a virtual global conference, with more than 5,900 properties in over 100 countries, our diverse family of brands provides exceptional spaces to ensure every meeting, event, or celebration is unforgettable,” said Derek DeCross, SVP, Global Sales.

In the region, Bangkok-based travel and hospitality firm Aquarius International Development (AQI) will from Q4 2020 execute a US$250 million, five-year expansion plan across Southeast. This new ecosystem will cover luxury resorts, residences, yacht charters, private island beach club, F&B services and – an online travel booking and membership services platform for AQI’s elite globetrotters.

Unveiling this year are two projects: Aquarius Residences & Resort, Koh Chang, an exclusive cliff-top eco-retreat, and AQ Privilege Beach Club & Residences, Koh Man Nai, a private island located on Koh Chang’s west coast. The former will open in three phases from 2022.

“We firmly believe in the long-term vitality of the Asian travel and tourism industry, especially at the top-end, and at the heart of this prosperity is Thailand, which benefits from excellent accessibility, global visitor appeal and incredible natural assets,” said Nixon Chung, COO of AQI.