A few years ago, an executive traveler from China, India or Indonesia would probably never have heard of some of the world’s biggest international hotel brands, such as InterContinental, Hilton or Marriot. Today, one is probably opening in their hometown.
Due to booming domestic demand, the Asia-Pacific region is seeing a mushrooming in hotels from international and regional chains. Hilton, for example, plans to grow to 300 hotels in the region over the next six years. Starwood Hotels, which includes the Westin and Sheraton brands, will open 50 new properties in Asia this year, which accounts for nearly 60% of the company’s development in 2012. And in India, Marriott is expanding from 11 to 100 hotels in the next five years.
“By the end of 2013 we’ll have more hotels on China’s Hainan Island than in the [US’s] Hawaiian Islands,” said Matt Fry, Starwood’s senior vice president of development in Asia.
According to the United Nations World Travel Organization, China’s hotel market will overtake the US’s as the world’s largest by 2025, with around six million hotel rooms — and almost double it by 2039.
“The supply of hotel rooms in Asia is still way below North American and European levels,” explained Fry. So the region is playing catch up — and not just in China and India. New hotels are springing up in a variety of destinations, such as Baku, Colombo and Dhaka. Markets like South Korea and Indonesia are also booming.
“As these markets further mature, our global network will benefit from a strong domestic presence in the countries that are destined to become major outbound markets,” said Gaurav Bhushan, chief investment officer at the Accor Asia Pacific hotel group.