International chains in China end 2015 on high note

The year 2015 ended on an upbeat note for several international hotel brands in China, with several expanding their portfolios of properties in both familiar and new territory within the planet’s largest hospitality market.

Up in China’s north, AccorHotels announced on December 10 that it would add 525 rooms to its portfolio in Beijing. The additions will be spread over three hotels. The 75-room Mercure Beijing Luneng is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2017 and the 300-room Pullman Beijing Luneng and 150-room MGallery Beijing Luneng are both slated to open in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The three Accor-branded properties will bring the company’s Beijing portfolio to a total of 14 hotels under six brands. All three hotels are collaborations with Luneng Group, a residential and commercial property developer that is counted among the country’s 100 largest. Luneng Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of State Grid Corp of China.

“This unprecedented strategic partnership in the city involves three distinctive brands that will enable us to better cater to our guests’ needs while further strengthens our presence in the luxury and upscale segment which continues to be one of the key growth engines for AccorHotels’ expansion in China,” said Paul Richardson, AccorHotels’ chief operating officer for Greater China.

Down in China’s south, Marriott Hotels opened its new 340-room Shenzhen Marriott Hotel Nanshan on December 8. The hotel’s opening gives Marriott an additional presence in the large Shenzhen market, joining the JW Marriott Hotel Shenzhen Bao’an.

Shenzhen is one of the largest of the nine cities that make up the Pearl River Delta (PRD), China’s wealthiest region. In 2014, the PRD accounted for $700 billion in gross domestic product - not including adjacent Hong Kong and Macau. Shenzhen has emerged in recent years as south China’s most important technology and innovation hub.

“The Pearl River Delta is an important economic powerhouse in China and Shenzhen Marriott Hotel Nanshan is its newest gem,” said Henry Lee, chief operations officer at Marriott International, Greater China.

Further inland in central China, which is emerging as the country’s new economic driver, Hilton Worldwide opened its first property in Hunan province, raising the number of Hilton-branded hotels in China to 32. The company operates more than 60 hotels in China at present. Hilton Worldwide will be ramping up its China presence significantly in the coming years - it has 180 hotels planned.

The newest Hilton in China, Hilton Zhuzhou, is located in the city of Zhuzhou, which along with Hunan’s provincial capital Changsha and the nearby city of Xiangtan is emerging as one of the more dynamic economic clusters in central China.

“We are pleased to add Hilton Zhuzhou to our China portfolio as we continue to strengthen our presence in important locations across the country where our guests want to travel to, including gateway cities, economic hubs and major tourist destinations,” said Bruce McKenzie, SVP of operations for Greater China and Mongolia at Hilton Worldwide.