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Fairmont-Raffles group outlines three-year growth plan

31 Oct 2010

The Asia-Pacific is providing an important focal point for Fairmont-Raffles Hotels International, which is actively seeking contracts in many countries in the region.

The parent company which also manages the Swissotel chain, is keen on China, India and Saudi Arabia, boasting several projects coming online and a porfolio of signed contracts.

“In China, we are looking at a dozen opportunities with a target of 30 hotels,” said James Kaplan, the parent company’s senior vice-president, global development, recently told Business Traveller.
 
Sanya, a popular resort destination in southern China, has one property under development and two more are targeted in the next three years. With hotels already established in Beijing (Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel), Shanghai (Fairmont Peace Hotel and Swissotel) and in the picturesque Kunshan (Fairmont Yangchang Lake and Swissotel), Fairmont-Raffles is eyeing the secondary cities of Nanjing, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Tianjin and Dalian.

“[In Guangzhou and Shenzhen] meetings and incentives will be the main driver – we will have fairly large meeting spaces,” Kaplan revealed.

The company also hopes to acquaint Chinese travellers with its own brand of luxury products such as the Fairmont Gold tier, which provides customers with a heightened sense of exclusivity through larger guestrooms and dedicated staff personified by the “Gold manager” – a kind of personal assistant – and the Gold butlers. They will likewise have access to the Gold Lounge, a feature of all Fairmont properties. It is where private check-in and check-out take place.

In other areas in Asia-Pacific such as Jakarta, a Raffles is under construction and a Fairmont will go public in Bali in January. The Makati financial district in Metro Manila will welcome a Fairmont next year.

In India, the company has three signed contracts in Bangalore, with a recently opened hotel in Calcutta and two Fairmont hotels under construction. Jaipur gets a Fairmont in a few months.

The company is opening a Swissotel and a Fairmont in Saudi Arabia this month and early 2011 respectively. “We have an enormous project in Mecca,” Kaplan said. The Abraj Al Bait towers which will house a Raffles, Fairmont and Swissotel, will be the largest building in the world by mass and will include other hotels and a retail and residential development. Fairmont Hotel will be located in the centre, just under the Clock of Islam feature.

Early next year, hotels will be coming up in Jeddah and Riyadh as well as a Fairmont resort in Muscat in 2012
 
The iconic Raffles hotel in Singapore is also looking at a full renovation.”We’ll reprogram retail, add a ballroom and 40 to 50 rooms. The government has given permission to increase the gross floor area,” Kaplan said.

Kaplan is not worried about oversupply. He said :”The hotel business is cyclical. These markets in 10 year time will say there are not enough hotels.” He added that New York has as many international standard hotel rooms as the whole of India, so there is definitely room for improvement. “Moscow will be undersupplied when I retire.”.

For more about Fairmont-Raffles, visit www.frhi.com

Andrea Zavadsky and Alisha Haridasani

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