June 16, 2014 00:00 By Suchat Sritama The Nation 3,864 Viewed
Hotel group strongly focused on expansion locally and overseas to maintain growth
Bangkok-based Minor Hotel Group plans to operate 36 hotels in Thailand and overseas over the next three years, with at least two new brands – Avani and Per Aquum – Dillip Rajakarier, chief executive officer of Minor Hotel Group (MHG), a subsidiary of Minor International (MINT), and chief operating officer of MINT.
Of the plan, the group will open 11 hotels in Thailand offering 1,052 rooms, and 25 hotels overseas with 3,945 rooms. The expansion will be under management contract or own investment.
Currently, the group has 108 hotels in 14 countries, with 13,000 rooms. It owns and manages four brands – Anantara, Oaks, Elewana, and Per Aquum – while other flagship properties, including Four Seasons, Marriott, and St Regis, are under management by a third party.
By end of this year, the group will introduce a new upper mid-scale brand, Avani, to the Thai market, starting with Amari Atrium Hotel, which will be under the management of Minor and will be rebranded Avani. The second Avani will be located on the banks of Chao Phraya River, same place of Anantara. The new property will consist of 200 rooms, scheduled to open by end of 2015. It will be serve mix markets from leisure, to business travellers.
Earlier, Minor took over a hotel in Phuket, which just completed renovations last week, and rebranded it Anatara Phuket Layan Resort & Spa.
The rest of the projects in Thailand will be launched afterward.
For overseas expansion, the group will open hotels in many countries such as Sri Lanka, Maldives, China, Qatar, Oman, Indonesia, India, and Mauritius.
According to Rajakarier, the group will continue to diversify its investment in local and overseas markets to maintain growth.
He said new expansion in overseas would help overall performance even in the current situation where all flagship properties such as Four Seasons and St Regis are slow.
He added that hotel business may not much rebound within third quarter, but will become positive in the last quarter. The key factor for such confidence is the lifting of nationwide curfew on Friday.
MINT’s share price on Friday rose to Bt29, up from Bt23 before the military coup on June. “This is a good sign for the hotel business following lifting curfew,” said Rajakarier.
“The Thai military is running the country with proper planning and care. They can negotiate without using force. I think with curfew lifted, Thai tourism will recover fast as seen after many crisis in the past,” said Rajakarier.
Minor Group strong believed that Thailand remained the regional hub of tourism and expected the country could achieve a target of 28 million arrivals this year, he said, adding foreign tourists would soon return to Thailand.
To prevent possible shortage of skilled labour in the hotel business, Minor will use hotels in Thailand as regional training centres to help produce and enhance staff skills. The move is set to deal with the free flow of labour when the Asean Economics Community takes off in 2015.