[photopress:hotelspeter_gowers_sm.jpg,full,alignright]InterContinental Hotels plans to double its number of hotels in China to more than 200 by the end of 2010. Take it as an average for the moment that each hotel takes 200 staff on average. Then HC has to be able to find 40,000 in something of a hurry.
InterContinental, which manages 84 hotels in China under four brands, will drive expansion mainly through its mid-range Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express brands which target China’s growing ranks of middle-class travellers,
Asia Pacific Chief Executive Peter Gowers (seen here) said, ”The future in China is about the mass market,’ And he is not aiming low. He said there will eventually be more than 500 Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels in China.
InterContinental already has 51 hotels in Greater China under those two brands but you have to compare that with almost 3,000 in the United States.
The three main contestants in this area are InterContinental, France’s Accor and Wyndham Worldwide and they are all stepping up expansion in China which suggests the struggle for qualified staff will be horrendous.
China is InterContinental’s fastest-growing market and the focus of the company’s expansion in the Asia Pacific region and accounts for about 15 to 20% of global profit.
Gower expects Asia Pacific to catch up with rest of the world in the next five years although the United States will remain InterContinental’s biggest market for at least 10 years.
InterContinental, which also manages Crowne Plaza and its namesake brand in China, plans to introduce the less expensive Indigo brand to China and is looking for properties and partners in Shanghai and Beijing.
Now we come to the problems.
Peter Gowers said, ‘It’s very easy to add new hotels in China. You simply get your name, and you screw it on the door of a hotel. But we’re very careful about growth. We’re building a business in China to last 50 or 60 years, but not building just to get headlines for one year.’
And you need all those people to stand behind the name screwed on the door and make quite certain the customer is served to a certain standard.
For hotels, these are interesting times.
Source: The Guardian