Good news! For the hotel industry "there is life after the Expo", according to Sanjay Nijhawan, the chief operating officer of Guoman, the Malaysian-owned hotel group that owns the Thistle and Guoman chains in the UK.
Guoman has just built and opened its first hotel on the mainland, overlooking Chang Feng park in the west of Shanghai. With that location, it was unlikely to do much Expo business anyway, but Mr Nijhawan says not only have bookings in the first two months been strong, but October and November are looking rosy too.
In fact, occupancy levels at the new Guoman, which is positioning itself as a high-class business hotel serving Hongqiao airport (around a quarter of its rooms are suites), have touched 75%, according to staff, well ahead of the 40% to 50% target. Jackie Chan is currently in residence – a new museum dedicated to the kung fu star is opening next door.
It had seemed, just a few months ago, that Shanghai had hit saturation point for high-end hotel rooms, with occupancy levels touching lows of 15%-20% ahead of the Expo. With the Peninsula, the Peace Hotel and the Waldorf Astoria all opening on the Bund, it seemed as if there might be an unseemly scrabble for paying guests.
But if the Guoman can fill up in when it is located in the middle of a giant construction site, the others might also be doing rather better than predicted.