IN A radical departure from its traditional model of not investing in real estate, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group in Asia-Pacific will soon announce several property deals which sees it pumping in cash alongside partners, as it brings the midscale Park Inn brand to India, China, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Speaking exclusively to TTG Asia e-Daily, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s Asia-Pacific president, Simon Barlow, said the company would launch the next iteration of Park Inn in India on April 2 through the first of such business deals in the region.
The “fresh, fun, colourful, lively and funky” three-star Park Inn brand would be “positioned between a Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express and between an Ibis and Novotel from both an investment and consumer perspective”, he explained.
Said Barlow: “We’re introducing a very successful brand in Europe to Asia-Pacific. We think the timing is absolutely right because of the burgeoning middle-class wealth that is causing so much more domestic travel in India and China.”
While most of Carlson Rezidor Asia-Pacific’s pipeline today is in the upper upscale segment (Radisson Blu), its future growth will slowly lean towards the midmarket.
Going forward, Barlow listed three broad ways the group would invest in Asia: through joint ventures that deliver multiple hotels, single strategic hotels, and leases or income underwrites.
“We are investing because we need to in order to grow and catch up with large competitors,” he said.
Barlow added that Carlson had traditionally been a franchise organisation. However, following its recent marriage to The Rezidor Hotel Group (TTG Asia e-Daily, February 9, 2012), its contract make-up is now mainly 60 per cent franchised and 40 per cent managed/leased. Going forward, the group intends to focus more on management.
In the second half of this year, Carlson Rezidor Asia-Pacific will also reintroduce the four-star Radisson brand. Having rolled out Radisson Blu in the region last year, it now hopes to draw attention to a refreshed Radisson, which counts the Crowne Plaza, Novotel and Four Points by Sheraton among its competitors.