JAPAN'S Prince Hotels Inc has charted a growth strategy of expanding in Asia, particularly China and South-east Asia, in the next few years.
Part of the Seibu Group, Prince Hotels was established in 1956 and is Japan’s largest domestic hotel company by number of rooms. However, through those decades, its overseas footprint only comprises three hotels and three golf courses in Hawaii, which it owns, and four franchised hotels, three in Taiwan and one in Malaysia.
But following a focus on cost-control in the past seven years, the time is now ripe to revisit its Asian expansion plan, particularly as its main domestic focus has now been established, according to Masahiro Sekine, corporate director-managing administrator.
It intends to expand through management and franchise agreements and has already secured two management contracts in China, one a ski resort and the other a hotel, opening in December 2013 and in 2014 respectively.
The hotel management arm, Prince Hotels & Resorts, operates three brands, The Prince, Grand Prince Hotel and Prince Hotel.
Sekine and other Prince Hotels senior executives were at the Hotel Investment Conference Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong last month to study the market and seek opportunities.
Stan Brown, corporate director-executive adviser business management division, said opportunities in South-east Asia would include locations with a strong presence of Japanese factories, such as Vietnam.
“Prince Hotels is so established in Japan. It has years of experience in managing hotels and is a brand that can bring Japanese business to you,” he said.
A capital investment of 10 billion yen (US$125.8 million) has also been set aside to upgrade existing key properties in the portfolio.