UK-based InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) retains its number one position in the world, surpassing the 600,000 room mark.
Meanwhile, Hilton Hotels recorded the largest growth among the top 10 at 9.3%, bringing their global room count to over half-a-million.
Projects already launched prior to the financial downturn transpired in 2008, hence why there are still such positive increases. Although some growth is still expected, the rest of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 will prove to be much slower, with companies acting a lot more cautious in order ride-out the current economic uncertainty. According to Director of Development, MKG Hospitality, Vanguélis Panayotis, franchise contracts will now be the major battle ground for these leading hotel groups.Since 2004, IHG has been the world’s largest hotel group. 25,000 new rooms joined the group’s inventory in the second half of 2008, whilst a pipeline growth of 250,000 over the next few years should make sure IHG remains the world’s number one group. The group’s continued growth was aided by the expansion of Holiday Inn Express, taking advantage of the economy segment’s currently strong position. This was supported with expansion of Crowne Plaza, the arrival of long-stay brand Staybridge Suites and Indigo boutique hotels in Europe, as well as entry into the timeshare market in September with Holiday Inn Club Vacations. Overall, IHG recorded a 5.9% global room supply growth.
Wyndham International trails in second position. The US-based group recorded a 7.7% increase in its rooms supply, edging ever so closely to the number one spot. This growth was predominantly driven by the $131 million acquisition of two brands from Global Hyatt, the economy Microtel Inns and the long-stay product Hawthorn Suites, together adding almost 400 new properties.
Marriott International maintains a high average growth rate of 4.7%, as well as extensive expansion plans - 800 hotels totalling 125,000 rooms, most of which are in an advanced development stage. To further strengthen their presence, the group is undertaking considerable investments in existing brands.
p>Blackstone’s expansion plans for Hilton Hotels, is certainly living up to its expectations, with almost 300 new properties added to the portfolio in 2008. Growth of the La Quinta brand was one of the main contributors, almost doubling its room inventory since it joined the fold in 2006.
Making up the top five, Accor Group is fast approaching half-a-million rooms, recording a growth of 3.7%. This is indeed a positive turnaround after a 5.6% decrease in 2007 - caused by the disposals of Red Roof Inns and around forty Dorint hotels. The group managed to open its 800th Ibis brand in 2008 (Shanghai, China), and together with strong growth from Etap Hotels and Formule 1, cements its position in the global budget/economy sector. Overall, Accor’s expansion plans continue to remain a priority, with 105,000 new rooms planned. The group is also intending to carry on with the business model transformation strategy and re-organisation of brands: repositioning of Sofitel as a luxury brand and creating new lines, such as Sofitel Luxury, So by Sofitel and Sofitel Legend; the launch of upscale business brand Pullman, and for leisure guests MGallery; as well as All Seasons in the non-standardised 2* segment.
Recording a global room supply growth of 4.5%, American franchiser Choice Hotels has not shifted position in the ranking. Upscale brand Cambria expanded rapidly with 12 hotels in operation and a pipeline of 61 properties. In order to better diversify its supply, the group is considering the creation of two new upscale brands, a full service, as well as an extended stay concept.
Although global supply decreased by just over one 1%, Best Western development in Europe is strong, particularly in France. The highlight of 2008 was no doubt the opening of the group’s first 5-star property in Europe (Prague). The upscale Premier label is gaining importance, with its arrival in China and Dubai.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts room supply increased by 3.7%. Revitalisation of Sheraton, now 70% complete, is beginning to pay off, with supply growing by more than 10 hotels despite the disappearance of twenty or so hotels that no longer correspond to new standards. Starwood will soon be able to count on two new brands, Element and Aloft, whilst W Hotels’ expansion throughout EMEA will also surely make its presence felt.
With just over 150,000 room, representing a 2% increase, Carlson ranks 9th. The opening of Radisson St Martin Resort, Marina & Spa confirms global appeal of the group’s key brand, whilst the goal of 20,000 rooms in operation or under development in Asia-Pacific has been reached. In Europe, Carlson announced its desire to increase its holdings in Rezidor (currently owning 44%), a group which promises to have a dynamic growth.
Completing the top ten, Global Hyatt recorded a global room supply decline of 17.4%. This however was a direct influence of the group’s strategy to concentrate on its upscale segment. Apart from this, all other brands experienced solid growth. Launched over two years ago, Hyatt Place already has more than 130 properties.