ibis outlines China growth plan

Economy hotel brand ibis has outlined plans to deploy a franchise development model to grow its business in China.

The Accor owned chain hopes tying the new model to its existing ownership and leased strategy will grow its network into new locations across the country.

As part of the initial plan four franchise agreements have been signed, with up to 15 agreements anticipated to be closed during 2010.

The first two of these franchise hotels will open this month, both in downtown Shanghai.

“China is one of the major growth markets internationally for the ibis brand,” explained Gilles Larrivé, senior vice president of ibis Asia.

“The launch of this franchise operating model is an important step in the brands growth strategy. It will allow hotel owners seeking a quality three star international hotel brand to benefit from a strong distribution platform, in market infrastructure and a recognised loyalty program through franchising with the ibis hotel brand.

Under the terms of the franchise agreement, the hotel owner holds the property while ibis provides, through a ten-year agreement, a broad array of hotel management skills and services.

These include assistance during the conception and construction stages, sharp quality control through the ISO 9001 Certification, effective cost management, people development, and its marketing, sales and distribution expertise.

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“The ibis franchise model is an innovative hybrid product developed specifically for expansion in China, providing flexibility for network expansion and a platform to maintain the international quality standards that the ibis brand worldwide stands for,” added Mr Larrivé.

The stimulus expansion of the tourism industry and sustainable economic growth has and will continue to act as a major demand driver for affordable hotels in China.

By 2015, China is expected to become the world’s largest tourist destination as well as the first international outbound market globally; ibis is set to build itself as a brand of choice.

Since entering China in 2004, ibis has opened 38 hotels comprising of 7,224 rooms across 27 cities. This year, will see ibis add hotels in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Suzhou, and Qingdao.

“The ibis hotel brand continues to form a significant part of Accor’s’ expansion in Asia Pacific and around the world,” added Michael Issenberg, chief operating office for Accor Asia Pacific.

“The launch of franchise model will take the expansion of the network throughout the region to a new and accelerated pace.”