has announced an updated projection on hotel openings for the Asia Pacific region, labelling the three-year outlook for an
additional 26 hotels (over the current 34) as “cautious”. More than a quarter
will be new-generation properties that emphasise the group’s ambition to
develop and refresh its Asia Pacific portfolio.
Speaking at a press briefing in Hilton Singapore, President for Middle East and
Asia Pacific, Mr Koos Klein said that aside from Hilton Sydney, which is owned
outright by the Hilton group, the expansion would be “driven without financial
“Hilton’s growth in Asia Pacific will draw on the strength of our relationships
with our business partners. The lion’s share of our short-term growth will
come through franchise and management agreements.”
“In terms of franchising, our strategy is to partner only with proven,
well-capitalized partners that have a successful track record for business.
This will enable Hilton to expand rapidly and with less risk.”
recently announced a franchise agreement with
EIH and Oberoi Hotels, which will see nine Trident Hilton hotels in India
effective January 1 in 2004.
Commenting on the ‘new generation’ hotels, Klein said the contemporary
designs would be achieved by scaling furnishings and materials back to basics while still maintaining a sense of luxury and class.
“The new direction arises from a design blueprint that was developed in 1999.
The objective was to design a hotel product that is modern and fresh, but not
so fashionable that it appeals only to a niche market. It takes time to move
from the drawing board to the final product and we are now seeing the fruition
of those plans.”
‘New-look’ Hiltons already operating in the Asia Pacific Region include Hilton
Auckland, Hilton Chongqing and Hilton Melbourne Airport. Hilton International
will add Hilton Kuala Lumpur and Hilton Sydney to the list next year, with five
more to follow soon after.
Klein also confirmed the group’s plans to become a major player in the Asia
Pacific leisure market with an additional nine Hilton Worldwide Resorts to add
to the existing four. The anchoring point for all resorts will be a full spa and
treatment rooms. The group will tap into its 6.4 million active Hilton HHonors
loyalty program members and the rising number of Asian travellers to promote
a leisure experience with the acclaimed Hilton standards.
Hilton International’s focus on Asia is based on the powerful demographic and
economic growth in the region despite the trying economic times.
“Aside from the recent SARS period, Asia Pacific performed well both as a
destination and as a market throughout the 2001 and 2002 years.
“The movement of holidaymakers is supported by governments who have
realized the net benefit of tourism and who are now investing vast sums to
develop international marketing campaigns. Add to this the global publicity
from the month-long World Cup in Korea, the spotlight on Australia during the
2000 Olympics and the focus on China in the lead up to 2008 Olympics and the
awareness of Asia Pacific as a destination – and as a holiday destination - is at
an all-time high. Hilton will be positioned to capitalize on this.”
Hilton International currently operates 34 Hilton properties in the Asia Pacific