Carlson Rezidor upbeat on China hotel prospects
Despite facing slower economic expansion, the mainland will continue to provide ample opportunities to hotel operators owing to the rapid growth of the younger, affluent generation, according to Thorsten Kirschke, the Asia-Pacific president of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.
To put its money where its mouth is, Carlson Rezidor, which has more than 1,300 hotels in 80 countries and territories, has launched a new brand, Radisson Red, with the first one scheduled to open in Shenyang in 2016.
"The mainland economy is normalising slowly from a very high level," Kirschke said. "But if we look at an average of 5 to 7 per cent growth annually … it is still higher than other markets."
And the mainland's population of 1.3 billion provided ample opportunities for many players, he said.
The mainland's headline consumer price index inflation moderated further to 1.6 per cent year on year last month from 2 per cent in August. For the first nine months of the year, it stood at 2.1 per cent year on year.
Carlson Rezidor describes Radisson Red as a "lifestyle brand" focused on "design and personal interaction and technology".
The 300-room Radisson Red Shenyang Hunnan will be part of a twin hotel development, alongside Radisson Blu Shenyang, in the Shenyang National High-Tech Industrial Development Zone, which is home to almost 6,000 enterprises.
Carlson Rezidor's partner in the project is Shenyang New Times Investment, which will own the two hotels.
Kirschke said Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning province, was one of the largest cities on the mainland and had "very affluent spending power".
"The signing of Radisson Red Shenyang Hunnan marks an important milestone for the Radisson Red brand," Kirschke said.
"Of the global target of 60 by 2020, we are confident that half of it will be in Asia-Pacific," he said, adding that 15 to 20 would be in China.
Hilton Worldwide plans to launch its own lifestyle brand, Canopy, next year.
Kirschke said lifestyle brands emerged around 2008 as the industry responded to changing customer trends.