Regal Hotels International has signed two more hotel management contracts and may exceed its target of increasing its portfolio to 20 hotels by 2012. 'It's now three years since we set that goal and we have 17 hotels already ... we may achieve more than the target in the end,' said Belinda Yeung Bik-yiu, executive director of Regal. The hotel operator yesterday unveiled that the 17 hotels included a management contract concluded recently for managing a five-star resort hotel in Pattaya, Thailand. Set to open at the end of 2012, the 220-room project will be the company's first resort hotel. Yeung also revealed that Regal also signed a memorandum of understanding with a landlord to operate another hotel 'very close to Hong Kong', but she did not provide more details. Apart from these two new deals, Regal operates six hotels in Hong Kong and has been actively expanding its footprint on the mainland to nine hotels. In September, the company and investor Bosideng Holdings jointly opened Regal Kangbo Hotel in the third-tier mainland city of Dezhou, Shandong province. The 100 metre high building with 22 storeys and 215 rooms is the tallest building and the only five-star hotel in the city. Yeung said the hotel had a room rate of about 400 yuan (HK$466) per night, higher than the average of between 200 yuan and 400 yuan in the city. Targeting mainly business travellers, it had an occupancy rate of around 50 per cent to 60 per cent in the past two weeks, she said. It will also operate the Regal Plaza Hotel Residence in Pudong, Shanghai, which will be open in the coming months. It marks Regal's fourth hotel in Shanghai. Other mainland projects in the pipeline include the five-star Regal Yuhong Hotel in Zhengzhou, Henan, and the four-star Regal Fanhua Centre Hotel in Suzhou, which are set to open in May 2012 and 2013 respectively. 'In the short run, we are going to focus on the Hong Kong and mainland markets ... then we will seek to go international gradually,' Yeung said. 'Our target in the medium term is Southeast Asia, somewhere which is about four hours away from Hong Kong.' The company's Regal Airport Hotel in Hong Kong has been recognised by a business travel magazine in Britain as the best airport hotel in the world for three consecutive years. She said this had boosted the brand name's popularity in Europe and might expand its footprint outside Asia-Pacific when there are suitable opportunities. She added that the company aimed to increase its portfolio to 40 over the long term. Joseph Yung Sai-bun, Regal's vice-president of development, said the company was currently in talks with landlords in Shenzhen, Qingdao, Suzhou and Kunshan. 'We are hoping to be able to conclude three to four deals a year,' Yung said.