Eschewing the consolidation tide currently surging through the global hospitality sector, Marco Polo Hotels has opted to adopt a lean and nimble strategy with expansion limited to Asia and just its existing brands.
President Jennifer Cronin foresees no more than 15 hotels to be added to its stable of 12 Marco Polo and Niccolo hotels in Hong Kong, China and the Philippines in the next five years.
(From left) Schaetz, Marco Polo Ortiga's Frank Reichenbach, Cronin, Marco Polo's Caretti
The company does not see the need to expand beyond these two upmarket brands, said Cronin in Manila Wednesday during the introduction of Niccolo Hotels and its flagship property, The Murray, a Niccolo Hotel, Hong Kong, which will open in October. The first Niccolo hotel debuted in Chengdu in 2015, while upcoming Niccolo hotels will open in Chongqing this August, Changsha in 2018 and Suzhou in 2019.
“We punch above our weight. We’re small but the brand is well-known,” she said. “We make sure we give good returns and (the properties we manage) become iconic hotels.
“When a company gets big, you get lost. The small operating groups are going to be more attractive to owners who want the personal touch, and we want to grow the business together with strong partners,” Cronin added.
Marco Polo’s lean and mean strategy is working, emphasised Philip Schaetz, vice president for sales and marketing, as its hotel performance in January was better than 2016.
Schaetz said the first three quarters of 2016 were “very tough” due to the less-than-favourable international business climate but the company's performance started improving in 4Q2016 and is projected to continue this year.
Cronin said Marco Polo Ortigas in the Philippines will be “the benchmark” for Marco Polo Hotels as the company undergoes a restructuring that includes a widening its global sales network and the appointment of key executives in HR and purchasing roles for the group.
Apart from adding three hotels in the Philippines, the company also has its expansion sights on South Korea and Vietnam, she told TTG Asia.