AccorHotels’ ibis Bangkok Siam in Bangkok
ACCORHOTELS is defending its aggressive expansion programme in Thailand amid the prevailing oversupply of hotel rooms in Bangkok.
Accor currently has 60 properties with close to 14,000 rooms across Thailand, and in the capital of Bangkok alone, it has 24 hotels with almost 7,000 rooms.
By 2019, it plans to add to this a further 17 properties, eight in Bangkok, translating to another 4,000 rooms, shared Patrick Bassett, COO, AccorHotels, Upper Southeast & Northeast Asia.
Accor’s expansion in Thailand is done in response to the continued growth of international arrivals in the South-east Asian country, which has seen double-digit percentage growth year-over-year since 2010, peaking at 29.9 million arrivals last year. Thailand’s Department of Tourism anticipates visitors to reach 45 million by 2020.
“In 2015, our intra-Asian market grew by 39.6 per cent year-over-year, while Europe expanded by 14.5 per cent, Oceania by 34.9 per cent and the Americas by 17.9 per cent. As a gateway city, Bangkok benefits greatly from these visitors. The enduring popularity of Thailand and Bangkok continue to appeal to investors,” Bassett told TTG Asia e-Daily.
Bill Barnett, managing director of consultancy C9 Hotelworks, explained that “room oversupply is a long-term problem in Bangkok as hotels tend to be part of the assets of local family groups who see themselves as owners, not sellers”.
“(Post global financial crisis), a significant trend has been large listed property firms adding hospitality assets to their portfolios for the purpose of mitigating risk and ensuring there is recurring income should the property market cool down.”
As for Accor, Bassett added that there are pockets of unmet demand in the Thai capital even considering the existing room inventory excess.
“Some of Bangkok are still underserved by international brands and distribution systems, presenting investors with compelling opportunities.”
An example, he said, is the area around Impact Exhibition and Convention Centre, which is set to undergo development and receive new attractions including a theme park, marina, restaurants and shops.
“The 380-room Novotel Bangkok Impact already services visitors to the area, but we will be opening the 600-room ibis Bangkok Impact in 2019 to meet growing demand,” Basset said.