With 18 hotels already in operation and 27 projects in the pipeline, Meliá Hotels International is further expanding its footprint by taking more sub-brands like Innside and Sol to Indonesia, China, Malaysia and Thailand.
The first Innside by Meliá in China is a 335-room property that launched in Zhengzhou in August, 2017. This will be followed by Innside Halong (2019), Innside Iskandar Johor (2020) and the 176-room Innside Bangkok Sukhumvit (2021), set to be the brand’s first in Thailand.
On the potential in China, global development managing director Maria Zarraluqui said the four-star Innside brand caters to tech-savvy millennials who appreciate communal-style social spaces, a segment that has a place in a market as big as China.
She also suggested that the five-star, lifestyle ME by Meliá brand “also has potential to do very well in tier-one, -two and -three cities with strong lifestyle components”.
And while the all-inclusive Paradisus by Meliá concept is only in the Caribbean so far, Zarralugui said “we are convinced that it would work in this part of the world (Asia)”.
“We have been analysing opportunities in China, Indonesia and Thailand and really think there is a need for this brand as there is clientele but not really an offer in the market. You can see a little bit of Club Med but they are not offering that kind of luxury so we are working to bring it up,” she continued.
“In China, instead of having a beach as a main attraction, we can develop strong attractions like mountain and hotspring resorts with strong leisure components in areas such as Yunnan and Sichuan provinces.”
The group is also working to get into new markets like the Philippines, which it sees as still quite undeveloped, but with great potential to be up-and-coming given its leisure strengths.
Zarralugui added: “We are talking about an (entry-level) brand like the four to five-star Meliá but also analysing the opportunity for the mid-scale Sol brand, which is purely a leisure brand that (comprises) both Sol Beach and Sol Beach House concepts, catering for millennials plus families.”
At the moment, Meliá has three Sol properties in operation – Sol Beach House Phu Quoc (Vietnam), Sol House Bali Legian and Sol Beach House Benoa (Bali). Another Sol is undergoing rebrand in Koh Samui, while Sol House Jimbaran is slated to open in 2020.
Meanwhile, in terms of target sales markets, South Korea is on the wishlist and the company has been actively looking for representation there.