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AccorHotels’ development chief Bhushan talks ‘historic year’

Accor Gaurav Bhushan

AccorHotels’ Global Chief Development Officer, Gaurav Bhushan, has told a packed International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) crowd in Berlin he expects the company to continue its phenomenal growth.

He said 2015 was a record year for AccorHotels, with the company opening 229 new hotels, or a total of 36,172 rooms, at a rate of two hotels every three days.

At the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) 2016, Global Chief Development Officer for AccorHotels, Gaurav Bhushan, comments,

“2015 was a historic year for AccorHotels’ expansion,” he said. “We crossed the symbolic milestone of half a million rooms with a 20% increase in the number of openings last year.

“We have a record pipeline of 160,000 rooms, and our objective is to maintain profitable expansion, strengthen our presence in the countries where we are leaders and rapidly acquire market share in emerging markets.”

Geographically speaking, Bhushan said the accelerated expansion drive focused on Asia Pacific with 39% of rooms opened (14,000 new rooms) and Europe with 37% (13,500 new rooms).

The year also featured remarkable openings in key markets like the Pullman The Park Lane Hong Kong (834 rooms), the Pullman Roissy CDG (305 rooms) or the Novotel Muenchen City Arnulfpark (204 rooms), Bhushan said, as well as landmark deals such as the signing of 50 hotels in Angola, strategic partnerships with Alesayi Group (1,650 rooms) and Al Rajhi Investment Group (2,500 rooms) in Saudi Arabia, the opening of the Pullman Cayo Coco (518 rooms) in Cuba and of the Novotel and ibis Ikia (492 rooms) in Teheran, in Iran.

He said 92% of expansion was through franchise and management contracts, “reflecting the strength of the brand portfolio and the Group’s appeal among hotel investors”.

Bhushan said though the breakdown by segment is generally well-balanced, this year Mercure posted the strongest growth with 59 new hotels, followed by ibis, which added 44 new establishments to its network and then by Pullman with opened 17 new addresses.

At the end of December 2015, the Group had a pipeline of 160,000 rooms and close to 50% is located in Asia Pacific, which is the “Group’s real engine of organic growth”, Bhushan said.

After opening 23,000 rooms in 2013, 30,000 in 2014, 36,000 in 2015, and with over 54,000 rooms already signed for over the last few months, the Group’s expansion is set to continue at a “robust pace in the coming period”, Bhushan said.

The Group has also taken action to bolster its expertise in the luxury sector with an agreement with the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) of Saudi Arabia and Oxford Properties, for the acquisition of FRHI that holds 155 prestigious establishments under the Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel brands by mid-2016.

At the beginning of 2016, AccorHotels also sealed its strategic alliance with China’s Huazhu Group, which will accelerate the expansion of its brands in China with the opening of 350 to 400 hotels over the next five years.

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