After opening six hotels, including a new luxury retreat offering, last year, Swiss-Belhotel International is gearing up for a record 2023.

Here, Swiss-Belhotel International Chairman and President, Gavin M. Faull, discusses some of the business highlights from 2022 and reveals the top markets for development in 2023.

We opened six hotels in 2022: Maua Nusa Penida in Bali, Indonesia – the first ever ‘Maua’ branded environment friendly luxury retreat; The Scene Cliff View Villas by Swiss-Belhotel International, Krabi, Thailand, marking our return to that market; Swiss-Belcourt Makassar, Indonesia; Swiss-Belcourt Bogor, Indonesia; Swiss-Belboutique Napier, New Zealand; and Swiss-Belinn Sharq, Kuwait.

We have focused on our staff and executive training through state-of-the-art online real-time training and education systems, and the staff reaction and support has been amazing. Daily and weekly communication with the whole executive team throughout the company was introduced during COVID and has proved to be so much more successful than I could ever imagine. It is amazing – and allows us to almost sit in every office and sit with every team member.

But we are in a “touch, feel and experience” industry – so the personal face-to-face service and communication is critical – and I am now back to my punishing travel schedule of flying twice per week to our operations and projects. This is also the exciting part of being the President – meeting my people and being with my people.

So, Swiss-Belhotel International is back on the road. Back into its expansion mode. Back to meeting the growth of the exciting international hotel industry. Back to excitement.

The surge of international travel over the past six months confirms that we want to meet each other; visit each other; experience each other; leverage off each other. The people of the world are a gregarious and communicative species – we behave differently but we behave similarly.

We have introduced a new experience brand, Maua, the brand name coming from the Maori language in New Zealand – my heritage, my culture, my belief. Maua is about the bringing together of people, of support, of respect, of historical acknowledgement. Our first Maua opened in Nusa Penida, Bali, Indonesia, a very special product on the top of the island of Nusa Penida which has taken the market by storm and has almost been at 100% occupancy from the opening date in June 2022.

We have also opened two new Swiss-Belcourt branded hotels in Makassar and Bogor in Indonesia, an Economy brand that represents apartment-style hospitality product.

We have opened regional offices in Malaysia and in Thailand to meet the huge expansion we have planned for these areas. We expect to open at least 20 hotels in Malaysia and Thailand in the next two years. We have already signed MOUs for many hotels and projects.

We are returning to Brisbane, Australia with the opening of Swiss-Belhotel Brisbane immediately adjacent to the Gaba Sports Ground which has huge international sports events all through the year. We will be well placed for the 2032 Olympics which will be held in Brisbane.

We are in final negotiation on a number of projects in the Philippines; Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, The Middle East, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia and The Middle East. Our corporate goal to double the number of hotels and projects in Swiss-Belhotel International from 125 to 300 by 2025 is well on target.

2023 will be a positive year. It will have its challenges of inflation and economic recession. Success will come from our attitudes rather than the market.

This year, we are opening hotels in Brisbane and Sydney; Melaka and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia; Bangkok in Thailand; East Java, West Java, West Kalimantan, and Papua in Indonesia; and Quezon City, Philippines.

Swiss-Belhotel International will have a record business year and a record development year in 2023. Our projects are showing a 50% growth on 2022. What a trend; what challenges; wow – this is exciting.