Travel News: Hotel chain expansion in Asia!

In this week’s Travel News I’m focusing on global hotel chains expanding in Asia, launching new brands or hotel concepts and opening new properties, with news from Hilton, Accor and Wyndham! 

Asia is a fast growing travel market and airlines in Asia have added new planes and routes at a frantic pace – and airlines are not the only ones. Between the fast growth and the small share of chain hotels (much smaller than in the US), the big, global hotel chains have two good reasons to invest and expand to get their share of the pie!

Hilton GI Bali PoolNightHilton is bringing it’s mid-scale Hilton Garden Inn brand to Indonesia and is opening the first hotel on Bali, near the international airport and a short drive from Kuta Beach! You find more Conrad, Hilton and Doubletree properties in the region and it makes perfect sense to go further down market, where there is lots of growth and a lot fewer offers from recognized brands. I’m not so sure about the location near the airport, but I will try it out on my next trip to Bali and will report back. Hilton HHonors members will be happy to know that it is only 5,000 points/night – worth $25, a good deal for a mid-scale hotel, even on low-cost Bali!

Accor is launching their Novotel Suites brand in South East Asia. I noticed signs here in Manila, announcing one at the Aqua Residential complex. The Novotel Suites Manila is a mix of hotel and residences and also offers fractional ownership. While the Aqua is not in the best part of town – it’s on the “wrong” side of the river – the photos of the property looks stunning, from the lobby and pool to the rooms. I’m not a fan of “fractional ownership” (time-shares, vacation clubs or whatever you want to call them) as they are often a bad investment, but I’d love to check out the rooms on a staycation!
There is another Novotel Suites planned for Hanoi, Vietnam – it will be interesting to see, how they do!

Ramada Encore Bali BedWyndham Hotels is one of the largest chains globally with almost 8,000 hotels worldwide – and while somebody love them and their reward program, most people (and travel bloggers) ignore them. I’ve started to look into them when I noticed the opposing views about Wyndham during the ongoing Daily Getaway Promotion where you can buy Wyndham Rewards points. Most of the Wyndham group hotels are budget hotels in the US, but their Wyndham, Ramada, Days Inn and Super 8 brands are growing quickly in Asia. Based on the pictures I’ve seen, most of their new hotels in Asia look much nicer than the tired, old motels I’ve seen in the US! Interestingly, they are also launching new concepts: For example, the Ramada brand, which already has the Ramada, Ramada Plaza and Ramada Limited flavors, is getting another, local flavor: Ramada Encore! They are newly built, budget hotels with some more pizzaz – and those rooms look a lot nicer than the first (and last) Ramada I ever stayed at! Color me intrigued, I’ll have to look more into Wyndham, their brands and rewards program.

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