Japanese hotel brand Prince Hotels and parent company Seibu Holdings is poised to expand its global presence and enter the major SEA hospitality markets through gateway cities such as Singapore. This comes after the acquisition of Australian hotel management group StayWell Holdings, a collaboration which sees the companies come together with a combined network of 72 open and operating hotels worldwide.
At the intimate media announcement (hence the lack of photos from the event) held at the Park Regis Singapore, we asked the following questions to Victor Katsutoshi Osumi, managing executive office (MEO) of Prince Hotels, and Simon Wan, president and director of StayWell Holdings. Here’s what they had to say:
Victor Osumi, Prince Hotels
How can Prince Hotels tap on the global expertise of StayWell Holdings?
The partnership with Prince Hotels will allow StayWell Holdings to meet its ambitions of expanding worldwide whilst tapping on its global expertise over the next few years.
StayWell Holdings currently has an existing network of 21 open and operating hotels, with a further 14 hotels that are committed and opening over the next few years in India, Australia, Bahrain, Indonesia, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
When we were looking to expand Seibu Holding’s hotel and leisure business, we had two requirements in mind: a company that can speedily develop to achieve the globalization of Prince Hotels, and a company that has a track record of development in large areas with room for future economic growth, such as India, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
Not only does StayWell meet these two criteria, they have sales and development offices overseas, as well as managerial competency, so we deemed them to be the best fit and one we can tap on for our global expansion.
Why does Prince Hotel see Singapore as a key gateway city for entrance into major hospitality markets?
As one of the fastest growing market in the region, Singapore saw over 17 million inbound travellers to the country in 2017 alone, of which about 800,000 travellers come from Japan. This means that Singapore is a key hub for travellers and its central location provides a strong connectivity to key markets in the region.
Indeed, it attracts people and businesses to its shores whilst making the country a crucial one for us as we strengthen our foothold in gaining access to the rest of the region.
We want to capitalise on the growth opportunity of Southeast Asia as it becomes the world’s fifth largest economy by 2020. We are doing this by ensuring that we have a strong presence in the key emerging markets, catering to our customers visiting the region.
Simon Wan, StayWell Holdings
How is maintaining an asset-light approach important to hotel management especially in 2018?
Until now, in Japan, Prince operated hotels with their company’s own assets. In the future, we want to leverage the operation knowhow that we have accumulated on hotel management and balance our overall combined portfolio.
What are your strategies and plans for expansion within Southeast Asia, including pipeline hotels due to open?
We have many plans in the pipeline to expand in Southeast Asia, particularly following the acquisition.
StayWell currently has three properties due to open in Southeast Asia in the coming years, which we are very excited about. At the moment, this includes two properties in Indonesia (Jakarta and Bali) and one in Thailand.
This comes at an exciting time as we see the region as one with strong potential for future economic growth and one which we will be focussing on.