Accor to open 10 more Ibis

Accor to open 10 more Ibis

Company optimistic about Thai tourism

The image shows Ibis Sytles hotel in Ao Nang area of Krabi, one of a popular tourist destination in the South of Thailand. (Photo courtesy of Ibis)
The image shows Ibis Sytles hotel in Ao Nang area of Krabi, one of a popular tourist destination in the South of Thailand. (Photo courtesy of Ibis)

AccorHotels will continue to expand its Ibis budget chain in Thailand during the economic downturn to serve rising demand from tourists.

The French hotel group plans to open 10 more Ibis hotels in Thailand by 2018, up from 11 at present with 2,461 rooms.

Paul Stevens, Accor's vice-president for Novotel, Mercure and Ibis operations in upper Southeast Asia, said Ibis has been the group's fastest-growing brand in the past few years.

Hotel investors prefer budget hotels because they require less money and break even faster.

"Competition among budget hotels is getting more intense as more international chains introduce budget hotel brands in Thailand," Mr Stevens said. "Moreover, there are more budget hotels being developed by Thai hoteliers as well."

He added that Ibis is buoyed by its global network and quality of service that consistently brings guests back.

Accor is currently running a marketing campaign on social media to attract Thai tourists. As part of its eight-year anniversary in Thailand, the company is offering an 888 baht per night promotion, including breakfast, at its Ibis hotels in Bangkok, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Samui, Phuket and Krabi.

Mr Stevens voiced confidence in the prospects for Thai tourism on the back of growing foreign arrivals to the country.

This year, the Tourism Authority of Thailand forecast that Thailand would welcome more than 30 million foreign tourists, up from 29.8 million last year.

Accor itself has plans to open 17 new hotels with 4,099 rooms in Thailand by 2019, up from 68 hotels with 15,946 rooms currently.

Apart from the 10 additional Ibis hotels, three Novotel hotels, two Mercure hotels and one each for its Sofitel and MGallery by Sofitel brands will be opened.

"We will keep expanding our hotel management operations in Thailand. We hope to have 100 hotels in the next five years," said Mr Stevens.

Youssef El Khomri, executive general manager of Ibis Hotels Thailand, said major hotel guests in the country include Thais, Chinese and Indians. He noted Phuket and Krabi as high competition locations.

During the first half of this year, Ibis performed strongly in Thailand with average occupancy rates of 85%. Revenue per available room rose by nearly 15%.

Mr El Khomri said advance hotel bookings for the coming high season in Hua Hin are also rebounding. There were some room cancellations after a series of bomb attacks hit the seaside resort earlier this month.

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