Thai hospitality groups go global
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Thai hospitality groups go global

With strong demand around the world, hotel chains are expanding overseas

Centara Hotels & Resorts launched its flagship Centara Grand Hotel in Osaka in 2023.
Centara Hotels & Resorts launched its flagship Centara Grand Hotel in Osaka in 2023.

As the tourism recovery gathers pace across the globe, Thai hospitality groups expanded their presence beyond the domestic market to capitalise on robust demand in many destinations.

Many hotel management companies posted strong profits in 2023, while some even saw their average daily room rate exceed the 2019 level, especially in prime destinations.


SET-listed Minor International (MINT) remains the largest hotel chain from Thailand with more than 75 properties, the majority under management contracts and management letting rights.

The group has 540 hotels across 56 countries in its portfolio, with 23 properties in Thailand under the Anantara, Avani and NH brands, and 517 more overseas.

The group plans to open eight new hotels in the first quarter of this year, including the debut of an Anantara hotel in Austria, part of its strategic expansion in Europe, which is dominated by the NH Hotel Group.

Dillip Rajakarier, group chief executive of MINT and chief executive of Minor Hotels, said the group launched a cross-selling strategy by introducing strong brands from one region to another region.

For instance, the company expanded Asia's well-known Anantara brand to Europe, and Europe's NH Hotel to Asia and the Middle East.

Together with its joint venture partner, Funyard Hotels & Resorts, the group recently opened the first NH hotel in China in Zhengzhou, Henan province. This follows NH Hotel opening its first Asian property in Phuket in 2022.

SET-listed S Hotels & Resorts (SHR) also continued its aggressive overseas expansion. Of its 38 hotels, the lion's share of its portfolio is in the UK, with 27 hotels under the Mercure and Holiday Inn brands.

Meanwhile, its homegrown brands -- SAii and Santiburi -- are concentrated in Thailand and the Maldives. It operates three SAii properties and one Santiburi hotel in Thailand, and one SAii hotel in the Maldives.

The partnership with international brands has expanded with its newest property, SO/Maldives under Accor, completed in November last year.

SHR said it wants to expand in the Mediterranean, coastal Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean region. The company plans to renovate three SAii hotels in Phi Phi, Phuket and Koh Samui.

SHR adopted an asset-light strategy by introducing the SAii brand and building partnerships with other international hotel brands, allocating a budget of 7.5 billion baht for mergers and acquisitions over the next three years.


SET-listed Central Plaza Hotel, the owner of Centara Hotels & Resorts (CHR), operates 51 hotels across eight countries, including 41 properties in Thailand.

Centara Grand was named the "strongest brand" in Thailand last year by Brand Finance.

In 2023, the group launched the Centara Grand Hotel in Osaka as well as Centara in Ubon Ratchathani.

Together with the Centara Ayutthaya slated for December, CHR opened three new hotels last year.

The company expects to open three more hotels in 2024 under the Centra by Centara brand, rebranded as Centara Life, in Surat Thani and Koh Samui, while another property in Rayong has yet to decide on the brand.

The group's third property in the Maldives is scheduled to be ready by late 2024 or early 2025.

CHR wants to focus on development in Southeast Asia, including Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, as well as the Middle East.

The company is also considering joint venture projects in China, said CHR chief executive Thirayuth Chirathivat.


Of the 56 hotels under the ownership and management of SET-listed Dusit International, 17 are in Thailand and 39 are overseas properties.

Major projects in 2023 included two hotels in Nepal and two hotels in Kyoto, Japan.

In Thailand, the group expects to launch a new Dusit Princess hotel in Phatthalung, considered a secondary tourist destination in the South.

The company's flagship Dusit Thani Bangkok is scheduled to open in the second half of this year after the old building was demolished, with the revamp ongoing since 2019.

The new hotel is part of the mixed-use Dusit Central Park project, comprising luxury residences, retail and office spaces.

Siradej Donavanik, vice-president of global development at Dusit International, said the group aims to secure 10 new contracts every year, expanding its presence in Southeast Asia, Japan and Europe.

With 10 hotels in China, including the newest Dusit Thani Mogan Mountain in Huzhou, Zhejiang province, Mr Siradej said the group has 10 hotels in the pipeline and plans to sign five more hotel deals in the mainland in 2024.

Onyx Hospitality, which has 44 hotels and serviced apartments in Asia, set a target of 50 hotels by 2025, ramping up to 70 properties in 2028. The company has 11 hotels in the pipeline.

Onyx's hotel portfolio consists of 25 properties in Thailand, with the remainder in Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, the Maldives, Bangladesh and Laos.

Its notable hotel brands include Amari and OZO, while its serviced apartment brand is named Shama.

The group's strategy focuses on growth in Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand and Malaysia, driven by robust demand from the Mice (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) sector.

Of the 10 properties slated for launch this year, the Shama and OZO brands are going to be featured in Malaysia. The group also plans to enter Indonesia, possibly Bali and Jakarta, after 2024.


SET-listed Asset World Corp (AWC) does not incubate original brands, but in terms of ownership, it is one of the most aggressive hotel investors, partnering with many leading international chains.

As of the third quarter of 2023, AWC had 22 hotels with 5,867 rooms. Newly opened hotels include the InterContinental Chiang Mai The Mae Ping and Marriott Chiang Mai. Last year, it also signed six new hotel management contracts with international chains.

The hospitality portfolio of AWC mainly focuses on the luxury market, targeting both business and leisure segments. Its top markets are China, the US, Singapore and Japan.

More than half of its revenue of 4.6 billion baht in the third quarter of 2023 was derived from the hospitality business thanks to stronger bookings of 240,133 room nights, exceeding the 238,518 room nights sold in 2019.

The company is developing five projects, comprising 1,120 rooms through partnerships with global brands such as Marriott and IHG in various locations such as Bangkok, Pattaya, Hua Hin and Chiang Rai.

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