Supreme Hospitality
Category: Luxury Business By : Yessar Rosendar Read : 239 Date : Wednesday, July 01, 2017 - 09:39:11




Courtesy of AccorHotel

In 2016, AccorHotels Group became the world’s second largest luxury hotel operator after it officially acquired FRHI Hotels & Resorts (FRHI), including the Fairmont and Raffles luxury hotel chains. Among the signature hotels joining the AccorHotels’ global network are The Savoy in London, Raffles Singapore, New York’s The Plaza and the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City. As part of the company’s larger strategy to strengthen its luxury business, Chris Cahill was appointed as group chief executive of its luxury brands. In this newly created role, Chris, who also became a member of AccorHotels’ executive committee, will lead the FRHI integration process and oversee the strategy and global operations of AccorHotels’ luxury brands. Chris is a seasoned hotelier with more than 30 years of hospitality industry experience, including 19 years working with FRHI and its predecessor companies. He most recently served as EVP/global operations at Las Vegas Sands Corp. Below is an edited transcript of a rare interview with Chris during his short visit to Jakarta, held at the Fairmont Jakarta.

Forbes Indonesia: What is the outlook for luxury hospitality?

Chris Cahill: Generally speaking its very positive, if you go to different parts of the world, you can see it is developing, there is growth in tourism and travel. If you look at the emerging markets, you see increasing numbers of middle class travelling and willing to spend more. Demographics are helping in terms of an older generation who have money and want to travel. So the demand for luxury is pretty strong.

FI: How about the Asia region?

CC: It’s very strong. We have a number of projects in the pipeline right now—we going to open another Sofitel in Singapore in the third quarter, and another one in Australia. We just opened a Fairmont in Chengdu earlier this year. So we have a lot of growth in the luxury pipeline in this part of the world.

FI: Post the merger period, what are your plans to develop the brands?

CC: Right now if we look at our luxury brands, they are Raffles, Sofitel and Fairmont. We are the second largest operator of luxury hotels in the world. It’s a tremendous position, and we look at the opportunity for each brand differently. Raffles will tend to be only in certain locations, and will grow less rapidly. Fairmont and Sofitel have good opportunities to grow, so we have established a development group that only focuses on our luxury and upscale brands to help spur growth. While we have been very excited by the acquisition of FRHI, there’s interest from the development community. It’s coming not just from our partners we’ve had for years in Accor, but also others that didn’t think of  us before as having a strong luxury platform. Our pipeline is very robust—we have signed 21 letters of intent in just the last six month last year; we have 37 hotels in upscale and luxury hotels that are going to open in the next 15 to 18 months. We are quite excited about the prospects.

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