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Prince Hotels of Japan to use StayWell’s operational platform to get brand entry into India

Japanese Hotel company to pursue Asset Light model of expansion globally

Friday, February 9, 2018, 14:00 Hrs  [IST]
P Krishna Kumar | New Delhi

After acquiring the Australian hotel management company, StayWell Holdings, the Japanese Hotel company, Prince Hotels, Inc., is keen to expand its brand footprint outside of Japan using the market knowledge and operational platform of StayWell in key markets like India. After two-year long negotiations, Prince Hotels, a wholly-owned company under Seibu Holdings of Japan, concluded the acquisition of StayWell Holdings in October 2017. StayWell, which is operating in India for last seven years, has five operating hotels and 11 properties under development.

In a media interaction, Victor Osumi, Managing Executive Officer, Prince Hotels, Inc., said that with the merger Prince Hotels has transformed from a Japanese company to a global company and got an opportunity to reach out to markets like India which otherwise would not have been able to reach. "Few Japanese hotel companies tried to get into India earlier, but couldn’t succeed because of lack of market knowledge and a partner to work with. We now have a big advantage that we have a local partner. That’s a big advantage," he informed. He said that the attempt is to build awareness about Prince brand, and the signature Japanese luxury hospitality it represents in the India market using the operational platform of StayWell Hospitality.

While all except one hotel in their current portfolio in Japan are owned and managed by the company, Prince Hotels will be going for asset light model of expansion globally now on, Osumi said.  However, to a specific question on future investments in India market, he said that they are not averse to financial stakes if such a deal “is strategic to gain management contract”.   

Calling the merger a “perfect one” which is both geography complementary and brand complementary, Simon Wan, President & Director, StayWell Holdings, said that there is hardly any hotel brand in India which can offer hi-end Japanese hospitality  that brands like Prince Hotels represent. “We want to tap on that market and offer Indian owners a business opportunity that they never tapped. The objective is to send the message out to the prospective owners about the strength the two brands together have and the difference it can make to their properties,” he said.  “There is no reason why we cannot build a very successful Asian brand in India,” he added.

Wan said that the vision is to introduce full range of brands from the merged entity in the India market gradually. Prince Hotels has a target to grow their hotel portfolio to 250 hotels in the next five years’ time and double the revenue and profits in the next 10 years, he informed. 

Prince Hotels, Inc. has 43 hotels under three main brands ‘The Prince’, ‘Grand Prince Hotel’ and ‘Prince Hotel’. Meanwhile, StayWell Holdings operates range of brands in mid-market space like ‘Park Regis’, ‘Leisure Inn Plus’ and 'Leisure Inn.'

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