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Swiss-Belhotel looks to double portfolio by 2030

  • Swiss-Belhotel looks to double portfolio by 2030 but remain boutique firm

    Hong Kong-based Swiss-Belhotel International, like many other hotel groups, is looking to grow and expand. With more than 145 hotels across the globe, the firm is looking to double that number over the next nine years, but not to the point where it loses its personality.

    According to Laurent A. Voivenel, senior vice president – operations & development, EMEA & India; senior vice president – group human resources & talent development, Swiss-Belhotel International, once the group hits that milestone, it will stop expanding.

    “The goal for us to double the size of the company by 2030, when we hit that target, that’s the number we want to stick with. We want to stay a boutique player. Our smaller scale also makes us much more cost effective, which lots of owners like,” he tells us at Arabian Travel Market.

    Voivenel speaks to us following the announcement of his two hotels in Bahrain, a promising market for the group right now.

    He continues: “Naturally we want to grow, but not to the point where we can no longer manage our owner relations. As the senior VP for the region, I deal with the owners and I’m calling them all every month and visiting them personally every other month.

    “We know the names of all our owners, we know their families, and we have a different type of relationship compared to the larger players. Before the pandemic, I could easily jump on a plane to see any of my owners.”

    The VP himself has prior experience in larger hotel groups, including Hilton and a near 11-year stint at Starwood before it merged with Marriott. Now at a much smaller company, with only five staff in his office, he firmly believes the quality of service is the same.

    “I’m worked with huge hospitality companies before, and now I’m providing that same quality of service, but for far less. That’s one of the regions we’re growing so well actually, we have smaller overheads and we’re much more dynamic.”

    He goes on to say that his smaller scale allows him to be more nimble.

    “If I make a decision now, it’s very quick for that decision to be enacted. The big guys can’t always do that, it might take them weeks or months compared to 10 minutes with us. They’re a big cruise ship, we’re a jet ski.”

    Voivenel is not alone in this mind-set, we have heard similar sentiments from Amir Golbarg at Minor Hotels, who also wants to stay on the smaller side. In said in a previous interview with Hotelier: “I would not say I would have 100 hotels in the pipeline, I would say, maybe 10. But those 10 would multiply. One owner can give us four or five hotels thanks to the relationship we build with them.”

    Swiss-Belhotel International currently manages a portfolio of hotels, resorts and projects located in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Bahrain, Egypt, Georgia, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Australia, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Tanzania.

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