As the the largest hotel company in Spain, 99 percent of Melia Hotels International’s forthcoming hotels are taking root outside of the country. Revived focus on international growth has added over 100 hotels to its portfolio over the past few years, increasing room count across the board by 5,000 since 2014 alone. The majority of new development is happening in emerging markets within Asia, the Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.
In short, the hotel company is slowly crawling out from the shadows of the world’s largest American and Chinese hotel chains. Vice Chairman and CEO Gabriel Escarrer says despite this resounding success—including 17 quarters of uninterrupted growth—rest assured, Melia’s commitment to Spain isn’t going anywhere.
“We will continue to invest and reinvent our value proposal for guests and for society as a whole.” One case in point is the 173-room ME Barcelona, positioned next to Plaza Catalunya and Paseo de Gracia, which is soon to be a flagship for contemporary luxury in Barcelona. The boutique TRYP Castellon Center opened earlier this year in Castellon, just five minutes from the beach.
Asia remains the strongest area of growth. Since 2012, Melia’s Asia’s properties have grown from six to 26, propelling upscale and premium brands Innside by Meliá, Meliá Hotels & Resorts, and the luxury lifestyle ME by Meliá brand forward.
Melia aims to woo Chinese travelers with “Peng You by Meliá,” which will, among other things, teach Mandarin to hotel staff, accept Chinese credit cards from Union Pay across all hotels, offer Chinese TV programming, menus and minibar products based on personal preferences, and provide translations of all guest materials. Peng You will gradually roll out across 80 hotels within Melia’s portfolio. Asia-Pacific’s service and hospitality values found alignment with Melia, Escarrer says, helping it to quadruple its portfolio in the region over the past few years.
“Hospitality is universal, and today it has to cater to the Chinese [business traveler],” Escarrer explains. “Ultimately, the aim of Peng You is to adapt our hospitality to another culture and language, making us even more universal.”
Opening in 2016, the 190-room Meliá Shanghai Hongqiao will be part of a major urban complex in Hongqiao, featuring commercial and entertainment facilities, dining outlets, green areas and high-end residential villas. The integration of the Hongqiao Transportation Hub (Airport & Railway) is expected to position Hongqiao as the business hub for the Yangze River Delta region. The hotel will be in close proximity to the new National Convention and Exhibition Center (formerly the China Expo Exhibition Center), one of the world’s largest exhibition complexes.
Indonesia is another important Asia–Pacific target. The country will welcome its thirteenth hotel in 2017 with the 233-room Innside Bandung and opening of the Sol House Kuta Bali later this year. Eight more hotels are scheduled to open in 2016 and 2017. In Europe, Germany is on the agenda with six new hotels in the works, including the 291-room Melia Frankfurt slated for 2019, which will mark the brand’s 13th hotel in the country and 900 rooms in the city.
Brazil is getting its piece of the pie—eight hotels are in the works, including the 350-room Meliá Ibirapuera, while in the Americas, the 226-room Melia Jamaica, taking shape in the former Braco Village Resort in Trelawny will open later this year, 130-room ME Miami and 307-room Meliá Costa Hollywood
will open in 2016.