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Kevin Wallace (Plateno Hotels Group): Indonesia is the fastest growing hotel market in the world

Mr Kevin Wallace, Managing Director Australasia, Plateno Hotels Group talks to TravelDailyNews Asia-Pacific about hotel investments in ASEAN region.

We met with Mr Kevin Wallace Managing Director Australasia, Plateno Hotels Group at the Asia-Pacific Hotel Investment Conference (APHIC), held 19-20 May in Bangkok, where he delivered his presentation about “The Journey of a Fast Growing Hotel Company in an Emerging Market“. During our interview Kevin replies to the point about the trends and the expectations on the hotel investments in the ASEAN countries.
TravelDailyNews: Asia is not just China and India where everyone focus. ASEAN countries are also developing very fast in terms of inbound and outbound tourism movements. Which are the “hottest” destinations for hotel investments this period and why? 
Kevin Wallace: The hottest destination in terms of real volume and realised projects is still Indonesia which has overtaken both India and China as the fastest growing hotel market in  the world.
TDN: Which are the challenges the hotel chains are facing when they decide to invest in emerging markets? 
K.W.: The biggest challenge is in terms of human resource, the key to the delivery of our product. Training is a so important but takes time and costs money. Retention of staff is also an issue.
TDN: AEC is around the corner. How do you expect to affect the hospitality industry in terms of investments, labour mobility and tourism arrivals?
K.W.: We frankly don’t see much impact as investment and labour will still be subject to national policy. Tourism arrivals may grow if there is a single Schengen type visa.
TDN: Hotel chains promise a standardized level of quality services but how can they avoid flattening the local character both in “hardware” and “software” across the countries they have a presence?  
K.W.: The regional hotel companies like Plateno are much better at this than the western companies who are slower to adopt local practices. Therefore they have in many cases been less successful and slower to enter markets. On the hardware side it has made room costs way too high for local investors.
TDN: What kind of innovative services and products you expect to see in the hospitality industry the next decade?
K.W.: Hotels will go paperless with guest interaction with staff through apps . This will allow hotels to be more flexible and over what guest really want by having better info in advance of a guest visit.


* Kevin Wallace has over 30 years of senior leadership  experience in the hotel and cruise industries in all major global markets.
He is currently Managing Director of Plateno Hotels Group Australasia. Plateno has 16 brands and over 3000 hotels and over 400,000 rooms across 9 countries in over 330 destinations in Asia. 
He was formerly President of the Hospitality and Leisure Group of PT Lippo Karawaci Tbk which owns and operates Aryaduta Hotels in Indonesia. Prior to that he was President and CEO of JA Resorts and Hotels in Dubai, President of Centara International Management in Bangkok, President and COO of Grand Circle Cruise Lines based in London and President and CFO of Mirage Resorts and Hotels.
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TravelDailyNews Asia-Pacific editorial team has an experience of over 35 years in B2B travel journalism as well as in tourism & hospitality marketing and communications.