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Minor Hotels Unveils Strategic Growth Plans and Global Expansion at SEAHIS

Dillip Rajakarier discusses Minor Hotels’ exceptional growth, strategic NH Hotels acquisition, and global expansion plans, focusing on quality and resilience despite market challenges.

At the recent SEAHIS conference in Bangkok, Dillip Rajakarier, Group CEO of Minor International PCL and CEO of Minor Hotels, shared insightful perspectives on the company’s recent successes and strategic future. In a candid interview with TravelDailyNews Asia Pacific, Rajakarier discussed Minor Hotels’ exceptional performance, strategic acquisitions, and growth plans, despite current market challenges.

Earnings Soar, Share Price Steady

Rajakarier began by acknowledging Minor Hotels’ impressive financial performance. “Our earnings last year were the best ever, and Q1 has also been the best ever,” he noted. However, he acknowledged the disconnect between these strong earnings and the company’s share price, attributing this to external factors like interest rates and geopolitical tensions. Despite these headwinds, Rajakarier expressed confidence in long-term recovery, emphasizing efforts to remodel the financial balance sheet to strengthen the company’s market position.

Strategic Acquisition of NH Hotels

The acquisition of NH Hotels was a significant milestone for Minor Hotels, transforming the company into a global player. Rajakarier highlighted the multifaceted benefits of this acquisition, stating, “It’s made us a true global company. We’ve brought in strong talent, technology, innovation, and transformation.” This move has enabled Minor Hotels to integrate brands across diverse markets, from Europe to South America, and the Middle East to Asia.

The acquisition’s impact on earnings has been substantial. NH Hotels experienced its best year ever in 2023, with Q1 of 2024 showing unprecedented profitability in Europe, traditionally a loss-making quarter. Rajakarier attributed this success to a strong surge in regional travel and favorable weather conditions, enhancing year-round occupancy rates.

Expansion and Brand Strategy

Rajakarier revealed ambitious expansion plans, with a target of adding at least 200 hotels over the next three years, focusing on key markets like India, China, and Eastern Europe. Minor Hotels currently operates over 550 hotels, with a robust pipeline ensuring sustained growth.

Despite this expansion, Rajakarier emphasized the company’s commitment to quality over quantity. “We don’t want to be the biggest hotel company in the world. We want to be the best,” he asserted. This philosophy extends to their brand strategy, focusing on eight key brands without overextending or cannibalizing their market presence.

Diverse Business Models for Diverse Markets

Discussing the differentiation between NH Hotels and other Minor brands like Anantara, Rajakarier explained the tailored business models. NH Hotels operate on a centralized model, while luxury brands like Anantara employ a decentralized approach to deliver exceptional guest experiences. This strategic division allows Minor Hotels to cater to varied market demands effectively.

Global Presence and Future Opportunities

Minor Hotels continues to identify and bridge gaps in their global presence. In Europe, the focus is on expanding into Eastern and Nordic regions, with recent openings in Copenhagen and Helsinki. Asia remains a significant growth area, with the first Anantara hotel opening in India and plans for further expansion. Japan and Singapore are also on the horizon for new ventures.

Engaging with Industry and Stakeholders

Rajakarier underscored the importance of industry events like SEAHIS for networking and staying attuned to market trends. “We attend most major conferences to meet business partners, investors, and to understand what’s happening in the industry,” he shared.

In conclusion, Rajakarier’s interview at SEAHIS highlighted Minor Hotels’ strategic resilience and growth-oriented vision. With a focus on quality, strategic acquisitions, and global expansion, Minor Hotels is poised to continue its trajectory as a leading player in the hospitality industry.

Andrew J Wood
News Editor

Andrew J Wood was born in Yorkshire England, he is a former hotelier, Skalleague and travel writer. Andrew has 48 years of hospitality and travel experience. Educated at Batley Grammar School and a hotel graduate of Napier University, Edinburgh. Andrew started his career in London, working with various hotels. His first posting overseas was with Hilton International, in Paris, and he later arrived in Asia in 1991 on Bangkok with his appointment as Director of Marketing at the Shangri-La Hotel and has remained in Thailand ever since. Andrew has also worked with the Royal Garden Resort Group now Anantara (Vice President) and the Landmark Group of Hotels (Vice President of Sales and Marketing). Latterly he has been the General Manager at the Royal Cliff Group of Hotels in Pattaya and the Chaophya Park Hotel Bangkok & Resorts.

A past board member and Director of Skål International (SI), a former National President with SI Thailand and a two time past President of the Bangkok Club. Andrew is the former President of Skål Asia. In 2019, Andrew was awarded SKÅL’s highest award the distinction of Membre D’Honneur.

He is a regular guest lecturer at various Universities in Asia.