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Hotel Okura and Raffles International signed MOU for strategic alliance

Author: Vicky Karantzavelou / Date: Fri, 10/26/2007 - 13:01
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Tokyo based Hotel Okura Company Limited (Hotel Okura) and Singapore based RafflesInternational Limited (Raffles) entered into...

Tokyo based Hotel Okura Company Limited (Hotel Okura) and Singapore based Raffles<.>International Limited (Raffles) entered into memorandum of understanding for exclusive negotiation of a strategic alliance between two parties. The alliance will cover (i) joint effort for hotel development and management, (ii) joint sales and marketing program, and (iii) e-procurement. Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels acted as advisor to Hotel Okura in this alliance.

Mr. Tom Sawayanagi, Senior Vice President Japan, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, said, Hotel Okura historically has been viewed as a traditional and conservative hotel company, but in fact, it has been implementing various innovative corporate activities under the leadership of the company`s President, Mr. Mikio Matsui. These include the division of ownership and management within the group into separate entities, a sale-and-leaseback of Hotel Okura Kobe, launch of Frontier Selection as a second brand product, the take-over of Dai-ichi Hotel Tokyo Bay`s operation, and more. The strategic alliance with Raffles is in line with the future direction Hotel Okura is positioning itself in light of the global business environment.

We have witnessed similar international marketing alliances involving other Japanese hoteliers such as JAL Hotels with Le Meridien and New Otani participating in the Asian Hotel Alliance. However, the alliance between Hotel Okura and Raffles will go beyond a mere marketing alliance. They will share a customer database, implement joint sales and marketing program in addition to cross-selling and a joint reservation system. They will also explore the possibility to co-work in the area of e-procurement
, he continued.

Mr. Scott Hetherington, Executive Vice President Asia, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels added, There are few geographical overlaps between both parties` portfolio, and which is a key factor in facilitating this alliance. But this is not the only reason. The hotel alliance will provide synergy to both parties who share a similar long-term strategy and corporate culture and further strengthen the combined position in competing with the industry giants such as Marriott and Starwood. Without such a common understanding, the alliance may not be as fruitful as the parties expect. Whilst the combined portfolio of hotels is not large in the global sense, the companies are represented in many of the key gateway cities around the world. I also expect both groups to benefit significantly from their brands, customer base, and operational knowledge.

Raffles International Limited, formed in 1989 in Singapore, is the hotel management arm of Raffles Holdings that has a portfolio of 38 hotels in North and South America, Asia, Australia, Europe, Middle East, and Mediterranean. It owns and operates Raffles as a luxury brand and Merchant Court as an upscale category. It acquired Swissotel hotel chain last year to add another upscale brand and global network to its portfolio.

Hotel Okura Company, Limited was originally established in 1958. The group consists of 23 hotels with its flagship Hotel Okura in Toranomon, Tokyo, covering from Japan to North Asia, Europe, and Hawaii. It launched Okura Frontier Selection as a second brand last year, in addition to its main luxury brand Hotel Okura.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vicky Karantzavelou

Co-Founder & Chief Editor

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.