Meliá is currently unrivalled in the resort hotel business in southern Europe and the Caribbean, where it continues to achieve selective and consistent growth. However, it was in Bali, Indonesia, where the company opened its first hotel outside of Spain, in 1985. This venture marked the beginning of its rampant international growth.
And now, the company's development plan is again focused on Asia-Pacific, a market that in the medium term is expected to make a similar contribution to the US and Caribbean, and where 40% of its current growth is concentrated. Meliá has quadrupled its portfolio in the region in just five years, operating in countries such as China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar, with a current portfolio of 50 hotels (open and pipeline).
It aims to become the strongest and best-positioned company in the increasingly leisure-inspired urban market. The company aims to make an impact on the growing segment of urban hotels that promote business and leisure ('bleisure') experiences, as its expertise and Mediterranean lifestyle are integrated throughout its brands. Said brands are strategically positioned to address different, well-defined customer psychographics.
Meliá has a dual focus on the region, with China as the most challenging market for the company, and the South Pacific area, where it has been operating for over 30 years now. As a familyrun company, it has created strong business links and a deep friendship with several hotel owners and business groups, with whom it shares common ground on values, a similar long-term vision and a liking for the sustainable tourism development.
"We always aim to achieve a 'win-win' solution with every single investor we deal with, because our goal is clearly to create strong partnerships based on trust and common empowerment," states María Zarraluqui, global development managing director. "Meliá has an attractive value proposition for hotel owners and investors, thanks to its know-how, extensive portfolio of leading brands, and family values and service culture, which increase its appeal in such a demanding market as Asia."
The company's commitment to the region goes beyond growth, as it has partnered with strategic local players such as Greenland in China, TCC-Land in Thailand, or PTSAI in Indonesia, to ensure sustainable growth that is fully integrated and respectful of the local culture and values.
Meliá set the APAC headquarters in Shanghai over ten years ago. Since then, it has taken a long time to study the market, and gained knowledge and experience about Chinese travellers. Now, the company boasts four hotels in Shanghai, Xian, Jinan and Zhengzou, and five more in the pipeline, with three different brands: Gran Meliá, the Spanish timeless luxury brand; Meliá Hotels & Resorts, with a distinctive passion for service and the well-being of its guests, and Innside by Meliá, with European design-led environments that weave a taste of the unexpected.
In South East Asia, the company is committed to the development of these three brands, plus Sol by Meliá and Paradisus, which are dedicated to the leisure segment. Countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia or the Philippines are its main priorities, and it already has plans to open new hotels in popular destinations such as Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai, Phu Quoc, Ho Tram and Cam Ranh Bay, among others.