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Hotels – who are the biggest players?

by October 18, 2016 General
David Wain, manager of Chateau on the Park, which was taken over by Hilton's DoubleTree chain last month. The hotel is ...

David Wain, manager of Chateau on the Park, which was taken over by Hilton’s DoubleTree chain last month. The hotel is owned by Singapore’s M&L Hospitality.

Some of the world’s biggest hotel names are falling over themselves to get into New Zealand.

A few, such as Hyatt, have entered or returned to the market in the last few months and more including Ritz-Carlton are rumoured to be on the way.

But it may surprise many people that New Zealand companies are still the dominant owners of the hotels themselves.

Wellington's Sofitel, seen here under construction in 2015, was converted from offices once occupied by ENZA. It opened ...


Wellington’s Sofitel, seen here under construction in 2015, was converted from offices once occupied by ENZA. It opened in May.

A new report from JLL shows New Zealand’s biggest owner of hotels is CP Group, with 17 hotels and 8 per cent of the country’s hotel rooms.

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CP Group, owned by the wealthy New Zealand-based Pandey family, has been both an active developer and owner of hotels.

The Ritz-Carlton, a worldwide name in luxury hotels, is eyeing New Zealand.


The Ritz-Carlton, a worldwide name in luxury hotels, is eyeing New Zealand.

It bought three hotels last year from the exiting Host Hotels and Resorts Group and recently converted offices into the 129-room, $51 million Sofitel Wellington.

It is also converting Auckland’s former Reserve Bank building into a Sofitel So.

The next biggest player is Singapore’s CDL Group, which owns 12 hotels representing 6 per cent of the market.

CDL’s portfolio has not changed in several years. However, it is refurbishing the former Copthorne hotel in Auckland’s waterfront, turning it into a five-star, 190-room Millenium Hotel in early 2017.

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It will also take over the management of the 452-room Rendezvous Hotel in September, renaming it the Grand Millenium Auckland.

JLL says the top 10 hotel owners hold 38 per cent of the market, in terms of hotel rooms.

Twenty-six major hotels have changed hands in the past two years, about half to offshore buyers and the same 50:50 split is seen in terms of the country’s hotel rooms.

About 47 percent were in New Zealand hands, followed by Singapore (15 per cent), Hong Kong (11 per cent), other overseas (4 per cent) and Australia (3 per cent).

However, about a fifth of the market is held under “unit title”, usually serviced apartments and the vast majority of these is in local hands.

When added to the total, Kiwi firms owned two-thirds of all hotel rooms.

However, overseas names dominate when it comes to hotel operators in New Zealand, the biggest of which is France’s AccorHotels, which owns the Ibis and Novotel brands.

Accor manages 17 per cent of all hotel rooms, followed by Singapore’s Millenium (8 per cent) and New Zealand’s Scenic Circle (5 per cent). 

Australia’s Quest apartments and Choice Hotels each held 5 per cent, with Heritage (NZ), Rydges, Britain’s Intercontinental, Distinction (NZ) and Australia’s TFE Hotels bringing up the rear.

Tourism has been a big factor in this interest from overseas. Dean Humphries, national director of Colliers International’s hotels division, said all the big names were keen to capitalise our massive increase in tourist numbers in the last three years.

As a result, the pressure is creating a critical shortage of hotel rooms in some of New Zealand’s key tourism spots, particularly Auckland and Queenstown.

Rotorua, Wellington and Christchurch were also full during peak seasons.

One of the key barriers to building new hotels was cost, with building costs escalating beyond $6,000 per square metres.

“Along with high land values and design/consent fees, the feasibility of new hotel developments is very marginal right now – despite the exceptional growth recorded in the hotel market over the last two years,” Humphries said.

However, New Zealand was not the only bright spot for international hotel chains.

“The more hotels these companies can get under management is accretive to their balance sheet,” Humphries said.

“They’re all actively hunting for opportunities and the main area of activity is the Asia Pacific, so they’re literally building hundreds of hotels in China.

“Australia’s undergoing a hotel development phase at the moment, there’s many, many hotels being built over there.

“And New Zealand’s sort of the next one on the radar because of the exceptional growth we’ve been having in the market over the last 24 months.”

However, “the tricky thing” for hotel operators is they still had to find an investor to own it.

And as some of the more five-star high profile names arrived, other hotels were responding by refurbishing to defend their market share, he said.

The top 10 hotel owners in New Zealand:
* CP Group, New Zealand (17 hotels, 8 per cent of hotel rooms)
* CDL Group, Singapore (12 hotels, 6 per cent) 
* Colwall Property Investment, Hong Kong (8 hotels, 6 per cent)
* Scenic Circle, New Zealand (12 hotels, 4 per cent)
* Distinction Hotels, New Zealand (9 hotels, 4 per cent)
* Sky City Auckland, New Zealand (2 hotels, 2 per cent)
* Jhunjhnuwala family (Sudima), Hong Kong (3 hotels, 2 per cent) 
* Rydges Hotels and Resorts, Australia, (3 hotels, 2 per cent)
* Auckland International Airport, New Zealand (2 hotels, 2 per cent)
* CDL Hospitality REIT, Singapore (1 hotel, 2 per cent)


 – Stuff