Movenpick Hotels & Resorts is aiming to build on its culinary heritage to satisfy the Asian market.
Speaking to Travel Daily in Singapore recently, the Swiss hotel company’s president & CEO, Jean Gabriel Peres, revealed that the company is using its home nation’s reputation for hospitality and F&B service to carve a niche for itself in the highly competitive upscale Asian hotel sector.
Peres said that while Movenpick doesn’t play the “game of stars” with regards to its market segmentation, it wants to position itself in the upper-upscale sector with a focus on providing high-quality service and authentic F&B experiences.
“We’re at the limit of luxury without being luxury,” Peres told Travel Daily. “The Asian luxury hospitality business is very crowded already, so we market ourselves as being very upscale but not luxury.”
Instead, Peres said Movenpick is trying to build a portfolio of hotels with “a lot of soul”.
“[We want to develop] a collection of very unique hotels which have their own character and personality, always with the Swiss touch,” he said. “The soul of a Movenpick hotel always comes from the quality of the food and beverage experience. We want each hotel to have a true sense of place – not just another hotel in a destination.”
When asked how this F&B focus would translate to the Chinese market, where Movenpick is expanding rapidly, Peres noted that high-end Chinese guests have an appetite for Swiss culture and cuisine.
“I live in Zurich and I see how many Chinese visitors we have. Chinese people love the fact that the quality of our food is very authentic. In our Zurich hotel we have one of the city’s best Chinese restaurants, and what we’re trying to do is create the same culinary experience and sense of hospitality in our Chinese hotels.
“[Our Chinese customers in China] don’t want to be in a typical Chinese hotel served in a traditional Chinese way. They want to experience Swiss flair and hospitality in the local context,” he added.
On the development front, Movenpick plans to have approximately 25 hotels operating in Asia by 2020, with new openings in several countries including China, Vietnam, Mongolia and Thailand.
In China, Peres said the company is focusing on second and third tier cities, with a cluster strategy that will see between three and five hotels per region. It also wants to gain ‘first-mover advantage’, with new hotels rising in up-and-coming destinations such as Inner Mongolia and Hubei province.
“There’s going to be a lot of work for Movenpick over the next few years – we’re going to be very active,” said Peres.