International chains are eagerly competing for the best locations in China.
Hilton, Marriott, Starwood and InterContinental Hotels Group are falling over each other to develop new 5-star properties in prime locations in gateway cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, particularly as the authorities pump money into redevelopment of once dilapidated suburbs. The Four Points by Sheraton Shanghai, Daning is located in a recently upgraded area that was once grey and often dangerous for foreigners but now has its own new metro station and convenient transport links and is full of shiny malls. Besides nine existing hotels, Starwood, which owns the Four Points by Sheraton brand, has four more properties in the pipeline in Shanghai, due to open over the next four years. It has 62 hotels open in China today, with 86 under development.
Other brands that are less known in China are also getting a foothold, such as Aloft and Hampton Inn. Meanwhile, smaller (but still huge and increasingly well-connected) cities like Tianjin and Hangzhou are attracting the attention of high-class global hotel brands. IHG currently has the most hotels open in China – 123 of them, with 144 in the pipeline. Marriott operates 46 and plans to be operating 120 in five years’ time. Hilton Worldwide has 13 hotels in China with 55 more in the pipeline. Hyatt has 12 and plans 22 more, while Best Western has 29 with 12 more in development.