Fairmont targets local partnerships for expansion
By Arjay L. Balinbin, Sub-editor
FAIRMONT Hotels & Resorts, which recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of its flagship hotel in the Philippines, is eyeing more partnerships to expand its presence in the country, according to the company’s top official.
“We would love to do more in the Philippines, of course,” Mark Willis, global chief executive officer of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, told BusinessWorld on Tuesday when asked if the brand was looking for other local partnerships besides the Ayala group.
“From a Fairmont perspective, we’re definitely missing a resort hotel here. And as you know, there are beautiful resort locations in the Philippines, whether it be Cebu, Boracay, or many of the wonderful beach and resort locations here, so if there is an opportunity to grow the brand in the Philippines, we would love to,” he added.
The Fairmont Makati celebrated its 10 years on Feb. 7. Mr. Willis, AyalaLand Hotels and Resorts Corp. Board of Director Al Legaspi and President Javier D. Hernandez, and Fairmont Makati’s Cluster General Manager Bernd Schneider graced the occasion.
“This is also a great place to do business. You can see that as international travel starts to return to Asia as it opens up,” Mr. Willis said. “The Philippines is right up there, and hopefully business will return quickly, and if we get the opportunity, I’d love to do another hotel here, of course.”
Mr. Willis is responsible for the luxury brand’s portfolio of more than 100 hotels in operation and under development globally. Prior to taking the helm at Fairmont, he was the chief executive officer for India, Middle East, Africa and Turkey at Accor, overseeing a portfolio of more than 520 hotels in operation and development across 20-plus diverse brands.
Fairmont is part of Accor, a global hospitality group that operates in more than 5,000 locations across 110 countries.
According to Mr. Willis, Fairmont is set to open more than 30 hotels in the next 36 months, nine of which will be in Asia.
“We have some great properties coming up in Vietnam, Tokyo (Japan), Maldives, and Udaipur and Shimla in India,” he said, adding that Fairmont’s biggest presence in Asia remains in China.
The luxury hotel brand is also keen on expanding its partnership with AyalaLand.
“I’m careful who we associate the brand with. We are looking for long-term, strategic partners, and we definitely have it here, with AyalaLand for sure,” Mr. Willis said.
AyalaLand, the brand’s partner for Fairmont Makati, has “a wealth of knowledge of the industry, which brings a lot to the table,” he noted. “If we have the opportunity to expand with them, of course, we would love to.”
Mr. Willis described the latest performance of Fairmont Makati, which has 280 rooms and suites, as “outperforming 2019.”
“The hotel is performing really well. The future looks particularly bright. They have aggressive figures on the table for 2023, agreed upon by everybody to go forward, and I am sure that the hotel will reach those targets and, hopefully, exceed those targets,” he added.
The property has seven food and beverage outlets, the signature Willow Stream spa, a recreational fitness center and swimming pool, flexible meeting rooms, and one of Makati City’s largest ballrooms.