The analysis of a range of options worldwide will drive the company’s goal of doubling its assets by 2020, Belmond’s chief executive and president Roeland Vos said at ILTM.
“There are lots of options out there which could fit with what Belmond stands for and in places we think we have the biggest opportunity to grow,” he said.
The company currently owns and operates 46 hotel, rail and river cruise experiences, but Vos said there was “a thousand” potential target hotels and experiences that could become part of the group.
Prior to taking up his role with Belmond in 2015, Vos spent 12 years as the president of the Europe, Africa and Middle East division of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, where he increased the number of that company’s hotels in the region from 127 to 243.
Vos has put in place a development team for the first time for Belmond, with one person each in the US, Middle East and Indian Ocean and Asia and three in Europe.
“If you consider that each of them could close one or two deals a year over these five years, you can already see how we are looking towards the growth,” he said.
Belmond will look for medium-size hotels of 50-150 rooms and the pipeline could include between two and six cruise deals; 15-20 acquisitions of hotels; and between 22 and 33 management agreements, he added, with Europe, Asia and Latin America of particular interest.
“When you look at Europe, for example, there are a great deal of hotels that are currently not part of a group, or are unbranded, but are family-owned and fit with Belmond, whether that be in southern France, Spain, or in cities like Amsterdam and Vienna,” he said. “We have the balance sheet to help owners rebuild and put the hotel back in its market. We wouldn’t rule out acquiring small portfolios of hotels and experiences together either.”
A new version of the website will come later next year, and the company is under way with an assessment of brand positioning and marketing.
“We introduced the Belmond brand two and a half years ago, but we still have a lot more work to do in making it the brand of choice for customers,” said Vos.