While project counts may be down YOY, domestic and international travel gained significant momentum during the first quarter. The reopening of borders and national holidays has largely aided in the increased demand for travel accommodations, which is expected to continue this upward trajectory through the second quarter. As a matter of fact, in Q1, the country’s economy grew the fastest it had in over a year, showing people are eager to return to travel and normalcy.
China has 2,697 projects/484,152 rooms presently under construction, both at record highs. These record under construction counts can be, in part, attributed to the volume of new construction starts added to China’s pipeline in Q1. 219 hotels/38,162 rooms began construction in Q1 for a 60 per cent YOY increase by projects and a 49 per cent YOY increase by rooms. Also, new project announcements grew substantially in Q1, to stand at 278 hotels/42,362 rooms, with some entering directly into the under-construction phase of the pipeline. Projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months stand at 365 projects/69,191 rooms, while projects in the early planning stage stand at 597 projects/127,616 rooms.
Cities in China with the largest pipelines at Q1 are led by Chengdu with 138 projects/27,770 rooms, then Shanghai with 116 projects/23,031 rooms, Guangzhou with 111 projects/23,350 rooms, Hangzhou with 98 projects/20,239 rooms, and Xi'an with 98 projects/17,657 rooms.
The top franchise companies in China’s Construction Pipeline are Hilton Worldwide with a record-high of 693 projects accounting for 124,796 rooms, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) with record projects and room counts of 470 projects/97,692 rooms, and Marriott International with 373 projects/97,667 rooms. Next is Accor with record project counts for the country of 223 projects/38,175 rooms and JinJiang Holdings with 199 projects/20,190 rooms.
Brands in the country’s pipeline at Q1 are dominated by Hampton by Hilton with 360 projects/53,478 rooms. Hilton’s second largest brand is Hilton Garden Inn with 102 projects/19,615 rooms, reaching an all-time high in Q1. IHG’s leading brands in China are Holiday Inn Express with 188 projects/30,515 rooms and Holiday Inn with 74 projects/18,137 rooms. Marriott International’s top brands are the full-service Marriott Hotel with 64 projects/19,415 rooms and its Four Points Hotel brand with 63 projects/16,878 rooms. Accor’s leading brands are Ibis by Accor with 75 projects/7,589 rooms and Mercure Hotel with 56 projects/8,302 rooms. Leading brands for JinJiang Holdings are 7 Days Inn with 84 projects/6,565 rooms and Vienna Hotel with 34 projects/3,522 rooms.
In the first quarter, China opened 78 hotels/14,335 rooms. LE analysts are forecasting a total of 805 hotel projects/115,356 rooms to open in 2023 and 899 hotel projects/145,635 rooms to open in 2024.