Accor celebrated its 600th property in Asia Pacific yesterday, with the announcement that The Park Lane Hong Kong will become a Pullman property from the start of next year.
While some might be surprised to hear that the Hong Kong stalwart is aligning itself with the rapidly expanding chain, Michael Issenberg, Chairman and CEO of Accor Asia Pacific insisted that The Park Lane will not lose its identity.
“Very unusually, the name of this hotel is going to be ‘The Park Lane Hong Kong, a Pullman Hotel’. It’s the only one in the world where ‘Pullman’ doesn’t come first. We had to be careful with the blend, because this has been a very successful hotel and we need to make sure we keep the best of what is Park Lane and give people the benefit of both.”
Given Hong Kong’s notorious waiting list and fierce competition for brands to get their hands on properties in the crowded city, it’s no surprise Accor were keen to secure a partnership with an established five-star hotel, especially with the added bonus of a strong brand equity, as Issenburg explained: “We’ve been looking to find an opportunity to open an upscale hotel in Hong Kong for 13 years. The addition of The Park Lane Hong Kong to the Pullman brand brings us a strategic hotel in the centre of one of the world’s most important business and tourism hubs.
"The fact that it becomes our 600th hotel in the region is further cause for celebration because it is testament to Accor’s strong growth in the region and our investment in Pullman as a brand of the future”
What is perhaps not so obvious is why the Park Lane, which had been aligned with Worldhotels – and which celebrated its 40th anniversary recently – decided to strike a deal with an international hotel brand.
Luc Bollen, area director, Park Lane Hotels International, shed some light on the decision, “In the past 40 years The Park Lane has served around 16 million people. About a year ago we decided to talk about rejuvenation and how to position ourselves for the next 40 years.
“The world outside is changing in terms of how we bring our product to the market, and we felt like the cosmopolitan and contemporary nature, plus the connectivity of the Pullman brand made it our perfect partner,” said Bollen.
Issenburg added: “In a changing world that’s becoming increasingly digital and online, it’s obviously beneficial to work with a major international player that can assist you in that part of the business, diversify the markets that you’re working with and bring new sources of revenue to the hotel.”
To that end, Accor has recently invested 225 million euros in developing its online channels to ensure booking hotels online will be easier for customers in the future – an area Bollen admitted The Park Lane currently had a "very low" uptake. Accor is also one of the biggest hotel groups in places such as Australia, meaning another key advantage as The Park Lane will be greater access to these markets.
The announcement comes at a convenient time, as the 826-room hotel is currently in the middle of a HK$200 million renovation project. So far this has seen the first two floors of guest rooms being refurbished and the completion of a new garden rooftop, with adjoining indoor space, available for meetings and events.
The new rooftop garden at The Park Lane Hong Kong
Over the next couple of years, the renovation will be extended to the remaining guest rooms, new dining areas, public spaces such as the lobby, meeting rooms and a new club lounge and club floor.