Steady growth need of the hour: Raffles group
April 1- The will continue to expand but in a slow and steady fashion, said the group’s President John M. Johnston. At the moment, the group has six properties all over the world, which compared to its sister companies, the Fairmont and Swissotel groups, is not enough. Johnston stated that for Raffles to match them in the next five to seven years will be a significant achievement. "The goal is to grow the brand slowly and steadily in markets that are complementary to each other," he said.
Raffles is slated to open three hotels in China, France and Saudi Arabia this year, plans that have been in place for about two-three years. The reason for such caution is the global financial crisis that hit last year, which has adversely affected Raffles. "Like all businesses, and like the hotel industry in particular, we have been impacted in a fairly major way in the last 15 months. So business has been off across the board, by a 15-20 per cent range. There has been a shift in momentum in travel patterns. Some of the corporate clients who would normally meet two or three times a year, either cancelled last year or have cut back on travel. Some leisure travel has shifted from segment to segment downwards or the business has fallen off."
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