China, APAC construction pipelines hit highs

According to Construction Pipeline Trends Reports from Lodging Econometrics (LE), projects and rooms counts in the China pipeline are at all-time highs, while project and room counts in the early planning stage in both China and the Asia-Pacific region (APAC), excluding China, have broken all-time records.

China’s total hotel construction pipeline at the end of the fourth quarter stands at 3,693 projects/700,567 rooms, up 9% by projects and rooms year-over-year (YOY).

Despite the country’s COVID-19 travel restrictions for international visitors, hotel construction and development in China continued to thrive throughout 2021.

Projects presently under construction in China are at 2,574 projects/466,148 rooms, an increase of 12% by projects and 13% by rooms YOY. Projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months stand at 503 projects/95,057 rooms and, at the end of the quarter, projects in the early planning stage stand at 616 projects/139,362 rooms, up 40% by projects and 28% by rooms YOY. Projects under construction and those in early planning are both at record high counts.

Chengdu leads China’s hotel construction pipeline with an all-time high of 144 projects/29,485 rooms. Next is Shanghai at 127 projects/24,279 rooms, followed by Guangzhou with 119 projects/24,601 rooms, then Hangzhou with 98 projects/20,906 rooms and Xi’an with 94 projects/16,932 rooms.

Franchise companies topping China’s construction pipeline at Q4 ‘21 are Hilton with 661 projects/122,650 rooms, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) with 429 projects/88,486 rooms and Marriott International, setting record high project counts, with 397 projects/105,893 rooms. Next is Accor with 193 projects/35,463 rooms and JinJiang Holdings with 190 projects/18,789 rooms.

Leading brands for each of the franchise companies at the end of 2021 are Hilton’s Hampton by Hilton brand with 356 projects/53,724 rooms and its Hilton Garden Inn brand with a record high of 91 projects/18,406 rooms. IHG’s leading brand is Holiday Inn Express with 197 projects/32,807 rooms and then Holiday Inn at 70 projects/16,994 rooms. Marriott International’s top brands are its Four Points Hotel, with a record number of projects and rooms, at 67 projects/18,212 rooms and Marriott Hotel with 63 projects/18,909 rooms. Accor’s leading brands are the Ibis brands with 59 projects/6,223 rooms and Mercure Hotel with 51 projects/8,450 rooms. Leading brands for JinJiang Holdings are 7 Days Inn with 95 projects/7,450 rooms followed by Vienna Hotel with 39 projects/4,022 rooms.

Throughout 2021, China opened a total of 566 new hotels with 96,472 rooms. In Q4 ‘21, China saw 98 new hotels accounting for 21,378 rooms open. LE is forecasting another 936 projects/142,913 rooms to open in 2022 and 932 projects/154,510 rooms to open in 2023.

APAC construction pipeline
APAC’s total construction pipeline, excluding China, at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021 stands at 1,814 projects/397,089 rooms. Project counts are up 5%, while room counts are up 8% YOY.

Projects currently under construction stand at 899 projects with 207,693 rooms, while projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months closed the year at 380 projects/77,574 rooms. Project and room counts in the early planning stage are at all-time high at the end of Q4 with 535 projects/111,822 rooms. At Q4, projects scheduled to start in the next 12 months stage are down 3% YOY and are unchanged by rooms YOY. Projects and room counts in the under construction and early planning stages are up YOY.

As seen across the globe, the hotel and hospitality industry in the region has been largely impacted by COVID-19. While the recovery timeline to return to pre-pandemic levels of new hotel pipeline projects and rooms remains unclear, Q4 saw several increases in pipeline metrics that show a promising step toward recovery.

Over the last four quarters, the region has seen a steady increase in announced renovations and conversions and ended 2021 with a total of 147 large-scale renovation projects with 32,014 rooms. At the end of Q4, renovations stand at 40 projects/10,583 rooms. Conversions stand at record high counts of 107 projects/21,431 rooms; the highest the region has seen in years. New projects announced into the pipeline have accelerated throughout the year as well, with 152 projects/33,039 rooms announced in the fourth quarter alone.

Countries with the largest pipelines in APAC, excluding China, are led by Indonesia with 304 projects/48,175 rooms. Next is India with 277 projects/37,876 rooms, then Vietnam with 210 projects/80,796 rooms. These countries are followed by Thailand, at an all-time high, with 166 projects/39,315 rooms and then Australia with 150 projects/28,659 rooms. APAC cities outside of China with the largest construction pipelines are led by Jakarta, Indonesia, with 66 projects/11,482 rooms. Next is Seoul with 65 projects/12,401 rooms and Bangkok with 62 projects/15,219 rooms. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is next with 49 projects/14,252 rooms and then Phuket, Thailand, with 34 projects/8,447 rooms.

The top franchise companies in the region are Marriott International with 267 projects/57,734 rooms, Accor with 221 projects/46,655 rooms and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) with 140 projects/30,721 rooms. Hilton is next with 93 projects/21,886 rooms and then Hyatt Hotels with 78 projects/15,529 rooms. Combined, these five companies account for 44% of the rooms in the region’s total construction pipeline.

Top brands in APAC’s construction pipeline, excluding China, include Marriott’s Courtyard brand with 38 projects/8,275 rooms and Fairfield Inn with 37 projects/5,822 rooms; Accor’s Novotel brand with 47 projects/10,311 rooms and its Ibis brands with 41 projects/7,902 rooms; IHG’s Holiday Inn with 45 projects/9,797 rooms and Holiday Inn Express with 26 projects/4,762 rooms; Hilton’s full-service Hilton Hotel & Resorts with 31 projects/8,604 rooms and its DoubleTree brand with 29 projects/6,181 rooms; and Hyatt Hotel’s Hyatt Place with 22 projects/3,672 rooms and Hyatt Regency with 20 projects/4,335 rooms.

Excluding China, the APAC region opened a total of 230 new hotels/40,198 rooms throughout 2021. Q4 experienced the most openings of any quarter of 2021 with 71 hotels/11,293 rooms. LE is forecasting another 320 projects/70,160 rooms to open in 2022 and 356 projects/67,318 rooms to open in 2023.