The past couple of weeks has seen several major retail firms pull out of Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Only recently has western hotel chains made a similar move, suspending new openings and future developments in Russia – though not much more has been announced.
On one hand, the asset-light approach taken by the majority of chains means that hotel brands may not have the flexibility to discontinue operations. After all, most of the chains do not own the physical building. On the other hand, contract clauses may grant the right to pull the brand flag from the asset. It’s this predicament which likely indicates why little has been publicly mentioned from the chains thus far.
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• In other news, Mandarin Oriental has launched an Exclusive Homes division in collaboration with luxury vacation rental membership platform StayOne. The diversification from Mandarin will broaden the brand’s reach into group leisure travel, catering to the demands of families and friends and supported by StayOne’s presence in 250 destinations.
I predicted this year that owners would consider diversifying their portfolios to help balance their business mix. I should’ve expanded this point to include management companies and brands too as the industry continues to converge.