In September, Bob van den Oord became CEO of Langham, a luxury hotel group. In his first interview in the role, he talks about the group's multi-brand strategy to double its property count.
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Langham Hospitality Group is a global luxury hotel company with 25 luxury hotels and 7 other hotels. Some context:
- Great Eagle Holdings, a public property company based in Hong Kong, owns Langham, whose hotels make up a minority share of a broader portfolio.
- Great Eagle bought The Langham London in 1995 and began scaling it up as a global hotel group that manages its own properties.
- Unlike many companies in Greater China, Great Eagle is profitable and has a strong balance sheet with sound liquidity, according to its August financial filings.
Langham Hospitality has been profitable so far this year.
- In the first half of this year, these hotels generated about $51 million (403 million Hong Kong dollars) in profit for Great Eagle.
- Half of that profit came from its owned properties in North America. Its 11 hotels in China are at 108% of 2019 levels.
- As the pandemic recovery unfolds, Langham’s hotels enjoy greater net income growth worldwide.
- However, the profitability is tempered by rising operating expenses, such as for labor and energy.
In September, Bob van den Oord became CEO of Langham Hospitality. I interviewed him on Thursday to learn about the company’s strategy.
- Van den Oord joined the group about 25 years ago. So he’s a continuity CEO.
- “My goal is to grow the portfolio to a good 50 hotels, from the current 32, over the next 5 to 10 years,” he said.
- Next year, he’ll launch the company’s first loyalty program.
Langham Hospitality’s newest brand is Yingn’Flo, a step outside of luxury.
- Yingn’Flo is the company’s no-frills, upper-midscale brand for millennials. The brand offers guests a mobile app for check-in and check-out, digital keycards, and communication by chat with staff.
- It debuted its first Yingn’Flo a year ago in Hong Kong. Last month, it opened its second: a 251-room Ying’nFlo, Wesley Admiralty.
- “I’m hoping we can sign five more deals before the end of the year,” van den Oord said.
The group’s other brands have also been (mostly) growing.
- Last month, its five-star luxury brand Cordis opened its sixth location in China, in this case, a 269-room hotel in Xuzhou. But the brand is international. Cordis Auckland, for instance, has 640 rooms.
- The group this year began construction on a hotel for its flagship Langham brand in Venice, due in 2026, out of a former glass factory on Murano Island. A Langham is coming to Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills district, with star architect Kengo Kuma designing the buildings.
- Eaton is the group’s boutique lifestyle brand. It has a hotel in Washington, D.C. and one in Hong Kong. Both have a mission to embrace “progressive liberal change.” But development has been quiet.
Langham Hospitality seeks partners — with buildings, real estate, or capital — to help expand.
- Great Eagle outright wholly owns 19 Langham Hospitality hotels. It’s a third-party manager of the other Langham Hospitality properties — though it often has an ownership stake, too.
- “A majority of our growth will come from management contracts,” said van den Oord. “We have six in the pipeline in China and those are management deals,” he said.
- He said Langham Hospitality’s fees for management are “very competitive” with what’s out there in the market, including from the global hotel groups.
- The group this year signed a deal for Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah Gate development by an adobe city that’s a UNESCO Heritage Site.
- “For the Langham brand, we’d like to see more hotels, especially in Europe and the Middle East, and might come in with our own money for those locations as well,” he said.
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Photo credit: A Deluxe Ocean Twin guest room at The Langham Gold Coast luxury hotel in Australia. Source: Langham Hospitality.