Trump Hotels Eyes China, India For Expansion.
By Melanie Nayer ~ Exclusive Column
Wednesday, 15th June 2011
Is Donald Trump taking his hotel company to China? Is China ready for The Donald?

America's reality TV star of 'The Apprentice' and one-time presidential candidate is re-focusing his efforts back on his roots: real estate.

The Trump Hotel Collection is celebrating the opening of its first international hotel in Panama this July, which led me to wonder where else Trump is planning to build around the world. Turns out, the destinations are far and vast, and like everything Trump does, very trendy.

"A lot of people think of Trump as a New York entity," Jim Petrus, Chief Operating Office of Trump Hotel Collection, told me.

The Trump name is synonymous with New York and more recently, Las Vegas, but can it sustain internationally? Petrus says, absolutely.

"The Apprentice is shown in 87 countries around the world. The name Trump is known on a global basis," he said.

I asked Petrus where Trump Hotels plans to open in the next year and the locations might surprise you, but don't be too shocked. Trump, despite his media showcasing and sometimes strange picks for hiring and firing on "The Apprentice", is usually correct when it comes to big business decisions so it makes sense he's looking into developments in the most talked about cities, including those in China.

According to Petrus, 80-90% of Trump Hotels in the pipeline for development sit outside the US. In August, the hotel company will open its Toronto hotel, adding to the influx of luxury hotel properties that have popped up in Canada's chic city.

"It's nice to see the competition [in Toronto]. There's been a lull in the marketplace for luxury properties," said Petrus. Prior to the beginning of this year, Four Seasons was the only luxury brand-name hotel in Toronto. In January, Ritz-Carlton opened their Toronto property, and news quickly followed that Shangri-La  will open in the area while the Four Seasons Toronto continues its renovation.

"I think everyone will feed off each other - there's a sophisticated traveler [in Toronto] that has begging for something different. We're going to offer a great new alternative to the business area of the city," Petrus told me.

While Toronto is underway, Trump Hotels is in discussions to build on the other side of the world. Not one to be left out of the party, Trump caught on to the trend that Asia is the hot hotel destination and has the most significant growth rate for hotels, so it stands to reason that the real estate giant will head to the Orient for some land. On the map: Sanya, Singapore, Beijing and Mumbai.

"China has a great appetite for grand projects of great magnitude," said Petrus.

No news to us. We've watched and reported as more hotels start infiltrating the China and India markets, boosting the options for Asia travelers and bringing luxury to new heights.

Will Trump hotels in Asia be as successful as the hotel group's US properties? Time will tell. There is no set opening date for any of the proposed Trump Asia properties, though if we know Trump, he'll make his move on the market at just the right time.

Melanie Nayer is a hotel reviewer and expert on luxury travel around the world. She has covered all aspects of hotels including corporate restructures, re-branding initiatives, historical aspects and the best of the best in luxury hotels around the world.

Melanie writes a weekly exclusive column for 4Hoteliers.com
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