Over the past few years, discussion about the expected influx of Chinese tourism has been front and center within the U.S. hotel industry. Traditional American brand companies continue to look at their offerings and try to figure out ways to accommodate these foreign travelers in anticipation of their arrival, while still catering to their core base of domestic guests.
There has been less talk about the influx of foreign hotel companies, but the potential impact on the U.S. market is every bit as significant. Earlier this month, Japanese hotel giant APA Group, which owns the number-one hotelier in Japan, APA Hotel, opened its first U.S. hotel in Metropark, NJ. The company, which includes some 350 hotels, inked a joint venture with Friendwell Group of Companies.
The APA Hotel Woodbridge is just the beginning, according to APA, which stands for Always Pleasant Amenity. The company has deep pockets and has outlined some aggressive growth plans, looking to open up to as many as 100 hotels within five years. The brand will bring what it refers to as a “new urban style” to the market with an environmentally friendly focus. Friendwell, meanwhile, is New Jersey’s largest owner of hotels and has developed a reputation for blending Asian and American cultural touchpoints. There is little doubt that this skillset will be critical moving forward for U.S.-based companies.
We live in a global economy now, where the struggles and successes of one nation can materially affect other countries. Likewise, the days of living in a global hospitality world are not far off either.