Louvre, Jin Jiang partnership could expand

Following the signing of a strategic brand partnership in November 2011 Jin Jiang Inn Co. and Louvre Hotels Group, the second largest hotel services group in Europe, on Wednesday unveiled Campanile/Jin Jiang co-branded hotels. At the same time, Louvre Chairman Pierre-Frédéric Roulot told Reuters that an extension of this partnership could ramp up the two company’s expansion plans for China and France.

For the moment, Jin Jiang Inn customers are now able to make reservations for French Campanile hotels from China, predominantly through Jin Jiang Inn’s website, and can benefit from specific offers. This partnership currently includes 15 Campanile hotels located in the five French cities most frequently visited by Chinese tourists.

These co-branded hotels display both trade names at their entrance, are equipped with Chinese-language brochures and offer telephone assistance in Chinese for their guests, a buffet that includes Chinese food, include green tea in each hotel room and have rooms equipped with Chinese TV channels.

This partnership also enables Louvre Hotels Group and Jin Jiang Inn to share management experience and know-how: 27 middle and high level representatives from the Chinese group have come from China to join the unveiling ceremony and two managers will stay to participate in a four-week exchange program in France.

Roulot told Reuters at the press conference on Wednesday that within four to six months, the companies will decide whether or not to further expand their partnership. Louvre currently has some 25 hotels under development in the Shanghai area, but a closer affiliation with Jin Jiang could speed up its development in the region.

“We have been lagging in China where we have not reached critical size on our own but we can do it with a partner, which is also the number one Chinese tour operator,” Roulot told Reuters. “Jin Jiang and its 800 hotels in China, we could benefit from that. This could be our expansion shortcut.”

While Roulot said it is too early to know how the partnership will evolve, he added that Jin Jiang may want to extend it to other European countries or to other brands such as Louvre’s Golden Tulip brand. “There are several possible scenarios,” he said. “We can continue to develop on our own or benefit from Jin Jiang. If you could put the two groups together, you would have a player as large as Accor.”