ITCM, a media affiliate of TTG Asia’s IT&CM China MICE exhibition in Shanghai in April, was able to meet and interview an Irishman, Fintan O’Docherty, who is Vice President of Tangla Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Company and General Manager of the Tangla Hotel Tianjin.
The hotel group is subsidiary of the HNA Group. If you are not familiar with the initials HNA, make a note now. They will certainly figure more and more prominently month by month and year by year, as proved by its recent progress.
HNA is a Chinese conglomerate that was only put together in the year 2000. Building on its Hainan Airlines business, its current activities range over airlines, airports, finance, logistics, property, retail and tourism. By 2007 it had a workforce of 36,000 and assets valued at over 68bn RMB (about £6.8bn).
It controls 12 airports in China. Grand China Logistics operates a network of ground transportation, ports and docks and is aiming at a substantial presence in 160 cities. The HNA Group’s 53 retail outlets, including department stores and supermarkets, have assets valued at about 2bn RMB. It is not stopping there. Its retail sector plan encompasses 100 outlets and a value rising to 10bn RMB.
Its stated corporate culture is: ‘Internally cultivating the spirit with the essence of the traditional Chinese culture, externally combining advanced western management and technology’. Intrinsic to this, it maintains, is an interest in creating a harmonious society. With this in mind, it has donated over 350m RMB (£35m) to projects of benefit to the public.
Hainan Airlines Company is the group’s main operator in air transport, but it also has the subsidiaries China Xinhua Airlines, Chang’an Airlines and Shanxi Airlines.
It is reported currently in the Chinese press that HNA is the fourth largest airline company in China and that its Chairman, Chen Feng, has stated the intention of increasing revenue to US$70bn (£44bn) by the year 2020.
Much of the growth is expected to be the result of acquisitions. In 2012 it took a 48% stake in the French airline Aigle Azur. One of the benefits from this was the acquisition of the Paris Beijing route operated by the French company.
It is obvious that HNA is a name very well known in China and that it is very rapidly moving out onto the world scene.
The same is bound to be true of its hotel interests. Under the name of HNA Hotels & Resorts it already operates 80 or so properties. Tangla Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Company is one brand.
The name Tangla derives from a legend whereby a girl called Tang was in love with a boy called Gu, but a god called La tried to intervene in their romance. As a result, a range of mountains in Tibet became known as Tanggula. The hotel brand Tangla aims to create a sense of awe, romance and Oriental culture.
‘We will grow very rapidly and strongly’, says Fintan O’Docherty, ‘with probably 100 properties in ten years’ time. The locations of the hotels will tie in closely with the destinations linked by our airlines, so that passengers will always have the choice of staying at our hotel in the city they fly into. We are in Beijing, New York, Seattle, Toronto and Brussels, with Chicago on its way. And in all our properties MICE events will be a major part of the mix – which is why we are exhibiting at the IT&CM show’.
The Tangla Hotel, Tianjin, where Fintan is General Manager, is a 116-room boutique penthouse hotel that occupies floors 35-48 in one of Tianjin’s tallest buildings. It provides, therefore calm and comfort as well as superb views. Guests can gaze out over the city from their bath or from China Bleu, the loftiest bar in town.
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