In a business climate where downsizing has begun to feel like the norm, chain hotels as a whole have been increasing their supply. All together, global room supply for the world's 20 largest hotel chains rose by 3.5 percent in the beginning of 2009.
"Overall, this is a significant growth compared to the previous five years, with many projects already commencing being realized," said Vanguélis Panayotis, director of development for MKG Hospitality. "We can certainly expect the trend to remain positive in 2010, as projects are already at an advance stage."
With over 300,000 rooms, Best Western came in once again as the largest hotel brand in the world, although it did record a slight decrease. The hotel brand is in the midst of development plans in China, India, the Middle East and South America.
North American expansion is also in the works for Best Western. Company spokesman Troy Rutman said that the brand is working on the development and launch of 30 Best Western Atreas, which he says will be "upper midscale, business friendly hotels that can be built more cost effectively than its direct competition."
Economy brands have made notable expansions this year, with several joining or moving up the list. La Quinta Inns & Suites joined the group this year with a 7.7 percent increase, and both Hampton Inn and Ibis moved up to higher rankings, to seventh and 15th places, respectively. Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, the only other brand to move up on the list, jumped two spots to 17th.
Holiday Inn stayed on as the world's second largest hotel chain, although it did decline in supply and now totals 250,000 rooms. The most significant growth came from InterContinental Hotel Group's (IHG) other two brands, Crowne Plaza, which increased room supply by 12.3 percent, and Express by Holiday Inn, which now totals nearly 2,000 properties and rose by 11 percent. Of those three IHG brands, Express by Holiday Inn has the largest plans for expansion, and IHG CEO Andy Cosslett hopes the economy might even benefit the group. "We also have over 1,000 Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels in our development pipeline and with the recession causing many travelers to trade down from upscale brands, the re-launch is perfect timing," Cosslett said. He predicted that IHG would open 400 hotels in 2009.
Accor brands Ibis and Motel 6 have also grown in global room supply this year. Hilton's Hampton Inn room supply rose by 8.4 percent and Wyndham Hotel Group's Ramada rose by 7.5 percent. Mercure decreased room supply by 8.4 percent, due in large part to Accor's rebranding of certain hotels.