Banyan Tree Group turned the corner in 2H2021, recording a full-year Core Operating Profit of S$5.3 million, a 23% increase compared to 2020. Cashflow generated from Operating Activities was S$141.7 million, contributed in part by business recovery and more significantly by various liquidity measures to unlock cash.
Our Hotel Investments segment performed better in 2H2021 versus 2H2020, posting a narrower Operating Loss of S$9.1 million. The improvement was attributable to quarantine-free international arrivals to Thailand, in particular Phuket, and higher revenue per occupied room (RevPAR) from Group-owned properties in the Maldives.
The Fee-based segment benefitted from the pick-up in leisure travel globally, including in China which was supported by a large domestic tourism base. Group-wide Hotel RevPAR improved by 23% (on a same store basis) year-on-year. Operating Profit was S$10.6 million, against an Operating Loss the prior year.
With the development site sale in Australia and revenues recorded from completed residences and extended stay properties in Thailand, our Branded Residences and Extended Stay (Property Sales) segment continued to achieve profitability and contribute to the Group’s top line.
Core Operating Profit
Group-wide Hotel RevPAR improved by 23% (on a same store basis) year-on-year. Operating Profit for Fee-based segment was S$10.6 million, against an Operating Loss the prior year.
Financial Stability with Operational Agility
On the financial front, our focus on deleveraging has enabled us to pare loans by 16%. The rebound in business, re-profiling of our remaining loans and asset monetisation have bolstered cashflow. As a result, our cash reserve is sufficient to cover financing needs beyond the next 12 months and to serve as a business contingency if more concerning COVID-19 variants emerge and impact, if any, from indirect consequences of the Ukraine-Russia war.
Other measures we initiated when the pandemic hit have served us well. These include re-organising and keeping our permanent workforce lean while maintaining a stable pool of temporary workers from which to drawn on. This provided flexibility to respond to unpredictable fluctuations in demand during the pandemic, with sudden closures and reopenings.
In addition, we made strides to enhance the Group’s digital capabilities. With this came customer-centricity along with improvements in data-driven analytics, work flows and sales channels. The proportion of revenue contribution from direct channels of Brand.com, social and central reservations increased by 54% in 2021 as compared to pre-COVID, in 2019.
With worldwide tourism recovery in sight, the time is ripe to invigorate our multi-brand portfolio and extend our reach across the lifestyle spectrum.
Our Multi-Brand Ecosystem
With worldwide tourism recovery in sight, the time is ripe to invigorate our multi-brand portfolio and extend our reach across the lifestyle spectrum. In 2021, we unveiled Banyan Tree Escape and Banyan Tree Veya, extensions of our flagship Banyan Tree brand emphasising nature and wellbeing respectively. The first Buahan, a Banyan Tree Escape will debut in Bali, Indonesia, in mid-2022, while the maiden Banyan Tree Veya resort soft-opened in Phuket in December 2021.
We also announced three distinctive new brands. The inaugural Homm-branded property, Homm Bliss Southbeach Patong, opened in December 2021, providing a home-on-the-go with destination-specific touchpoints. Two Garrya-branded properties – Garrya Huzhou Lucun and Garrya Xi’an Lintong – were launched in China towards the end of 2021, offering upscale havens with a modern, minimalist aesthetic. The Group is also in the process of negotiating management agreements for Folio, a micro-hotel concept suited to densely built cities like Tokyo, New York and Paris.
Accomplishing Our Sustainability Mission
Our multi-brand ecosystem is unified by a commitment to wellbeing practices and to our proprietary “Stay for Good” framework. Aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the framework is founded on the ethos of “Embracing the Environment, Empowering People”. As a pioneer of purposeful stewardship, our expanded global portfolio of 10 unique brands will increase the Group’s reach and impact.
The Group’s strategic approach to sustainability is determined by the Board of Directors, and senior management is accountable for its implementation. To ensure that every member of the Banyan Tree family embraces the sustainability mission, associates are trained in our Sustainability Culture, one of the Eight Cultures we consider essential for organisational and individual success. Senior management is responsible for communicating sustainability targets and the specific roles of associates in achieving them. These targets are detailed in the accompanying Sustainability Report.
Our Growing Reputation and Portfolio
We continue to gain global recognition from influential media and travel industry organisations, built upon the central value propositions of our brands. Banyan Tree Group was voted among the Top 25 Hotel Brands in the World (#19) by Travel + Leisure. While reflecting guests’ recognition and trust, these awards also demonstrate to hotel owners the value in partnering with us.
In 2021, we signed 27 hotel management and franchise agreements including seven Garrya and two Homm in Asia, adding to our three-year pipeline of 47 properties. As a milestone and market validation, it proves that our multi-brand ecosystem is driving business regeneration.
2021 also saw the Group open eight new hotels, bringing the total to 55 properties. We are targeting to double this number by 2025. In the next 12 months, the Group expects to open 11 new resorts representing a 15% increase in total room key count. In addition to first flags in Japan (Dhawa Yura Kyoto and Garrya Nijo Castle Kyoto) and Saudi Arabia (Banyan Tree AlUla), new openings will bolster our presence in China, Indonesia and Thailand.
We have worked hard over the last two years to adapt and embed agility throughout the organisation, knowing that the road ahead is long. We are more prepared than ever, more resilient than we have ever been. With improving business metrics across all operating clusters, we are cautiously optimistic as we pivot towards growth on a global scale for the year ahead.
Eddy See Hock Lye
Chief Executive Officer
— Banyan Tree Holdings