The country’s largest conglomerate John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH) has executed a major transition by consolidating all its Sri Lankan and Maldivian leisure properties under the Cinnamon brand.
“This has been a process for the last three years or more - consolidating all our properties under the Cinnamon master brand. What you’re seeing now is the nomenclature, the final visual changes,” JKH Deputy Chairman Ajit Gunewardene told Mirror Business.
He noted that changes to the visuals will not cost much financially today, as the nitty-gritties of all JKH properties such as linen, cutlery, etc., were standardized over the recent years.
However, the past period saw JKH investing heavily in such visual changes as well as all other aspects including staff training, corporate restructuring and changes to the audit processes, according to Gunewardene.
“The investments have been huge and it has been part of our overall investments into building the Cinnamon brand, but I don’t have the figures offhand,” he said.
He said that the transition was optimally planned.
“We didn’t want to change until we were confident that our Cinnamon brand would be strong enough. We inculcated most of the Cinnamon brand and its lifestyle into all these properties,” he added.
JKH is the largest travel and hospitality operator in Sri Lanka and is one of the two largest foreign-based resort operators in the Maldives, along with Aitken Spence PLC.
Prior to the transition, JHK operated three Cinnamon city hotels in Colombo and four resorts across the island, while the ‘Chaaya’ brand operated three Sri Lankan and three Maldivian resorts. The Bentota Beach Hotel stood alone. The total room portfolio exceeded 2,400.
Recently, JKH announced its flagship Cinnamon Life mixed-development project in Colombo with 800 rooms, 450 apartments and conference and leisure facilities—reportedly valued up to US $ 850 million—and the acquisition of two islands in the Maldives to develop resorts.