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(File pix) YOO Worldwide vice-president of business development for Asia Pacific, Rich Millar.

INVESTORS should consider taking over existing hotels in big cities, rebrand them as their own, and sell to real estate investment trusts (REITs) to keep the industry vibrant and healthy, says YOO Worldwide vice-president of business development for Asia Pacific, Rich Millar.

“A real investor will take over existing hotels, refurbish and operate them, or sell them at a profit. There are a lot of old hotels in Malaysia and some with issues. They have operational, management and old building issues.

“We are looking for renovation, rebranding and greenfield development opportunities and are currently talking to a few parties. I know there are immense opportunities here in Malaysia for a fresh, clever brand like Yoo2,” Millar told NST Property.

YOO Worldwide is a global leader in hotel and residential design, branding and marketing, with 20 years of experience and over 81 projects in 36 countries.

Yoo2 is one of two pioneering hotel brands from YOO Hotels & Resorts, along with YOO Collection.

Millar previously said YOO Hotels was planning to establish at least 20 hotels under its lifestyle brand, Yoo2, across Southeast Asia over the next three to five years.

The hotelier is targeting key locations in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

In Malaysia, it is looking at several sites and is talking to developers to have four hotels under the Yoo2 brand by 2022.

“Property developers own land or building and work on getting the approvals in place. They are looking for best brand and operator, and that is when we come in,” said Millar.

YOO is a global design group created by leading property developer, John Hitchcox, and the world’s most celebrated designer, Philippe Starck.

Founded in 1999, YOO has since enlisted a revolutionary mix of visionary design talent, including Starck, Marcel Wanders, Jade Jagger, Kelly Hoppen, Steve Leung and YOO Studio to design its residential and hotel projects.

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