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Stelios wants to open first Cyprus easyHotel by 2007 November 18, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Hotels Cyprus.
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Cyprus hoteliers keen to ‘go orange’

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the serial Greek-Cypriot entrepreneur and easyGroup Chairman, has set his sights on opening his first low-cost easyHotel franchise property in Cyprus some time next year and is sending the company’s chief executive to sign up potential partners on Monday.

Three such hotels are presently operational in London and one in Switzerland’s Basel while the next opening will be in the Hungarian capital. Stelios hopes to develop a regional master franchise that will see 38 easyHotels popping up in India, the Middle East and North Africa over the next five years at a cost of USD 400 mln.

In Cyprus, some 30 property owners have already shown interest and just as many more are expected be there to hear what Lawrence Alexander, CEO of easyHotel.com will have to say at the presentation in Limassol.

“Ideally, the brand suits locations where there is demand through the year and is town centre, rather than resort location,” Alexander said. His presentation will be simple, just like the easyGroup concept. “I will be on my own. I will go through the background to easyHotel, its current status and development plans. In terms of opening, that depends if we can find a hotelier who believes the brand is right for him,” Alexander said.

“We are looking for hoteliers or property owners who have a hotel/property of at least 20-plus rooms who are prepared to invest to convert them to easyHotel standards. Typically these will be 1-star or 2-star properties in an urban or suburban location with potential demand outside of the standard tourist season.” “Standard beachside properties will not benefit greatly from the concept,” he said.

As regards the franchise fee, this is calculated on a percentage of rooms’ revenue. Alexander said that between hotels or hotel apartments, they “would look at either as a conversion opportunity.” As regards the basic room-rate, he said: “I cannot give you this information at present as I do not have a good enough knowledge yet of typical room rates in Cyprus.”

The standard contract would be for 20 years and each contract will be considered differently, while sales will be exclusively online, just as all the other easyGroup ventures. As regards the hotel’s facia, when Lawrence Alexander asked if this would include the group’s identifying orange in its colour scheme: “There are certain brand standards, which include a certain amount of orange,” he said.

At a press conference in Budapest on Monday, Stelios announced that easyHotel would be opening in the Hungarian capital during the Spring of 2007. Rooms will be available from 29 euros per night.

As with all easyHotel premises, easyHotel Budapest will be centrally located and will have 57 bedrooms with en-suite facilities. The rooms will be small but easyHotel Budapest will concentrate on providing great value accommodation and will not have food and beverage outlets on the site.

The easyHotel in London in Lexham Gardens W8, which is owned and operated by the easyGroup, has en-suite rooms which start at GBP 30 a night. These rooms are between 60 and 80 square feet in size and all are air conditioned with a double bed and ‘pay as you go’ television. Some of the rooms have windows and these rooms tend to sell at a GBP 10 premium over the windowless rooms.

In less than a year since launch, easyHotel has proved successful with very high occupancy rates. As a result the company has proved attractive to franchisees and recruited a CEO to take over the day to day running of the business from Stelios.

Lawrence Alexander took up his new challenge in July. He has over 25 years experience in senior management positions within the hotel industry including Ladbroke Hotels, Merit Hotels (part of ILG) and Penguin Hotels prior to joining Jarvis Hotels in 1990. As CEO he plans to establish a strong management team to guarantee the growth of the company leading to a stock market listing in the next 3 to 5 years. Stelios will remain as Chairman of easyHotel for the foreseeable future.

“I am delighted to welcome Lawrence on board,” said Stelios, the serial entrepreneur and easyGroup Chairman. “An experienced chief executive is just what easyHotel needs just now as the company is going to grow fast and globally. I am looking forward to overseeing this growth as well, but having Lawrence on board will give me time to help manage the other 14 easyGroup businesses which are also growing,” he continued.

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