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EasyHotels set their sights on Cyprus November 24, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Hotels Cyprus.

Recently knighted easyJet founder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, is planning to introduce his latest concept, easyHotel, the hotel that offers tiny, windowless rooms stripped of all but the most basic of amenities, to Cyprus.

The concept claims that it could double the capacity of hotels, significantly lower running costs, a 60 room hotel can apparently be run by four full time staff members, increasing profits in the process.

The cabin-like rooms are basic to say the least; sporting distinctive ‘easy’ orange walls; measuring just six-metres-square with beds only feet from the toilet and providing just enough floor space to stand.

The budget hotels are already operating in London and Basel, with plans to open in Dubai, Qatar, Cairo and Saudi Arabia in the near future.

Lawrence Alexander, CEO of easyHotel, said that there was a real need for budget hotels in Cyprus, saying, “there are lots of great four and five star hotels, but the market just isn’t there for them. “The bottom end of the market is not currently being provided for.”

However, the audience of industry specialists questioned whether such a concept was right for Cyprus, pointing out that Cypriot law stipulates a minimum room size (easyHotel rooms do not currently meet such requirements), and that the strength of the unions may make minimal staff operation difficult.

The fact that the average stay in an easyHotel is two nights whereas the average stay in Cyprus is over 10 days could also pose potential problems.

Despite these reservations the concept received a huge response from Cypriot hoteliers looking to take on the franchise, as over 50 industry representatives squeezed into a Limassol conference room to witness the introductory presentation. One impressed audience member was heard to exclaim that Cyprus’ Hoteliers Association AGM would be jealous of such a turnout.

Cyprus’ tourist industry has suffered over the last few years partly due to the lack of a low-cost airline offering flights to the island and the rising popularity of new destinations. The economy relies heavily on the tourist sector, with tourism and related industries contributing up to 20 per cent of GDP.

With the recent demise of Helios/ajet, there has been talk of easyJet moving in to take up the routes. Although Alexander couldn’t confirm such reports, he agreed that Cyprus needed a low-cost airline. “I think that there will be a low cost airline flying into Cyprus, but I can’t say if it will be easyJet.”

Haji-Ioannou, whose parents are both Greek-Cypriot, launched easyGroup in the mid 90s, with real success coming from the ultra-low cost airline easyJet. The group now operates in a number of markets, from internet cafes to car rentals, although none have experienced the same level of success as the airline. There was even talk of launching a company providing cheap funerals; however the concept was quickly dropped after the first few meetings.

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