easyHotel plans to be reviewed
Opening of first easyHotel in Dubai delayed until last quarter
Development plans for the easyHotel brand in the Middle East will be reviewed once the first property opens in Jebel Ali, Dubai, in September/October 2009, revealed easyGroup founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannous.
“Our partner in the Middle East, Nakheel, already owns a number of sites in the region that we have approved for future easyHotels. However, given the current economic outlook, my view is that both companies — Nakheel and easyHotel — will review all development opportunities after the Jebel Ali property has opened,” said Stelios.
He explained that development of the Jebel Ali property, which was scheduled to be completed by June of this year, had taken longer than expected because there are no other “super budget” hotels in Dubai.
“We have had to ensure the hotel met all Dubai’s exacting standards for both construction and operating. Dubai does not yet have a real 'super budget' hotel and therefore no regulations that corresponded with our very particular brand standards,” Stelios said.
Although development of easyHotels in the region has slowed, Stelios added that elsewhere the brand was “bucking the trend” in terms of increased revPAR.
“Currently, we're bucking the trend. Our Q1 figures for the brand as a whole will show a significant revPAR increase year-on-year. We believe that such increases will inevitably slow through 2009, but right now, I'd rather be selling rooms in our sector of the market than any other,” asserted Stelios.
“Our pricing strategy mirrors that of most of the low-cost carriers in that we charge less the earlier our customers book. This allows us to be fully flexible on rates. Our aim, for all our hotels, is to offer our customers the 'best branded hotel rate in town' — the same will apply to Dubai,” he continued.
“All indications so far indicate that as the economy continues to weaken, customers will seek out great value products and services — that's where we sit, so I'm confident — at the moment!” added Stelios.
Nakheel Hotels owns the master franchise for easyHotels in the MENA region.
A company spokesperson said there were not any “milestone updates” on its plans for the easyHotel brand.