Sofitel plans openings but corporates not focus

Sofitel Luxury Hotels is planning to open 30 additional hotels, but the corporate group market will not be a key target, according to chief executive Robert Gaymer-Jones.

Sofitel plans openings but corporates not focus
Sofitel plans openings but corporates not focus

The Paris-based brand has historically been focused on business, but is now aiming for an equal mix of business and leisure guests, he said.

"We are not big on meetings and groups," Gaymer-Jones added. "We will keep the meeting business, but our hotels aren’t designed for big meetings, more for smaller meetings."

MICE events – comprising groups booking ten or more rooms– makes up around 16% of the company’s revenues, he said, with no plans to grow the figure.

"We aren’t playing in the field of large meetings. As the economy dips, the first thing people do is cancel meetings," he added.

Growth

Sofitel Luxury Hotels currently has 15 hotels under construction, as part of plans to increase its hotel portfolio from 120 to 150 by 2015.
 
It saw an 8% increase in global revpar in 2011 compared with 2010.

The company plans to expand its boutique brand, So Sofitel, and has "had a request" to open the brand in an existing London property.

Meanwhile, the Middle East has remained a "very good market" for Sofitel, despite the Arab Spring, Gaymer-Jones added, saying: "Egypt gets a lot of negative press but business has to come back." In the spring 2011 uprising business fell to 8% occupancy, and is now back up to 50%, he said.

 

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