Hotels. Still-to-be-born.

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FOXTROTS 

 

Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.  Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance. 

 

2007 May 13

 

 

 

Hotels. Still-to-be-born. 

 

 

Most probably associate ‘Star’ with Starwood and its leading light (of S Capital, not S Hotels), Barry Sternlicht. Now there is another hotel group using that – onestarisborn (really). 

 

Now is ‘star’ related to people like Elvis Presley, or ‘One Star’ to its categorisation? Or both? Does not really matter, because the name is almost as bad as Barry’s one (or One; well, actually, 1). 

 

The new company – I’ll call it OSIB – is based in the
Netherlands, and has yet to open its first hotel. Its plans are not at the Tune level (although at one time Accor did designate its F1 motels 0-star, so 1-star would be higher), but more upmarket.
 

 

Yet the concept is still the same as for budget hotels – smaller rooms, and fewer facilities provided, but there in pay-as-you-go format. 

 

Behind OSIB is Michael Levie, another person who has met me. Although OSIB has some good ideas, it needs to move close to my budget business plan (in terms of operations and sales, not standards) if it wants to celebrate its birthday. 

 

 

The Fox

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Hotels. Tune Inn?

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FOXTROTS 

 

Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.  Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance. 

 

2007 May 09

 

 

 

Hotels. Tune Inn? 

 

 

I hold the high ground when it comes to marketable corporate names for hotel groups – although to date the industry has been curiously slow in following my advice. Accor, for instance, has still not used my ‘Walk Inn’ for one of its budget brands. Or, worse, paid my unsolicited invoice for this valuable piece of marketing guidance. 

 

Now, it seems that two would-be hotel groups – in
Asia and
Europe – have started off without seeking my counsel. In
Asia, the group is Tune Hotels, created by Tony Fernandes and Dennis Melka – both of whom have met me.
 

 

And both men know the budget business – Fernandes is head of Air Asia, one of the few successful low-fare-airlines, and Melka headed Mass Market Ventures. They have opened a hotel in
Kuala Lumpur, Tune Hotel, that will probably change the hotel business as we know it – no less.
 

 

Apart from the name, most of the elements that I have outlined in my business plan for what I call low-rate-hotels are there. Such as internet booking, no frills, small rooms (some with no windows), charges for services (except housekeeping). 

 

One small fault is towels, which are not provided in rooms, but which can be bought (or brought). They should be rented out and not sold, because the problem with taking a towel in your luggage is that it will probably be wet. 

 

Other changes needed are low rates for advance booking (current start rates are about US$3), and increasing as booking time gets closer. Tune gives no refunds (a correct policy) but allows cancellations with credit that can be used for a later booking. That is cumbersome; rebooking should be allowed but at the same time as the cancellation, with a charge, and at the new rate. Also, name changes should be allowed, and charged. 

 

I have other small gripes. 

 

My preferred name for the hotels? Please send US$1000 in used notes to the usual address; I may reply. It is not Dew Drop Inn. 

 

 

The Fox

Disappearances on the Orient Express.

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FOXTROTS 

 

Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.  Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance. 

 

2007 May 07

 

 

Disappearances on the Orient Express. 

 

 

I have stolen the following report from People-in-Travel, adding only the rude parts. 

 

The father-and-son team that developed and ran Orient-Express Hotels is out. 

 

Founder James Sherwood resigned as chairman last December, primarily for personal reasons – understandable at age 73 and with a company that owns or manages near-50 hotels, trains, river cruiser, restaurants, in 25 countries. OEH has a strong presence in
Asia, more so since it bought the 6-hotel Pansea group last year. JS created OEH in 1976.
 

 

His son, Simon, had taken over as CEO much earlier. At the time of his father’s retirement, Simon said that he was looking forward to “our future association [with JS] in his new capacity”, as a director helping find new acquisitions. 

 

It was not to be. In February, Simon said he was resigning “to pursue other interests”, and would not stand for re-election as a director this June, but is ready to collect his salary until August or a replacement is found. 

 

These events appear to indicate that, as some believed at the start of his 13-year spell with OEH, that Simon got the job primarily because he was the son of his dad. 

 

Spotting trains. Will Robert Riley take over as CEO at Orient-Express*? 

 

He has headed a number of companies, including Mandarin Oriental – which gives him the experience in
Asia. He has also run a gambling operation in
Australia, a cruise operation based in
London (OEH has a cruiser in
Myanmar), and most recently, Meridien Hotels.
 

 

However, as far as we know, he has not played with trains. 

 

(*Please note that a fee equivalent to six-months’ salary is payable by both parties to my nominated charity – myself – if this happens.) 

 

 

The Fox

London airport. City take-off.

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2007 May 04


London airport. City take-off.
 

Following the purchase of London
City
Airport – by a consortium that includes AIG, Credit Suisse, and GE Infrastructure – the airport is negotiating with its major airlines. 

It wants them – Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, and VLM – to increase frequencies and add more routes. A boost has been AF’s decision to open a hub at City for its (Ireland-based) airline
City Jet. 

Private-jet business, which has been growing at 40%, is another focus for growth. International passengers handled at the airport totalled 1.8mn, up 24%, in 2006. The upward trend is expected to continue this year. Routes added in 2006 include
Hamburg,
Milan, Madrid,
Newcastle,
Nuremberg,
Stockholm, and
Stuttgart.   
 

The airport’s master plan calls for 3.5mn passengers in 2015 and 8mn in 2030, but expansion will take place without a new or longer runway or the introduction of night flights. 

Existing runways will be better utilised, and airport management will work with airlines to increase flight load factors. New aircraft parking stands are planned and the passenger terminal will be extended, with improved check-in and retail facilities.    

The Fox 

Dubai. 10 Movenpick hotels?!

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FOXTROTS 

 

Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.  Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance. 

 

2007 May 02

 

 

 


Dubai. 10 Movenpick hotels?!
 

 

 

Movenpick is adding as many hotels in
Dubai as some are adding in the whole of the
Middle East. Planned so far (L = location; NA = not available; O = opening; R = rooms):
 

 

 

– Deira: R-245, O-2007, L-Deira. 

 

 

– Ibn Battuta: R-369, O-Q4 2007,

L-Sheikh Zayed Road

, by Ibn Battuta shopping mall. 

 

 

Jumeirah
Beach Residence: R-294, O-2007, L-Jumeirah beach.
 

 

 

Laguna
Tower: R-NA, O-2008, L-centre.
 

 

 

– Oceana Palm Jumeirah: R-248, O-Q4 2007, L-on the ‘trunk’ of the Palm Jumeirah development. 

 

 

– Palm Jumeirah: R-293, O-Q4 2007, L-on the outer palm crescent of the Palm Jumeirah development. 

 

 


Pearl: R-NA, O-2009, L-centre.
 

 

 

Negotiations are reportedly underway for two more hotels, in Dubailand and in the Sheikh Zayed Road/Business Bay area.

 

 

The Fox