FOXTROTS

 

Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning. 

Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.

 

2009 April 15

 

Rocco Forte. The rocky road.

 

Rocco Forte hotels is expanding out of Europe, and starting to lose its product definition by doing so.

 

Its 11 hotels in Europe are high-grade hotels in central locations and often in special buildings, with an average room count of 120. But three of its five new ones are bigger than that average, see table. Also, whereas all existing ones are owned, most of the new ones are managed. And although RF may add its luxury interiors and service, its planned hotels in the Middle East are nondescript – compared with many of its hotels in Europe.

 

RF is also changing by moving into resorts; until now it has concentrated on city centres, even though its market is divided 49% business and 51% leisure. Also, its largest source market is the US (followed by the UK), so that will need to change for most of the new hotels.

 

RF explains the moves by saying it has reached critical mass, and so it is moving into resorts and out of Europe. It also notes that Lord Forte, father of RF’s Rocco Forte, expanded into the Middle East, and so it is well equipped for this expansion. In fact this 30-year-old anecdote has little relevance today, except perhaps in terms of contacts.

 

It plans further expansion in the Middle East, probably 4-6 hotels in GCC countries, but in other Mideast destinations if opportunities arise. It also opened a regional sales office in Abu Dhabi at the start of this year.

 

 

New Rocco Forte hotels

Location

Profile

Prague

R-101; O-May 2009; monastery.

Sicily

R-200; resort; O-May 2009; west of island, 1hr from Palermo, 230ha estate.

Abu Dhabi

R-282; O-late 2009/10.

Marrakech

R-98; resort; O-late 2010; 225ha estate.

Jeddah

R-198; O-late-2010.

Notes: All managed except Sicily, owned. O = opening, R = rooms. Source: Travel Business Analyst.

 

 

The Fox