Rezidor Hotel Group’s Park Inn brand will be its main focus for future expansion in the Middle East, the company has said. Speaking to Business Traveller this week at Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, Marko Hytonen, area vice-president for the Middle East, said “very aggressive growth” was planned for the brand, which launched in the region in Abu Dhabi and Muscat last year.
Park Inn’s introduction to the market has been timely given the financial climate and the dominance of four- and five-star hotels in the Middle East. “The properties have done extremely well and we have high expectations,” Hytonen said. “It’s a young and vibrant brand – the Mini Cooper of the hotel business.”
In a recent interview with our sister site abtn.co.uk, Rezidor Hotel’s president and CEO Kurt Ritter said that the Park Inn brand had been adapted to suit the Middle East market, with additional features such as swimming pools, ballrooms and a second restaurant. To read this interview in full click here.
Marko Hytonen added that growth was planned for the Radisson Blu brand in “selected destinations”, with a “more select” strategy in key cities for the luxury Missoni and Regent brands. Radisson Blu properties opened in Abu Dhabi, Cairo and Tripoli last year.
Hytonen reported that the hotel scene in the Middle East was on the up again. “Things look much brighter than 2009 – while last year was our record year for openings, with eight new Rezidor properties in the region, it was a mixed bag in terms of the market,” he said. “But occupancy in the first quarter of this year is up 10 per cent on last year.”
Dubai will get its first Park Inn in 2012, the 310-room Park Inn Dubai Airport Free Zone (see online news September 3, 2009). The 169-room Missoni Kuwait is due to open in the last quarter of this year, while other properties in development include the 365-room Regent Doha, the 437-room Regent Emirates Pearl Abu Dhabi, and one further Park Inn and two Radisson Blus in Dubai.
Report by Michelle Mannion