Friday, February 27, 2009

Accor launches Ibis hotel, eyes another in 2011

HOSPITALITY group Accor officially launched its economy hotel Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen Street yesterday, and it already has a second one slated for completion in 2011.

The second one, Ibis Novena, is being developed - and will be owned - by Cockpit International.

Work will commence on the 241-room hotel next month. There are currently over 800 hotels under the Ibis brand worldwide. In the Asia-Pacific region, Accor has 62 Ibis hotels in operation, with a further 100 under development.

'The announcement of the Ibis Singapore, Novena reflects our targeting of the economy and mid-markets for development around the region. Ibis is growing very strongly in China, India, Thailand and Indonesia,' said Michael Issenberg, chairman of Accor Asia Pacific.

He also raised the possibility of having up to six Ibis hotels in Singapore. He expects to see a 'positive return' for Ibis Singapore 'by this year'. Rates for the 538-room hotel are in the region of $145-150.

And despite the downturn, the launch of the Ibis hotel comes at an opportune time, highlighted Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry S Iswaran. 'Travellers are likely to switch from long-haul travel to shorter-haul holidays as they seek to maximise value from their travel budget,' he said at the hotel's launch yesterday morning.

In addition, the hotel will benefit as, now more than ever, both leisure and corporate travellers are looking for better value for money, said Accor's vice-president (Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia) Gerard Guillouet, adding that he is confident Ibis Singapore will outperform the market this year.

'People are trading down. A lot of corporations are becoming cost conscious,' he emphasised.

The $145 million Ibis Singapore is expected to fill a gap in the market, as an 'internationally branded economy hotel'. Since its soft launch some two weeks ago, the hotel has been virtually full, Mr Guillouet said. However, only 300 of the 538 rooms are up and running presently.

Mr Guillouet also broached the possibility of Accor introducing its other brands here, such as Sofitel and Pullman. Its Novotel and Mercure brands are already in Singapore.

Source: Business Times, 27 Feb 2009

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