EasyHotel boss plans to open 12 no-frills hotels in a year

12 Mar 2007 • by Natalie Aster

Stelios Haji-Ioannou's easyHotel venture plans to have 12 no-frills hotels running in the next 12 months, reported The Independent.

And over the next two-and-a-half years, there will be at least 60 in the planning stage, according to easyHotel's chief executive Lawrence Alexander, a former commercial director at Jarvis hotel.

Brought in last July to oversee easyGroup founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou's hotel venture, Mr Alexander has had a busy time meeting with potential franchisees across the world.

The first easyHotel opened in South Kensington, west London, in August 2005, to mixed reviews. There were certainly no complaints about the price - rooms are £25 a night - but the bright orange décor, the signifier of all things easy, and the smallest of the rooms, at 6sq m, were not to everyone's liking.

However, Mr Alexander points out that the first hotel was a prototype. There is likely to be less orange on the walls in future while the smallest room is likely to be ditched, he said.

A second hotel opened in Basle, in Switzerland, a couple of months after the first opening and two more will launch in central London in the next two months, in Victoria and Earls Court.

EasyHotel also has an agreement with the Dubai-based investment house Istithmar to roll out the chain in the Middle East, North Africa and India.

Mr Alexander said the business has been profitable from day one. Figures filed at company house on 30 September 2005 show total sales of £189,000 and gross profit of £166,000. Figures for 2006 will be filed in the next couple of weeks.

Currently, all bookings are taken on the company's own website and Mr Alexander likes it that way, but will invest to advertise on other sites if the franchises demand it.