Abu Dhabi Fairmont targets 65% occupancy in 2011

Hotel to turn a profit in first 12 months of operation, says GM, reached 55% occupancy in 2010
Abu Dhabi Fairmont targets 65% occupancy in 2011
FAIRMONT PLAN: The Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, is targeting 65 percent average occupancy for 2011 (Images for illustrative purposes only)
By Edward Attwood
Tue 21 Dec 2010 08:55 AM

Fairmont
Hotels & Resorts’ first hotel in Abu Dhabi, the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, is
targeting 65 percent average occupancy for 2011, after reaching around 55 percent
average occupancy this year, the head of the property has said.

“For
this year - our start-up year - we’ll be looking at about mid-50 percent
occupancies, and we’ll probably be able to grow that to mid-60s next year,”
Fairmont Bab Al Bahr general manager Henning Fries told Arabian Business.

“We’re
not a small hotel – quite a large number of rooms on the market, and that seems
like a reasonable number to us.”

Fries
added that despite the influx of new hotels onto the local market, the Fairmont
is set to turn a profit in its first year of operations.

“Now,
could it have been even more profitable two years earlier and under completely
different market conditions,” he added. “But running the occupancies that we do
and given that the food and beverage [F&B] and conference side have done so
well, it’s allowed us to be in positive territory in our first year of
operations.”

The
opening of Yas Island and the launch of new properties in the ‘between the
bridges’ area of Abu Dhabi have added an estimated 1,200 rooms in the UAE
capital in 2010, according to Jones Lang LaSalle.

But
Fries said that the F&B and conferencing facilities had contributed to
about half of overall revenue, a higher proportion than is usual elsewhere in
the world.

To
add to that, the Fairmont will expand its conferencing facilities in 2011, as
well as putting in more F&B outlets.

“There
will be something more in terms of an entertainment venue as well as a few more
culinary venues,” Fries said.

The
Willow Stream Spa will also open in the first quarter of next year.

In
addition to the Fairmont Dubai and the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Fairmont Hotels
& Resorts is also working on other sites in the Abu Dhabi Marina and in
Fujairah, as well as a property in Muscat. 

However,
Fries said that timelines for those locations are unclear as both venues are
part of larger masterplanned projects.

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