Lawrence Alexander is being appointed CEO of easyHotel and will take up his position on 31 July. Lawrence has over 25 years experience in senior management positions within the hotel industry including Ladbroke Hotels, Merit Hotels (part of ILG) and Penguin Hotels prior to joining Jarvis Hotels in 1990. Lawrence was Commercial Director of Jarvis, which, as part of its portfolio of 5000 hotel rooms has held a Ramada franchise since 2001. As well as the core commercial skills of sales, marketing and revenue management Lawrence is also experienced in managing franchise relationships.
easyHotel is about to report its second profitable year. The business model is established and the company is now poised to go through a period of substantial growth. easyHotel launched initially as an online brokerage service in 2004, offering rooms from a selection of 20,000 hotels worldwide. The current partnership with Octopus, is now being put out to tender with Octopus and others being invited to bid.
The first easyHotel opened in August 2005 in Kensington, London; the hotel, a test-bed for future developments, is owned and operated by the company. The first franchisee opened an easyHotel in Switzerland in September 2005 and there are currently two further hotel properties in London (Victoria and Earls Court) being converted into easyHotels, due to open in late 2006. In addition the easyGroup has granted a master franchise license to Istithmar, a Dubai based investment house, to open 38 easyHotels across the Middle East, India and North Africa in the next five years. The construction cost of these 38 hotels will amount to $400 million US.
Lawrence will oversee all current franchisees but will primarily be responsible for finding and managing future franchisees to ensure easyHotel becomes a global player in the so called sub-budget hotel sector by continuing to offer much better prices than current branded budget hotels like Ibis and Travelodge. As CEO he plans to establish a strong management team to guarantee the growth of the company leading to a stock market listing in the next 3 to 5 years. Stelios will remain as Chairman of easyHotel for the foreseeable future.
The easyHotel concept is designed for urban locations where the price of property is high. With small rooms made from prefabricated units, easyHotel is able to offer rooms in central London at prices starting as low as £20 (sterling) a night. Currently all rooms have a double bed, an en-suite shower room with WC, air conditioning and ‘pay as you go’ television; some have windows, others do not. Consumers have been happy to accept less space for a better price and have immediately understood the easyHotel concept of a safe, clean, private room for the night at unbeatable value. easyHotel does not provide any food and beverage services but since its locations are in urban areas, these services are provided by other suppliers in the immediate neighborhood.
“I am delighted to welcome Lawrence on board,” said Stelios, the serial entrepreneur and easyGroup chairman. “An experienced chief executive is just what easyHotel needs just now as the company is going to grow fast and globally. I am looking forward to overseeing this growth as well, but having Lawrence on board will give me time to help manage the other 14 easyGroup businesses which are also growing,” he continued.
Elsewhere in the easyGroup, easyCruise is launching its second ship in Amsterdam on 11 August and the Greek shipyard Neorion has entered into a letter of intent with easyCruise to build up to four new ships for the company. In the last week easyBus has announced that it will be spending up to £3 million (sterling) on a new fleet for route expansion. The company that owns the ‘easy’ brand, easyGroup IP Licensing Ltd, has itself begun a search for a managing director to help manage the continued growth of easyGroup businesses as well as the continued extension of the easy brand into consumer facing industries.