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VH on the prowl for hotel projects

Value Hospitality on the prowl for hotel projects
Thursday, August 24, 2006
New Straits Times

The company already has targets in sight, including a five-star establishment

HOTEL operator and turnaround specialist Value Hospitality is looking for hotel projects for investors to buy and turn around, with a view to ultimately sell or inject them into a real estate investment trust (REIT).

“We are looking for projects for investors to invest in, to turn them around and make it worthwhile to sell them,” group general manager Dennis Tan said in an interview.

In this regard, Value Hospitality is already pursuing some projects, including a five-star hotel for an investor who is keen to sell or list it under a REIT.

Value Hospitality, which currently manages hotels in Malaysia mostly under the four-star Everly brand and three-star Prescott brand, has bagged two other management contracts in Sibu and Malacca – Everly Hotel Sibu and Everly Resort Hotel Malacca.

Everly Hotel Sibu, a 226-room new hotel built by Rimbunan Hijau at a cost of RM60 million, is scheduled to open on September 2.

“It is a business hotel. We are looking at businessmen from Sarawak and the Klang Valley,” Tan said on its target market.

“Sibu is a competitive market. The current average occupancy is around 55 percent to 60 per cent. The opening of our hotel will increase the number of rooms by 25 per cent…it will take between three and four years for the market there to build up,” he said.

For a start, the hotel is expected to have an average room rate of RM120 per night.

Last month, Value Hospitality took over the management of the 445-room Riviera Bay Malacca and renamed it Everly Resort Hotel.

“The hotel’s previous focus was mostly the weekend tourist market and some seminars. (But) the tourist business is only on Saturdays so we are reversing it and will predominantly focus on the meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition market,” Tan said.

He expects the hotel to chalk up an average occupancy of 60-65 per cent within two years and have an average room rate (ARR) of at least RM125 from the third year onwards. Prior to Value Hospitality’s takeover of the operations, the hotel had an average occupancy rate of slightly over 50 per cent and an ARR of RM110.

Value Hospitality’s turnaround strategy basically involves looking at the operational efficiency of a hotel. Hotel staff are required to multi task, thus saving on wages as fewer workers are required.

Tan said each worker also earns more as the service charge collected is shared by fewer employees.

Value Hospitality typically provides a turnaround guarantee within a six-month period of its entry.

With the new additions, Value Hospitality will have a total of 10 hotels under its wings, including Prescott Inn Medan Tuanku in Kuala Lumpur, Prescott Metro Inn in Kajang, ParkCity Everly Hotel in Miri and ParkCity Everly Hotel in Bintulu.

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