18 October 2016 – Expansión
Room Mate Hotels, the hotel chain chaired by Enrique Sarasola (pictured above), is preparing to enter the vacation hotel segment and has set itself the goal of having 2,000 rooms in a number of hotels along the coast by 2020.
Specifically, the group founded in 2005, which already has a presence in twelve cities and six countries, plans to inaugurate this new line of business next summer. To that end, the chain is currently analysing different projects and studying operations in the Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Cataluña, Costa del Sol and Riviera Maya (México).
“We have taken this decision after listening to requests from our customers, who have been asking us for a long time now to take our philosophy and creativity to beach destinations”, explained Sarasola.
The Director said that the group currently has around fifteen projects on the table at various phases of analysis to determine whether they fit with its standards. “The company is being refinanced. This step forms part of our strategy to grow through turnkey projects”, he added.
The chain signed a €54 million refinancing agreement with Citigroup at the end of last year. Half of that figure will be used to pay off debt and the remainder will be used to finance growth.
The Chairman of Room Mate considers that this move is an important step in the company’s plans: “We want to take the essence of Room Mate to exclusive vacation destinations, specifically: excellent locations, superb design…and innovative concepts”.
In this way, the group’s new beach front destinations will include a wide range of leisure facilities, bars, restaurants, beach clubs and terraces, said Sarasola. “In some locations, we will opt for all inclusive formats, in others we will place the emphasis on the music or on the leisure facilities”, he said.
According to the company’s forecasts, Room Mate will close 2016 will operating revenues of €72 million, which represents an increase of 36% with respect to 2015 (€52.9 million). In the first eight months of this year alone, the hotel chain recorded revenues of €44 million.
Room Mate’s properties will close the year with an occupancy rate of more than 87%, whislt the RevPar (revenues per available room) will amount to €133.42, up by 14% compared to last year.
Room Mate Hotels has more than 1,500 rooms in 23 hotels and plans to open another eight establishments over the next few months.
Sarasola said that the chain has achieved record results in all of its destinations this summer, with the exception of Istanbul, which has suffered as a result of the terrorist attacks. “We are not planning to abandon the destination. We are not going to allow terrorism to change our plans”, he said.
In Spain, the Director encourages the Public Administrations to help the sector to renovate the hotel stock…to position Spain as the “Florida of Europe”. He also acknowledged that the lack of Government “is not good for the industry”.
The Executive recently strengthened his commitment to Room Mate by buying an additional 20% stake in the hotel chain that he founded more than ten years ago; he now controls 70% of the share capital. The remaining 30% is held by Sandra Ortega Mera, through the company Rosp Corunna.
Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)
Translation: Carmel Drake