More hotels will lift tourism

Although the sharp increase in the supply of deluxe hotel rooms in Egypt will result in aggressive pricing, international chains coming in will also work on extensive marketing and sales strategies, helping to boost demand in the country, Conrad Cairo general manager Darren Law tells TTN.
Law with the Conrad Cairo in the background.

Q. More new hotels are coming up in Egypt prompting some observers to warn of a glut in available deluxe accommodation in the country. Your comments please.

A. The increased deluxe hotel supply in Cairo, clearly emphasized by the coming openings of Hyatt Regency, Four Season's Nile Plaza and the City Star Complex will surely affect the average room rate, pushing the existing hotels towards more aggressive pricing strategy in order to stimulate demand and increase occupancy.

However, the intervention of such management companies in the Egyptian market reflects a good image of the investment environment.

These international hotel chains will definitely work on more extensive marketing and sales strategies to promote Egypt as a destination for business, leisure and conventions and incentives, leading to an increase in demand versus the supply.

Q. Inbound tourism to Egypt has been hit by the ongoing Palestinian crisis as well as the aftermath of 9/11. What in your opinion do the government and the industry need to do to overcome the situation?

A. Working together, government and private sector, is a key feature of the tourism sector's response to this crisis.

However, the following points are the main recovery steps, if followed, will definitely increase our share of international tourism:

* Government intervention to help tourism businesses;

* Increased spending on tourism promotion;

* Investment in quality;

* Enhancing cooperation between public-private sectors;

* Encouraging new investment opportunities for cash capital owners; and

* A public relations campaign by the tourism ministry in conjunction with the national carrier Egypt Air as well as the private sector.

Q. Are you taking part in the MTF? If yes, what do you hope to gain from such participation?

A. MTF provides an ideal forum for successful business. Such participation is an opportunity to make vital business contacts and to open new markets.

Looking to increase our market share, Conrad Egypt Hotel and Resorts focuses on having business from different Mediterranean countries, specially leisure and business travellers and incentive groups.

Q. A brief outline of the hotel and its facilities.

A. Conrad Cairo is a luxury business hotel located in the heart of Cairo commercial district overlooking the River Nile, with 617 elegantly designed guestrooms, inclusive of 52 suites and 5 executive floors, an array of restaurants and bars including Felucca Café, a world tour of international cuisine all day and night; Sea Market, offering the freshest seafood, Villa D'Este, fine Italian dining, Le Bar, classic style with casual atmosphere and Atrium Lounge, a lively places to meet and be seen.

The largest combined meeting facilities in Cairo and a world class casino.

Conrad Cairo is truly considered one of the leading business hotels in the Middle East.

Q. What is your target market? And what has been occupancy level over the past year?

A. The Conrad Cairo is principally a business hotel with leisure making up about 40 per cent of our occupancy. After the Middle East and the Gulf area, Europe and the US are our main feeder markets. Our occupancy level over the past year was over 50 per cent.

Q. Are you offering any special packages currently? Any specials targeting regional and Gulf visitors?

A. Many special-tailored packages are introduced to different target markets. Some of these are:

'Conrad Summer refreshment' projecting a more friendly and dynamic approach towards the local market;

'Choose your Conrad topping!' is a new dynamic and more appealing image of Conrad targeting the Gulf area, linking food and beverage and entertainment with rooms.

The package is very flexible with more benefits and added values.

'Conrad Family Suites' is a family product (suite) linked with family entertainment.

'The Conrad Residence' is a long-stay product for "on-business" expatriates. It is a high quality-product and includes added values.