Currently, set to open with only 60 rooms, the Best Western group is looking at further expanding the room capacity by an additional 60, its Asia and Middle Easter International Operations Vice President Glenn de Souza told the Business Times.
He noted that they were eyeing a further expansion to about 700 rooms within Sri Lanka with four more hotels to be established around the island.
The new hotel Best Western Elyon Colombo would comprise one basic restaurant and a roof top entertainment area and a gymnasium, he said.
Best Western operates more than 4000 hotels worldwide and has signed up with the Elyon Hotels, its Sri Lankan partner with the inaugural property adding comfort, convenience and service excellence to the city hotel.
With the further expansion they hope to add space to about 100-150 pax for a conference room as well, Mr. De Souza explained. Commenting on the reasons for venturing into Sri Lanka, he noted it was due to the economic and political stability with a “great airline and airport” and with “a lot of people travelling within the region,” it was a quick draw.
Mr. De Souza believes that Colombo rates would drop within the next five to seven years due to the increased number of hotels coming up.
Best Western Elyon Colombo will be charging upto US$150 and already have pre-bookings of at least 60-70 per cent occupancy. As the management company, Best Western brings with it international training programmes for local recruits and in addition, he pointed out they would also be training their General Manager as well within their international chain of operations.
In this respect, he also noted they would provide technical, human resources and sales and marketing people with the right training.
Currently the chain is looking to attract at least 60 urban youth to fill its staff and outsourcing cleaning and security services, Best Western Elyon Colombo General Manager Nilantha Rupesinghe said. He has over 25 years experience in service and was previously at Citrus Leisure and Club Palm Garden.
“I would love to create the next generation of hoteliers,” he said adding that they would be initially providing training locally and then sending their selected workforce to Bangkok and Europe for training within the chain of hotels.
Best Western Elyon Colombo Executive Chairman and Elyon Hotels Chairman Presantha Jayamaha, with an IT background from PIXL, stated that they would primarily be targetting the Asian visitors but noted that the short stay visitor market was currently shrinking.
He noted this to be the case since most travellers would take the ride out of Colombo on the expressway skipping a night in Colombo.
On the other hand he noted they would attract the long stay visitors into their future four star resorts in the future.
For their short stay visitors they would also attract their hotel membership card holders, corporate clients and those visiting Colombo for medical purposes mainly from the Maldives with nine hospitals around the city, Mr. Jayamaha explained.
This venture was looked at soon after the war, he said adding that this was a pet project and it was believed that with the growth in the local market it was opportune to move into this industry.
Courtesy: Sunday Times