Adding rooms with a view to long-term gain
Why, you might think, would a hotel chain be thinking of expansion now? The downturn is deepening by the day, consumers are keeping their pounds in their pockets and the leisure industry, from pubs and restaurants to holiday companies, is bracing itself for a tough, competitive year ahead. And hotels are in the front line: PricewaterhouseCoopers, for example, predicts a 10 per cent fall in revenues during 2009. Yet here is Accor, the French hospitality company behind such familiar names as Ibis and Novotel, preparing to introduce a series of new brands, with little or no consumer awareness, into the British market. What is it thinking?