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Boutique hotels gain a foothold in region

Despite the recent flurry of mega hotel projects being announced, small hotels are still confident of big business in the Middle East, according to Martin Buehler, chairman, Boutique Hotels & Resorts International.

Despite the recent flurry of mega hotel projects being announced, small hotels are still confident of big business in the Middle East, according to Martin Buehler, chairman, Boutique Hotels & Resorts International.

“For every big hotel project another boutique hotel will go up. We have been surprised by the interest in development for boutique hotels. The concept is gaining a good foothold in the Middle East, and that follows the trend in other parts of the world,” Buehler told Hotelier Middle East on a recent visit to Dubai.

“We did not expect to attract such great interest from developers in the Middle East. This is much more of a growth market [for boutique hotels] than we anticipated and I have to re-calculate my strategic growth charts to double what we expected for the next five years.”

The hotel reservation system, which currently represents 62 properties worldwide, including Coral International in the Middle East, is adding three new properties a month to its system, with six hotels slated to open in the region in 2006 alone.

Boutique Hotels also has plans to open a central reservation office in Dubai this summer. The reservation centre will operate on a toll free number, offering English, French, Russian, German and Arabic speaking reservation agents, based in the Coral International head office.

Coral is a regional partner of Boutique Hotels, and all its properties in the region are part of the Boutique GDS system. Members pay an affiliation fee, a systems set up fee, a quarterly marketing fee, and monthly sales distribution costs.

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