Q What's the history of the group?
A Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts was founded in 1986 in Arizona, USA, as a hotel company providing operating, management, marketing, licensing and design services. Dallas-based Olympus Real Estate Corporation bought a majority stake in the business in October 1997. A year later president and chief executive Jonathan Read led a management buyout of the company's international operations.
Carlson Hospitality Worldwide, along with its joint-venture partner, the Olympus Hospitality Group, bought Park Plaza in July 2000, but Carlson has recently taken over full ownership of the brand.
Q Who owns the brand around the world?
A Carlson Hospitality Worldwide owns and operates Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts in the USA. Major franchisee Park Plaza Hotels Europe owns and operates some 23 hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, while Carlson Hotels Asia Pacific is the exclusive master franchisor of Park Plaza hotels in the southern Pacific and South-east Asian countries. Sarovar Park Plaza Hotels operates the group's hotels in India, and AFM Hospitality Corporation is the master franchisor of the brand in Canada.
Q What sort of hotels does it operate?
A Park Plaza operates a range of hotels in the midmarket to upmarket segments of the full-service sector in 13 countries around the world. Hotels are generally about 150 bedrooms or larger in city centre, suburban and airport locations. Many of the hotels also have extensive conferencing facilities.
Park Plaza Hotels Europe also manages the Art'otel chain of hotels, each of which is dedicated to one particular artist, featuring their work and style throughout the hotel. At present there are four Art'otels, including two in Berlin, one Dresden and another in Budapest.
The largest hotel within the Park Plaza Europe portfolio is the 305-bedroom Victoria hotel in Amsterdam; the smallest is the 44-bedroom Cama Park Plaza in Ahmedabad, India.
Q What are its plans for future expansion?
A In August Park Plaza Hotels Europe announced plans to open London's largest newly built hotel in three decades. The four-star, 475-bedroom, 11-storey Riverbank Park Plaza is scheduled to open in 2005, hot on the heels of a 130-bedroom hotel in Cardiff. After opening four hotels (the Victoria Park Plaza and Sherlock Holmes hotels in London, the Park Plaza Nottingham hotel and Park Plaza Leeds hotel) in three years, the group plans to focus on expansion via franchise and management opportunities.
As a whole, Park Plaza expects to reach a total of 143 hotels around the world by 2008. Of those, the group hopes to have 93 in the Americas, 41 in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and nine in the Asia Pacific region. It currently has more than 60 hotels across the globe.
WHO ARE YOU?
Jay Witzel: president, Carlson Hotels Worldwide
Bjorn Gullaksen: executive vice-president and brand leader, Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts
Boris Ivesha: president, Park Plaza Hotels Europe
Micha Polak: senior vice-president Continental Europe
Kurt Kuen: vice-president of operations UK
WHERE ARE YOU?
Germany: Berlin, Cologne, Dresden, Frankfurt, Munich, Trier
India: Agra, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Ludhiana, Gurgaon (2005)
Israel: Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, Nahairya
The Netherlands: Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Utrecht
Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur
South Africa: Johannesburg
Thailand: Nakha Island, Phuket (2004)
UK: London, Nottingham, Leeds, Cardiff (2004)
USA: California, Florida, Wisconsin, New York
YOUR VITAL STATISTICS
Park Plaza bedrooms: about 11,500
Carlson turnover, 2002: about $6.5b (£3.9b)