US hotel giant Cendant is on track to secure 150 hotels in the UK by the end of 2005, according to the firm's vice-president of international strategy and development, Michael Schiff.
Schiff told Caterer at the International Hotel Conference in Monte Carlo, Monaco, this week that with the US market all but saturated, the UK represented "a great opportunity" for the firm.
At present the firm franchises 36 Days Inn hotels in the UK and two in Ireland, as well as two Wingate properties. It aims to grow this number to 48 by the end of the year and 100 by the end of 2005.
In a separate development, the firm has signed a letter of intent to acquire the franchise rights to Ramada International Hotels & Resorts, which has about 50 hotels in the UK, from Marriott International.
Cendant already owns the rights to Ramada in the USA and Canada.
"Despite the fact there are already a number of franchise brands in the UK, it is still a relatively young industry," said Schiff, who believes the company is well placed to grow its presence. "But we don't want any ownership," he stressed.
As well as expanding in the UK, Cendant intends to create clusters of hotels in Western Europe, and then in Scandanavia. It has recently signed master franchise agreements for both Russia and China.
- See next week's Caterer for more coverage of the Monte Carlo conference.Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 21 October 2004