The Steigenberger Hotel Group, Germany's largest collection of branded hotels, is looking to enter the UK market by launching six to seven properties here in the next two to three years.
The company would like to open two hotels within its five-star Steigenberger Hotels and Resorts brand - one in London and one in another leading city - as well as launch four or five InterCityHotels, which are the group's three-star, mid-range business brand.
Founded in 1930 by the Steigenberger family, the company remained in family hands until September 2009 when it was bought by Egyptian tourism entrepreneur Hamed El Chiaty, owner of the Travco Group International, which comprises 57 hotels and 22 Nile cruise ships.
El Chiaty wants to expand the portfolio of 80 Steigenberger hotels beyond the borders of Germany, Switzerland and Austria where the company is concentrated. It also has one hotel in Holland and four in Egypt.
Chief executive of the group, Arco Buijs (pictured), was appointed last July from his previous role as chief executive of the 58 NH Hotels in Benelux, France, UK, and Africa to head Steigenberger's expansion.
He said that the company is looking for management, lease and franchise opportunities in what he described as a "dynamic UK market."
Buijs is not deterred by the recent spate of five-star hotel openings in the capital. "We are very keen to have a presence in London as the city always performs well, even in a crisis," he explained. "High occupancies are almost guaranteed here."
Steigenberger is also looking to expand into Mediterranean countries, North Africa, Middle East and Asia, as well as investing €100m (£88m) in upgrading its existing hotels. Its landmark properties include the Frankfurther Hof in Frankfurt and the Parkhotel in Düsseldorf
By Janet Harmer
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