City Developments sees strong growth from its M&C hotel group

City Developments (CDL) sees strong growth coming from its Millennium & Copthorne group of hotels and resorts in London, New York and Singapore.

It said its London operations, in particular, grew by 21 percent in Q3 this year – the strongest regional growth for the Millennium and Copthorne group.

CDL, which owns 53 percent of the group, said it would continue to expand its network in Europe for growth. Founded in the UK some 10 years ago, the Millennium and Copthorne group now operates 105 hotels and resorts around the world.

In the nine months ending September 2006, revenue grew by 6.5 percent to 156.1 million pounds, or S$470 million, with a significant portion contributed by its operation in London.

The group said the good performance in London was driven by higher room rates and higher occupancy rate which grew by 7.8 percent to 92.6 percent from a year ago.

David Curtis-Brignell, Director – Regional Marketing for Europe, Millennium & Copthorne Group, said: “In the UK we are committed to grow, and we’re looking through management contracts. Some of the contracts we’ve signed recently – Southampton where we’ve got an iconic building in the city being developed for 2008; Sheffield – which is another of our football club hotels; and one of our exciting ones is in fact the two hotels currently under development or refurbishment at Chelsea Football Club in London.”

One of the Chelsea Football Club hotels will bear the premium Millennium branding, and the other the Copthorne badge.

This differentiation, the group said, would allow it to reach out to a wider group of customers at different price points.

The group is also strengthening its presence in the MICE arena with its Millennium Gloucester Hotel & Conference Centre.

After a 5 million pound, or S$15 million, makeover, it now features conference rooms bearing familiar
Singapore names like Sentosa, Orchard and Tanglin, all furnished with a strong Singaporean theme.

David Curtis-Brignell said: “We have a very strong brand presence in the UK. But one of the things that we also do is that UK also generates quite a considerable amount of business outbound for the rest of the world. So we have international sales people who, for example, make sure that our hotels in America, Asia, and New Zealand are into all the major tour operator programmes.”

Going forward, the group is looking to strengthen its lead in corporate businesses and acquiring more properties in countries on continental Europe like Germany for further growth.

Source: Channel NewsAsia, 19 December 2006 

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