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easyGroup aims to bring unique rent-a-room offices to Dubai

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easyGroup aims to bring unique rent-a-room offices to Dubai

Last updated: February 26 2007
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  • easyGroup aims to bring unique rent-a-room offices to Dubai

    Dubai: Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of the easyGroup of companies, is eyeing Dubai's booming commercial sector for his next business foray into the emirate.

    The British entrepreneur, best known for setting up low-cost carrier easyJet, said his new easyOffice concept could have strong potential in Dubai. The initiative offers flexible office space to rent by the room on short or long term deals.

    "The plan is to open the first easyOffice in London in May/June and then we will look at other options," he said.

    There are so many start up businesses in Dubai and people constantly moving in and out. With the things that are happening here and the dynamism of the economy I think a flexible office space solution might work here."
    Haji-Ioannou hinted that many business in Dubai are attempting to reduce the office space they use in an effort to slash costs. Analysts say the the vacancy rate for office accommodation in Dubai is as low as 1 per cent, driving up rental rates.

    Future option

    Looking at his other businesses, he said running easyCruise voyages in the Arabian Gulf is another possibility.However, he said there are no plans to introduce easyJet services in the region, owing to restrictions on where the business operates and the domination of existing airlines.

    "Even if you build a locally-owned business you can't expand into other countries, so you are limited to flying in and out of your home country," he said. "And I don't think it's a good idea for easyJet to compete with someone like Emirates that blankets the market."

    Haji-Ioannou was speaking after a press conference announcing the first of six budget hotels planned for Dubai under the easyHotel.com brand, which will open in Karama early next year.

    In an unusual choice of construction methods, easyHotels will be made up of self-contained rooms pre-built at a manufacturing plant at a cost of $50,000 each, then transported and stacked onto a building sub-structure to form a complete hotel.

    Joe Sita, CEO of Istithmar Hotels, the master franchise holder, said the method will cut costs and help the company avoid the delays in conventional construction in Dubai.

    A 200-room hotel will be capable of opening within 20 weeks of the concrete podium being completed, the company claims."Over the past 10 months, we have invested more than $2.5 million in researching, designing and refining the core room concept," said Sita.

    "In approximately 15 square metres, each room provides everything that the guest will want - a well-sprung bed, a high pressure shower unit, a work cubicle and an activity wall that includes flat screen television and broadband internet."

    "We won't announce pricing until we're ready to open for business. But if I was opening tomorrow, I'd expect rooms to start at between Dh250-Dh300 per night."
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