With 3,000 or so full-time employees already on the books, Dalata chief executive, Pat McCann says the group will add “at least a few hundred staff” this year with the exact figure depending on the strength of the group’s performance.
The company is also set to launch a new brand of hotels aimed at the lucrative corporate market in the coming months.
Having acquired the Moran Bewley’s Group for €455m in December, Dalata now has 27 owned or leased hotels 13 of which are to be packaged under a new yet-to-be-named brand.
“We’ve been working on the new brand now for a number of months. The Maldron would be by and large a leisure brand whereas the new brand will be much more corporate,” said Dalata chief executive Pat McCann.
Mr McCann didn’t rule out further expansion of the group’s portfolio, saying there’s still value to be had in the market.
Opportunities in Dublin will become limited before long but the rest of the country continues to offer significant value with more hotels due to come on the market through the likes of Nama’s Project Crystal which contains seven properties.
“There’s probably about another 100 hotels in the country in an insolvent position that need to be dealt with so there is still some value around that, there is absolutely value to be had [in overseas markets too],” Mr McCann said.
He also said foreign investors will continue to be enticed into the market by the value on offer here and credited their involvement with setting the platform for Dalata’s initial public offering last year.
Consolidation of the market is another trend likely to continue in the coming 18 months as more hotels look to pool resources to achieve savings and remain competitive.
The hotel chief warned, however, that prices will have to pick-up significantly for new hotels to come on stream as the current payoff doesn’t warrant new development.
“There will be no new hotels built in Cork until room rates rise because the room rates we’re getting in places like Cork are not sufficient and as a result you are looking at hotels being sold at probably two-thirds of the replacement cost. There’s a huge gap and the problem is that hotels are simply not earning enough to justify the building of new hotels.”
Dalata is preparing to announce its annual results in early next month.