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This year will see the celebration of AX Holdings 35th anniversary a branch of the AX Hotels Group.
AX Hotels is to invest a 400,000 revamp programme on it’s properties throughout the winter.
As in the past few years, Seashells Resort at Suncrest in Qawra, Maltas largest four-star hotel, will be closing between December and February. Mr Xuereb said a 175,000 refurbishment will be completed before the property re-opens again for business in March 2011. Seashells Resort adopted an all-inclusive resort model last year and registered an eight-year summer occupancy record by September.
A 75,000 investment will be pumped into AX Hotels other Qawra property The Sunny Coast, which has considerable repeat business from the UK market. This refurbishment will be carried out during the winter months with no disruption to guests staying at the Hotel.
A further 100,000 will be invested into the Classical four-star Hotel in Sliema The Victoria which is now 12 years old.
AX Hotel’s five-star ‘City Hotel’ in Sliema The Palace will see an investment of 50,000 which will primarily be focused on the creation of additional designer suites like the Music Suite as a way to boost the average room rate as more and more business is increased through online bookings.
We have the confidence to invest in our hotels as a way to keep our offering as fresh as possible, Mr Xuereb added. We will continue with our strategy to offer the best possible value for money.
It has been a very good year for our hospitality arm, Mr Xuereb added. Despite the slowdown, our profitability is up thanks to our strategy to strip costs down to the bare minimum without affecting our standards and our managers enthusiasm for their product.
We have also seen an improvement in the room rate and bed nights are averaging five nights. We seek to improve on the figures again in 2011.
Mr Xuereb said AX Hotels expansion will come about under a new strategy that will involve property acquisition and management under contract.
Despite being in its infancy as a brand, AX Hotels is backed by a team of highly experienced, hands-on tourism professionals, Mr Xuereb explains.
AX Hotels is able to implement very good management structures allowing proprietors to outsource the operation while retaining ownership.
Our strategy is focused on small or boutique hotels which are difficult to market in isolation, and which will benefit from considerable leverage against the AX Hotels brand.
The AX Holdings chairman said, location will be an important factor as the brand identifies potential properties. Mr Xuereb said the sector had seen the establishment of only a handful of new hotels over the past couple of years and the market lacked good standard three-star properties which offered true value for money.
AX Hotels management division will be led by Mr Xuerebs daughter Claire Zammit Xuereb, the groups hospitality director.
Next door to the Palazzo is The Victoria Hotel which is a superior four-star hotel with distinctive elegance. Sunny Coast and the Seashells Resort are another two properties situation in the northern part of the Island of Malta.