South American Fën Hotels eyes rapid global expansion
South American Fën Hotels eyes rapid global expansion
12 AUGUST 2016 6:46 AM

The Argentina-based management company is expanding its own brands in South and North America.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- Fën Hotels is a company with a short name but large development plans. Launched in Argentina in 2002, the company saw rapid growth in South America, and last year opened its first branded hotel in the U.S. in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

Today the franchise and management company operates more than 3,500 guestrooms in 24 hotels and 16 cities in Latin America and North America, with expansion plans in place for North and South America. Norberto Fuster, Fën’s director of operations, said the company is looking for U.S. opportunities but sees better chances in Latin America where growth will be more rapid because the market in the states is “more mature.”

The company operates its two brands—Dazzler and Esplendor—in a similar upscale chain scale segment, with Dazzler serving more as a business hotel while Esplendor is in the boutique mode.

“You can tell the difference,” Fuster said. “Esplendor is in iconic buildings, some former hotels. We renew them and create a distinctive interior design with mini-art galleries. Dazzler is more business-oriented and traditional.”

There are properties in the pipeline on both continents, Fuster said, with a new building under construction in Miami. A second hotel is being developed in Brooklyn’s Brooklyn Heights neighborhood in the historic Bossert Hotel building. A third will be in Los Angeles.

In Latin America, the majority of the company’s branded hotels are in Argentina, with two each in Peru and Uruguay, and one each in Paraguay and Costa Rica.

While Fën concentrates on franchising and management, it does have a sister company that develops and builds hotels, mostly condo hotels. Fuster said that currently about 90% of properties are managed with a couple of franchises—a ratio that will probably be maintained because, “It’s an advantage for our owners.” Fën is privately held by an Argentine equity firm.

While the Dazzler Brooklyn was the first of the company’s own brands to open in the U.S., Fën Hotels does hold management of two Florida hotels for other owners, The Tides in South Beach, Miami Beach; and the Bonaventure Resort & Spa in Weston, Florida. “We operate them under the original names for now because they are well-known; however, they will eventually take on one of our two brand names.”

The company has 13 hotels in the pipeline and its portfolio will hit 50 hotels in 2018.

There is significant diversity in hotel size with the smallest at 35 rooms. The largest is the Bonaventure, a convention hotel.

Fuster said the brands are differentiated from their respective competitive sets via a “particular service touch and particular kind of operations. We really train staff well; all of our managers have been with us since they began their careers as bellmen and waiters. We need that loyalty in order to attain the kind of services we like to provide.”

A Fën Rewards program offers discounts, upgrades and other benefits.

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