At the helm of the King­dom’s fu­ture with CEO of Dur Hos­pi­tal­ity, Dr. Badr Al Badr

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Dur Hos­pi­tal­ity, Dr. Badr Al Badr is rec­og­nized for his ex­ten­sive record in man­ag­ing, de­vel­op­ing and op­er­at­ing a wide port­fo­lio of ho­tels and res­i­den­tial com­pounds across Saudi Ara­bia. With plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties open­ing up in

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Tell us about your ca­reer in hos­pi­tal­ity and what you re­gard as the key mile­stones.

Backed by my knowl­edge and the skills I’d gath­ered in my for­mer ca­reer, I made my first move into the hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor when I first joined Dur Hos­pi­tal­ity, the Saudi­grown, pub­licly listed hos­pi­tal­ity com­pany, es­tab­lished in 1976, that owns, de­vel­ops and man­ages a broad range of hos­pi­tal­ity and res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties across the King­dom of Saudi Ara­bia. Dur­ing this time, I’ve been for­tu­nate to be in­volved in the com­pany’s re­mark­able suc­cesses, which would not have been pos­si­ble with­out the sup­port of Dur’s board of di­rec­tors and the ef­forts of the ex­ec­u­tive team.

From a per­sonal per­spec­tive, some of my great­est high­lights in­clude steer­ing the com­pany’s evo­lu­tion from SHARACO to Dur Hos­pi­tal­ity, and dou­bling its port­fo­lio of owned prop­er­ties, with projects in the pipe­line worth SAR 2.4 bil­lion. Dur’s pipe­line cur­rently con­sists of 21 projects at var­i­ous stages of de­vel­op­ment, most of which are sched­uled for de­liv­ery be­tween now and 2020.

My ca­reer in hos­pi­tal­ity has also pro­vided me with an op­por­tu­nity to share my knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence with other

mem­bers of the in­dus­try, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing key­note ad­dresses at ma­jor events, in­clud­ing Saudi Ara­bia Ho­tel In­vest­ment Con­fer­ence (SHIC), Ara­bian Ho­tel In­vest­ment Con­fer­ence (AHIC), the Sch­nei­der In­no­va­tion Sum­mit, Saudi Travel & Tourism In­vest­ment Mar­ket (STTIM) Riyadh, Global Tourism Fo­rum Is­tan­bul and many oth­ers.

What are the ad­van­tages of be­ing a home­grown Saudi com­pany?

One of the key ben­e­fits of be­ing a Saudi com­pany with more than 40 years of op­er­at­ing in the mar­ket is the depth of ex­pe­ri­ence we have as an or­ga­ni­za­tion, which pro­vides us with a real com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage. We have a pro­found un­der­stand­ing of evolv­ing cus­tomer pref­er­ences, with the chang­ing so­cio-eco­nomic fac­tors in the coun­try, which fur­ther en­ables us to of­fer tai­lor-made ser­vices to match th­ese needs, thereby earn­ing the cred­i­bil­ity of our cus­tomers. In ad­di­tion, abid­ing by the reg­u­la­tions and cus­toms of the coun­try has fur­ther es­tab­lished a foun­da­tion of trust with gov­ern­ment bod­ies in line with our field of work.

Look­ing ahead, this knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence means we are ide­ally placed to help re­al­ize the am­bi­tions set out in the Vi­sion 2030 eco­nomic strat­egy, which will trans­form the King­dom’s econ­omy over the next decade.

Which in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies are your part­ners of choice and why?

At Dur, we rec­og­nize the ne­ces­sity of cre­at­ing and es­tab­lish­ing strate­gic part­ner­ships with in­ter­na­tional ho­tel op­er­a­tions. We are there­fore con­stantly on the look-out for op­por­tu­ni­ties that fa­cil­i­tate suc­cess­ful hos­pi­tal­ity de­vel­op­ment through gen­uine hos­pi­tal­ity ser­vices to en­able us to be­come the per­fect part­ner for any lo­cal, re­gional or in­ter­na­tional party. This con­cept is strongly re­flected in our part­ner­ships with Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional and IHG.

Dur part­nered with Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional over 40 years ago, which led to the in­tro­duc­tion of the con­cept of 5-star ho­tels to the King­dom. Fol­low­ing this fruit­ful part­ner­ship, in 2016, we ex­panded our part­ner­ship by sign­ing a fran­chise agree­ment to fur­ther de­velop and launch the first Court­yard by Mar­riott and Res­i­dence Inn by Mar­riott prop­er­ties in Yanbu.

Dur also part­nered with IHG on a mas­ter fran­chise agree­ment in 2014 that aims to de­velop prop­er­ties across the King­dom with a stream­lined fo­cus on sec­ondary cities. As such, to­gether with IHG, we opened the first Hol­i­day Inn Ho­tel in Tabuk in June 2017, and we re­cently an­nounced the open­ing of the Crowne Plaza® Riyadh Palace.

Which mar­kets are you cur­rently present in and where would like to break into?

Over the last 40 years, we’ve es­tab­lished a strong pres­ence in the King­dom’s big­gest cities. How­ever, mov­ing for­ward, we’ve iden­ti­fied sig­nif­i­cant op­por­tu­ni­ties in cities that are set to ben­e­fit from in­fra­struc­ture fund­ing un­der Vi­sion 2030, as well as the Saudi Com­mis­sion for Tourism and Na­tional Her­itage’s ef­forts to pro­mote tourism in th­ese mar­kets. As a re­sult, we have ex­tended our strat­egy to in­clude more hos­pi­tal­ity projects, par­tic­u­larly 3- and 4-star ho­tels, in high-growth mar­kets, such as Tabuk, Jubail, Yanbu and Al Ho­fuf. Fur­ther­more, with the grow­ing num­bers of vis­i­tors to the two Holy Cities

Some of my great­est high­lights in­clude steer­ing the com­pany’s evo­lu­tion from SHARACO to Dur Hos­pi­tal­ity, and dou­bling its port­fo­lio of owned prop­er­ties, with projects in the pipe­line worth SAR 2.4 bil­lion. Dur’s pipe­line cur­rently con­sists of 21 projects at var­i­ous stages of de­vel­op­ment, most of which are sched­uled for de­liv­ery be­tween now and 2020

of Makkah and Med­ina, we are fur­ther ex­pand­ing in the West­ern re­gion through our Saudi-grown, award-win­ning brand, Makarem Ho­tels, that de­liv­ers au­then­tic Saudi hos­pi­tal­ity ser­vices, cou­pled with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards.

How will Dur be a part of the process of con­struct­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of Saudi’s hos­pi­tal­ity projects?

As one of the King­dom’s lead­ing hos­pi­tal­ity com­pa­nies, we are com­mit­ted to play­ing a ma­jor role in re­al­iz­ing the coun­try’s fu­ture vi­sion. We are com­mit­ted to in­no­va­tion, through the launch of the coun­try’s first Lead­er­ship in En­ergy and En­vi­ron­men­tal De­sign (Leed)-cer­ti­fied ho­tel, en­dors­ing the con­cept of spe­cial­iza­tion in ho­tels through Makarem, and de­vel­op­ing a new con­cept of ser­viced apart­ments that we will be an­nounc­ing soon.

We also have a sig­nif­i­cant pipe­line of projects un­der de­vel­op­ment, which in­clude:

• De­vel­op­ing Mar­riot Ho­tel and Mar­riot Ex­ec­u­tive Apart­ments in Diplo­matic Quar­ter – Riyadh, which has been de­signed to achieve the LEED’S Golden cer­ti­fi­ca­tion;

• De­vel­op­ing a 4-star ho­tel, fea­tur­ing 120 rooms, in Al-ho­fuf city – Al-ahsa prov­ince;

• De­vel­op­ing the first Court­yard by Mar­riott and Res­i­dence Inn by Mar­riott prop­er­ties in Yanbu. This 150-room-project will be Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional’s first fran­chised prop­erty in the King­dom;

• Cur­rently de­vel­op­ing a piece of land in Jubail In­dus­trial City to build a 144room and suites ho­tel un­der the Hol­i­day Inn brand;

• De­vel­op­ing ser­viced apart­ments in Tabuk that con­sist of 61 ho­tel units;

• Ex­pand­ing into the West­ern re­gion of Saudi Ara­bia, es­pe­cially in Al Med­ina, by op­er­at­ing two ho­tels at Dar al-hi­jra project.

The SHIC has just taken place in Saudi Ara­bia. As an in­dus­try leader and the con­fer­ence’s strate­gic part­ner, what can you tell us about this mile­stone?

The launch of the con­fer­ence marked a ma­jor mile­stone in the in­dus­try’s de­vel­op­ment in Saudi Ara­bia and is tes­ta­ment to the level of in­ter­est in the mar­ket, both lo­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally. The Saudi mar­ket is un­doubt­edly a hotspot, with plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties open­ing up in the tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tors, at­tract­ing multi­na­tional com­pa­nies, fol­low­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of new reg­u­la­tions on for­eign in­vest­ments in the King­dom. This mar­ket trans­for­ma­tion un­der­pinned the im­por­tance of a ded­i­cated Saudi con­fer­ence that brought to­gether in­dus­try ex­perts to dis­cuss both the chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties in the sec­tor. It was a very suc­cess­ful event and we look for­ward to sup­port­ing it again in the fu­ture.

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