| OP­POR­TU­NITY KNOCKS FOR HMH

HOW HOS­PI­TAL­ITY MAN­AGE­MENT HOLD­ING (HMH) HAS BIG PLANS FOR THE UAE

HotelNews Middle East - - Contents -

Hos­pi­tal­ity Man­age­ment Hold­ing (HMH) CEO Aboudi Asali ex­plains how the com­pany has big plans for the UAE and the wider GCC re­gion

PLEASE GIVE ME A BRIEF OVER­VIEW OF WHERE HMH FITS INTO THE UAE MAR­KET AT THIS MO­MENT.

HMH has demon­strated tremen­dous growth since its for­ma­tion in 2003 and has es­tab­lished it­self as one of the pi­o­neers spe­cial­ized in the dry seg­ment among lo­cal hos­pi­tal­ity groups from the re­gion. We are op­er­at­ing ho­tels in top des­ti­na­tions across the MENA re­gion un­der our var­i­ous brands namely Bahi Ho­tels & Re­sorts, Co­ral Ho­tels & Re­sorts, Corp Ho­tels, EWA Ho­tel Apart­ments and ECOS Ho­tels, HMH caters to di­verse seg­ments from lux­ury to bud­get. Cur­rently we have some ex­cep­tional land­mark prop­er­ties in three Emi­rates, the Bahi Aj­man Palace Ho­tel, Co­ral Beach Re­sort Shar­jah, Co­ral Deira Dubai and the lat­est ad­di­tion to our port­fo­lio the 337-room Co­ral Dubai Al Bar­sha Ho­tel. It sup­ports our ex­pan­sion goals for the UAE where we aim to op­er­ate 10 ho­tels by 2020.

WHAT ARE THE KEY OP­POR­TU­NI­TIES THAT ARE AVAIL­ABLE FOR HO­TELS IN THE MAR­KET AT THE MO­MENT?

Guests are in­creas­ingly well-trav­elled with a large va­ri­ety of choices and types of ac-

com­mo­da­tion. It is very im­por­tant that ho­tels meet and ex­ceed the ex­pec­ta­tions of their guests. That’s why HMH gets in­volved from the draw­ing stage to en­sure that our ho­tels have in­no­va­tive and cre­ative de­signs, at­trac­tive an­cil­lary fa­cil­i­ties, tech­nol­ogy that works and op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency. Once the ho­tel is op­er­a­tional, HMH en­sures that its team pro­vides ex­cel­lent ser­vice and high-qual­ity prod­ucts in F&B, Rooms, Gym, Spa and all other fa­cil­i­ties to com­pete ef­fi­ciently and achieve mar­ket share pre­mi­ums.

WHAT ARE THE MA­JOR CHAL­LENGES THAT THE MAR­KET FACES IN THE RE­GION?

The en­tire re­gion is be­ing chal­lenged by the var­i­ous geo-po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tions which have been on­go­ing for over a decade now. The global eco­nomic slow­down and the in­crease in sup­ply in key mar­kets have af­fected ho­tel per­for­mances in 2017. How­ever, there are many in­di­ca­tors that 2017 was a tran­si­tional year, and per­for­mances in the re­gion will im­prove from this year on­wards.

HOW DO YOU SEE THE NEXT 12-18 MONTHS PANNING OUT FOR BOTH HMH AND THE WIDER MAR­KET IN THE RE­GION?

On a macro level we be­lieve that 2018 will be a strong year and many mar­kets will see an up­lift com­pared to 2017. In ad­di­tion, HMH is un­der­go­ing ma­jor changes which we are plan­ning to an­nounce by Q2 this year. We are also pre­par­ing for the open­ing of four new ho­tels this year, in­clud­ing the Co­ral Al Mad­i­nah, a land­mark 400-room 5-star prop­erty in a top lo­ca­tion fac­ing the Haram.

CAN YOU PRO­VIDE A BREAK­DOWN OF THE PIPE­LINE FOR HMH IN THE RE­GION?

Be­low listed are the projects which are open­ing this year. • Co­ral Al Mad­i­nah Ho­tel – KSA – 400

rooms • Corp Mus­cat Al Muzn Ho­tel – Oman

– 132 rooms • Co­ral Port Su­dan – Su­dan – 84 rooms • Town­house project in Jed­dah (brand

not yet an­nounced) – KSA - 46 Vil­las In ad­di­tion, we are in dis­cus­sion with sev­eral own­ers of ex­ist­ing ho­tels which might re­quire im­me­di­ate take-over. These are not in­cluded in the above list.

DO YOU HAVE PLANS FOR FUR­THER EX­PAN­SION IN THE RE­GION AND, IF SO, CAN YOU PRO­VIDE A BREAK­DOWN?

We are pre­dom­i­nantly fo­cused on ex­pan­sion in the Mid­dle East and Africa re­gion with cur­rently 32 ho­tels projects un­der dis­cus­sion at var­i­ous stages. Al­though none can be an­nounced at this stage, we an­tic­i­pate op­er­at­ing ho­tels in all GCC cap­i­tals by 2020, and con­tin­u­ing ex­pand­ing in our main mar­kets, UAE and Saudi Ara­bia.

We are the largest ho­tel op­er­a­tor in Su­dan where we will con­tinue to em­pha­size our po­si­tion, es­pe­cially with the new open­ing of Ewa Port Su­dan.

In ad­di­tion, we are ex­plor­ing new mar­kets where we be­lieve we can es­tab­lish our­selves as lead­ing pi­o­neers with strong re­turns for ho­tel own­ers due to the cur­rent lack of qual­ity ho­tels. These in­clude new ar­eas in key mar­kets such as Al Fur­jan and Jumeirah Vil­lage Cir­cle in Dubai and Ob­hur in Jed­dah.

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