CARLOS KHNEISSER VP OF DEVELOPMENT FOR HILTON IN MENA & TURKEY GIVES HIS THOUGHTS ON WHY AHIC IS AN EVENT NOT TO BE MISSED
This year AHIC is being hosted for the very first time in Ras al Khaimah. This is a destination Hilton has pioneered and we’re proud to be welcoming guests to our magnificent Waldorf Astoria Ras al Khaimah for the event. Having the event in Ras al Khaimah is a reminder of the importance of a forward looking mindset when it comes to hotel development. Often when we think about innovation what comes to mind is technology but as developers and investors it is important we keep an open, innovative approach to the industry and strive to identify new locations that have opportunities for growth. That is something we have done successfully in Ras al Khaimah and that we’re now looking to extend by bringing a mid-market proposition to the Emirate with our newly opened Hilton Garden Inn and soon to open Hampton by Hilton.
These brands are still where we see the greatest opportunity for the region and in particular markets such as Dubai, Jeddah and Makkah where upscale and luxury is firmly established.
This is something that, as our midmarket hotels open and begin to drive market premiums, owners are realising as well and coming to us asking for more. Aside from looking for operators who will maximise returns, owners are increasingly wanting to become involved in their investments and this means they value brands that can offer flexibility.
Brands like Doubletree by Hilton and our Curio Collection are less bound by brand standards and guidelines, meaning that an owner can develop a hotel with us that still avails of our commercial platforms (and 70m+ Hilton Honors guests) but is still able to retain its own unique identity and branding.