Amine Moukarzel, President, Louvre Hotels Group – MENA region, Golden Tulip – MENA Region
What is today’s highlight of the hospitality projects relate to the driving economies of the respective governments and the provided incentives. These include the support provided by the Saudi and the Emirati governments, and that IDAL provides to hospitality projects in Lebanon, as well as the eased loans in Bahrain. To assess the impact of these initiatives, semi governmental bodies must be active in order to analyze the requirements of the hospitality industry especially in the major cost centers of operating hospitality projects. Challenges are numerous as we progress in certain cities with new projects whereby the cost of construction, including those related to building while respecting the environment, and incorporating the latest technologies, are key, as the consumer is becoming more demanding. We realized a global shift that’s impacting the MENA region, where travelers are demanding mid-market hotels which appeal to the millennial. Also, it is worth mentioning that digitization is positively impacting the industry but hoteliers must be apt to cater to the customers’ fast changing expectations. As hotel operators we are ranked as the second largest worldwide in term of the number of hotels. We offer owners our branding based on two platforms: A franchise platform or a management agreement. What drives either of the decisions is knowing who the owners are, what the best fit projects in a given city or a destination are, branding all the way to the financial capability of the current owner/investor and our capability to be able to serve such hotels. What remains important in franchising is that the franchisee uses the system in place to benefit the hotel. The owner /operator relationship as well as the franchisor/franchisee relationships are very important. An owner is an investor and private sectors relate to a quick return on investment. The collaboration with the owner will always be of great esteem. If we do not build up a personal relationship with the owners or a close relationship like a family member we do not foresee a success. It is also worth mentioning here the importance of owners’ representatives who always have strings attached to the relationship. What remains important is the return on investment, reputation, customer feedback, guest reviews, an international brand recognition, trust in a brand perspective, and deliverables. We cover the Middle East and North Africa territory as well as Kyrgyzstan and Georgia. Every country in the region has its own importance with the versatility to serve whether to MICE, family, sports, groups, airlines all the way to the corporate. We believe there is no one successful concept to be adopted in the region, as different profiles succeed in different markets: A good hotel is the one that generates profits for its owners and drives business to the brand itself. Therefore, a resort could be as successful as a budget hotel in the city for example. Technology remains one of the key highlights on our agenda, in addition to standards, quality, and human resources development which are features brought by international companies such as ours. We aim to reach 100 hotels in 2020 with Louvre Hotels Group broad brand portfolio which range from one to five star properties. We shall be present in every Arab country thanks to Louvre Hotels Group and Jin Jiang all the way to our strong team in the region complemented, strengthened by our system deliverables.
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