Shaza Hotels Reveals International Expansion

Shaza Hotels Reveals International Expansion

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Chris Nader, Vice President of Development at Shaza Hotels talks with HN about the regional hospitality industry, the elements that differentiate the Shaza Hotels brand from the competition and the challenges hotels face.

What is so different about Shaza Hotels?

Everything we do differentiates us from the others. In the Middle East, we proudly showcase the Arabian cultures and hospitality of the region. We are the leading international hotel group that exclusively operates alcohol-free hotels with halal food only – be it in the Middle East, Europe or Asia. We are small in size which makes us agile, flexible, and responsive to owners’ requests and needs, but we have a large distribution capability and strong loyalty program with the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA) and its 13 million members. We tailor each hotel to the target market, the location and the vision of the owner. We do not cookie cut.

Where do you see this regional hotel industry headed, especially since your hotels seem to focus more on nature rather than technology?

With a global trend towards experiential travel, hotels are no longer about offering accommodation, but about integrating the lifestyle of guests with the local community and the environment. We are soon going to announce 3 unique projects in the UAE that are specifically created to offer experiential stays where guests get to discover the ecosystem alongside the history and culture of the emirates. Also, our award-winning global loyalty program DISCOVERY allows members to enjoy unique local experiences, recognition and perks across +500 hotels, resorts and palaces in 75 countries.

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What are the group’s regional and global expansion plans and what are the challenges?

We are opening seven hotels this year, our biggest milestone. These hotels are in Riyadh, Dubai, Doha, a resort in Salalah and 3 other projects in the UAE that we will officially announce in the next few days. This will bring the portfolio in operation to 10 hotels including the existing properties in Madinah, Makkah and Muscat. In the pipeline, we have Mysk Kuwait opening in 2020, and Shaza Jeddah in 2021. We are also negotiating 2 Mysk properties in Dubai, 1 Mysk in Jeddah, 2 resorts in Indonesia, and 1 luxury Shaza hotel in the UK, all of which we hope to secure and announce soon. In terms of growth, we plan to have 30% of our portfolio outside of the GCC, and we are now focusing on Turkey, Egypt, Indonesia and Malaysia where we see great potential and where we have various leads under discussion.

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