Hilton’s Carlos Khneisser on AHIC: Having the event in RAK accentuates a forward-looking mindset when it comes to hotel development

Hilton’s Carlos Khneisser on AHIC: Having the event in RAK accentuates a forward-looking mindset when it comes to hotel development

Only a few weeks separate us from the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC), which will be taking place during three days as of April 17, at AHIC Village, Waldorf Astoria, Ras Al Khaimah.

For that occasion, Carlos Khneisser VP of development for MENA and Turkey at Hilton, told HN that this year’s edition of the show will be hosted for the very first time in Ras al Khaimah, a destination Hilton has pioneered in. “Having the event in Ras al Khaimah is a reminder of the importance of a forward-looking mindset when it comes to hotel development,” he said.

According to him, people believe innovation is associated with technology but as developers and investors it is important to 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.”

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He explained that these brands are still where Hilton sees the greatest opportunity for the region and in particular markets such as Dubai, Jeddah and Makkah where upscale and luxury are firmly established.  “This is something that, as our midmarket hotels open and begin to drive market premiums, owners are realizing as well and coming to us asking for more.”

Aside from looking for operators who will maximize returns, owners are increasingly wanting to become involved in their investments and this means they value brands that can offer flexibility, he added.  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.

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