Mark DeCocinis, chief executive officer of Boutique Group, gives us the lowdown about the new hospitality landscape.
ow is the regional travel and hospitality investment industry faring?
The tourism and hotel sectors in the Middle East region have rebounded impressively following the Covid-19 pandemic, even outperforming their pre-pandemic success, owing to events such as the FIFA World Cup, which is a testament to the leadership of these countries and the way they have efficiently managed what was an unprecedented crisis. It is fair to say the worst is behind us, giving us more confidence when we think about the future, especially in the kingdom. However, this increase produces some obstacles and the ultimate challenge of maintaining such growth. In this changing modern world, we must use unique offerings and innovation as a fundamental driver of change in our quest for a sustainable future for the region’s rich and diverse hospitality industry. This continues to be important as we come to understand the extent of the opportunity presented for luxury hotels through Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and the kingdom’s transformation towards a more diversified economy.
How are you catering to the needs of travelers today?
We are achieving this thanks to our deep and tangible connection with Saudi Arabia’s heritage and history through the transformation of fascinating palaces into accessible spaces of luxury and leisure to a new audience. At Boutique Group, we firmly believe that hotels are more than just a space for accommodation; they also represent enterprise and people. In reality, the essence of a luxury hotel experience is to provide guests with something they have never experienced before. We provide guests with exceptional experiences that reflect the values of the Saudi Arabian hospitality culture, with a modern luxurious feel through various ways, ranging from remote locations to wellness-oriented approaches, leaving guests with everlasting memories.
How are you redefining the wellness narrative?
Boutique Group is all about delivering an unforgettable experience, an uplifting story to enrich guests’ experiences and offering hospitality principles rooted in Saudi Arabian culture. We see and understand the wellness narrative represented in a variety of unique offerings of top-tier spa services across the region and around the globe. Using that understanding Boutique Group will create life-enhancing programs that are tailored to each of our guests and members, using experienced doctors, cutting-edge technology, and innovation, all set in the most luxurious and tranquil spaces and accompanied by uncompromising service.
What can you tell us about some of the most promising ideas and projects you are currently working on?
Our projects center on preserving Saudi Arabian culture and heritage by offering authentic Saudi hospitality encompassed within a luxury experience. Equally important is creating opportunities that improve the local community’s quality of life and boost the economic prospects of the kingdom.
In terms of our projects, three of the kingdom’s most noticeable palaces are undergoing a complete refurbishment that will transform them into ultra-luxurious hotels, providing exceptional, (exclusive) all-encompassing experiences to honor local history and culture. This enchanting reimagining of the hotels with their exceptional offerings is sure to both delight and captivate guests, as well as setting a local and international standard in the hospitality industry by providing extraordinarily opulent experiences that represent the ideals of both historical and modern Saudi Arabia. After the reopening, these hotels will immerse guests in a one-of-a-kind Saudi-inspired experience.
Which markets are you most interested in breaking into right now and why?
Ambition is undoubtedly high. For the time being, we have a strong initial commitment to the Saudi Arabian market where we are focusing on growing our presence and portfolio within it. Giving our work our full attention, we could accomplish a lot from the south to the north of Saudi Arabia and provide for the kingdom and its people the authentic and unique experience Boutique Group stands for. To complement this, we are committed to developing a new concept and unique business model that could subsequently be adapted to various markets.
Mark DeCocinis will be speaking at the Future Hospitality Summit Saudi Arabia taking place from May 7-9 at the Al Faisaliah Hotel in Riyadh on the topic of the business of luxury and wellness in a changing world.