Louvre Hotels Group vice president development & acquisition MENA region Rami A. Moukarzel. Louvre Hotels Group vice president development & acquisition MENA region Rami A. Moukarzel.

To paraphrase an old saying,  even if it ain’t broke, the wheel still needs fixing.

Certain forward-thinking enterprises will take an existing, functional and successful business model, take it apart, re-examine its nuts and bolts against a backdrop of current knowledge, research and market feedback, then put it back together, essentially with the same product DNA, but somehow revitalised, reinvigourated, refreshed — re-imagined.

Rami A. Moukarzel, the energetic and youthful vice president of development & acquisition in the MENA region for Louvre Hotels Group, describes his company’s vision for the “new” Golden Tulip brand in such a way.

Put it this way; if this were a Marvel or DC Comics superhero film, the Golden Tulip rebranding would technically be a franchise reboot. And just like those Hollywood movie reboots, this one took years in the making.

Moukarzel chuckles: “We’ve got quite a lot going on. One of the first things is, the Golden Tulip hotels rebranding.”

“It’s about two years of work,” he says.

He explains: “We’ve relaunched the Golden Tulip brand into a more millennial-focused, tech-savvy product offering. What we’ve tried to do with Golden Tulip is essentially make it what we call a more ‘playful’ product. The mantra is ‘Playtime. Anytime’. It’s meant to be fresh, innovative and meant for what I like to say ‘the millennial in all of us’.”

Moukarzel is firm in stating that the new strategy is not meant to alienate or displace Golden Tulip’s most loyal group of consumers.

“The brand is still extremely focused on our core, which is the business traveller, but our research has shown us that they are looking more and more to mix business with pleasure,” he says.

However, Moukarzel also points out that Louvre Hotels Group is playing a long game with the rebranding strategy, backing up the move with internal research based on feedback from proprietary customers as well as by engaging a global team of branding specialists.

“Look, this rebranding is a long-term process, right?” he says. “What we’re looking at is how we’re essentially going to create the ‘new’ Golden Tulip. It’s still a four-star brand. The consumer today wants something different in that 70% of hotel spend is from millennials already. Taking that into consideration, we’ve looked at what we’ve done for the last 56 years where we’ve been a more traditional four-star brand. And we’re looking now at the next three to five years, evaluating our existing assets where we’re looking to do some renovation work, some touch ups.”

He continues: “That has entailed quite a lot of research and branding exercises with global branding experts. We’ve used branding experts everywhere, from Shanghai to Paris to New York, and we’ve done quite a lot of research in the region as well. All of that to basically find out, what does the consumer want in hotel offerings?”

Moukarzel is quick to emphasise that the rebrand — youthful though its veneer may seem to be — is, carefully and deliberately, not aimed at a specific target age group.

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