Hotelier Middle East Power 50 2019: Number 13

Here's who made it to the list

Laurent A. Voivenel
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Laurent A. Voivenel

With more than three decades of experience in hospitality, Laurent A. Voivenel is a steady hand at the head of Swiss-Belhotel International in the Middle East.

The hotel operator is expecting to reach 25 hotels in the next five years, with eight currently operating in the region.

The ambitious plans being led by Voivenel include introducing brands such as Grand Swiss-Belresort, Swiss-Belboutique, Swiss-Belsuites and Swiss-Belinn into the region for the first time.

“We have identified the Middle East, Africa and India as the key growth markets for us and have got an aggressive expansion strategy that is aimed at giving more choice to our guests with new destinations and products. We have several new openings lined up this year and the next in addition to a series of projects under development. These will not only add some fantastic hotels to our portfolio but will allow us to penetrate new destinations such as Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Tanzania while growing our presence in existing territories,” said Voivenel.

The French national reports that almost all of Swiss-Belhotel’s properties reported 3-4% growth in occupancy while keeping the ADR under control.

Voivenel has also proven himself to be a champion for diversity, creating the Excellence Award for Women in association with H.E. Sheikha Wafa Hasher Al Maktoum. In addition, he has underlined his commitment to making Swiss-Belhotel’s workforce 40% female by 2025.

Looking forward, he said: “We will continue to strengthen and develop our various brands while maximising returns for owners and accelerating growth across the region. In the next five years we expect to reach 25 hotels. This is mainly because we have a very strong development pipeline of over 2,000 rooms.  2019 is a hugely significant year for us with several new openings as well as up-coming opportunities with Dubai Expo 2020.  The new developments are in line with our multi-brand growth strategy and reinforce our commitment to the region.”

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