Hotelier Express Power List 2017: 16 to 20
Hotelier Express compiles the annual rankings of the most influential hoteliers in the mid-market sector
16. Pierre Sokhon
General Manager, Hospitality Division, Al Khoory Hotels
Inspired by the vision of Al Khoory chairman Mohamed Mohamed Tayyeb Khoory, and with the support of managing director Mohamed Khoory, Al Khoory Hotels has grown from a standalone hotel a decade ago to seven hotels in Dubai and three hotels in Oman by 2020.
Hospitality division general manager Pierre Sokhon, who joined the group from inception, recalls the days when the Al Khoory Hotels corporate office was being set up, with the team developing everything from scratch.
“The growth pattern for mid-market hotels is on the peak and hence, we see an increment in the development of these hotels in the region, be it standalone or branded chains,” Sokhon tells Hotelier Express. “We as an upcoming chain understand the need and have learned that the influx in this segment of audience is going to scale up which requires investors like our owners to come up with modern, affordable hotels.”
The newly opened Al Khoory Inn Bur Dubai was developed with this in mind. Other hotels include Al Khoory Hotel Apartment Al Barsha in the budget category, four-star Al Khoory Atrium Hotel Al Barsha, and three-star Al Khoory Executive Hotel Al Bada, all adding up to 648 rooms.
Two hotels are being planned near the Business Bay area: the 99-room Al Khoory Central Hotel and 159-room Al Khoory Courtyard Hotel. The third hotel in the pipeline is the 260-room Al Khoory Sky Garden Hotel in Deira.
17. Adam Nicholls
Managing Director, Premier Inn Middle East
Having joined Whitbread PLC in 2002 as general Manager of Premier Inn Bristol Haymarket in the UK in 2002, Adam Nicholls has been involved in a number of key Premier Inn milestones including acquisitions, new openings, and projects around evolving how the brand operates.
He held a variety of regional positions prior to leaving the UK and then being appointed managing director of Premier Inn Hotels LLC based in Dubai in February 2015. In December 2015, he also assumed the role of chief operating officer for Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants.
Since arriving in the Middle East, the UK’s largest hospitality chain has grown steadily, with eight hotels now operating in the region. Within the past 12 months, under Nicholls’ watch, two hotels opened within the GCC, including Premier Inn Ibn Battuta Mall in October 2016.
“The Middle East is an attractive and exciting opportunity for our business that we’re pleased to be working on with our joint venture partners,” Nicholls says.
He adds: “Premier Inn is committed to the Middle East and have an exciting plan for growth in the region.”
Currently under construction and slated to open by end of first quarter 2018 will be the largest Premier Inn outiside of the UK, the 389-key Premier Inn Al Jaddaf in Dubai. Pipeline hotels within the GCC include new Premier Inns to come up in Dragon City as well as at Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai.
Back in 2014, the operator revealed development target plans for Saudi Arabia but no solid announcements have been made in this market. Also in 2014, it was reported that the group was researching the possibility of opening a mid-scale beach resort in Dubai but no project has been confirmed.
18. Abdul Latif Kabbara
General Manager-Corporate Office, Somewhere Hotels
According to Somewhere Hotels general manager-corporate office Abdul Latif Kabbara, the company ethos is simple, to provide “ sleep-focused accommodation”. Guided by this philosophy, the operator has grown quickly, with six hotels presently up and running in the Middle East and Europe.
The group currenrly operates three properties in the Middle East, namely, Somewhere Hotel Barsha Heights, Dubai; Somewhere Hotel Apartment Deira, Dubai; and Somewhere Hotel Apartment Al Ahsa in Saudi Arabia, totalling 500 rooms in inventory.
Kabbara discloses that pipeline will add 400 more rooms to the inventory, as Somewhere Hotels will be soft opening a 200-room Somewhere Hotel ‘Bliss” in Al Ahsa, KSA at the end of the year with a launch planned for the first quarter of 2018. He says discussions are also ongoing for a new property in Al Khobar.
19. Vincent Miccolis
Country General Manager, Middle East and Turkey, The Ascott Limited
In the three years since Vincent Miccolis ascended to the role of country general manager Middle East and Turkey, the footprint of The Ascott Limited’s stable of brands in the Middle East has been steadily expanding. Having planted its flagship Ascott in the region, during the past year, Miccolis has turned his attention to the group’s mid-scale brand, Citadines.
The 129-key Citadines Al Salamah Jeddah in Saudi Arabia opened in the past year. Miccolis describes Citadines as offering “the space of an apartment and the flexibility of hotel services, with a modern and vibrant surrounding” at an “affordable,value for money option”.
An additional 362 keys are set for delivery in the region, with four properties due to open, including Citadines Al Ghubrah Muscat, Oman and Citadines Culture Village, Dubai, both in 2018.
20. Siegfried Nierhaus
Vice President Middle East, Deutsche Hospitality
Since Siegfried Nierhaus took over as vice president for Deutsche Hospitality in the Middle East, the operator has expanded its mid-scale footprint in the region.
In July 2016, Deutsche opened the first IntercityHotel in the MENA region in Salalah, Oman. This was quickly followed by two other signings in Oman for the group’s mid-scale Intercity brand.
A 120-room three-star IntercityHotel is scheduled to open in Nizwa, Oman by 2019. The hotel, which will offer event spaces, a spa complete with gym area, a swimming pool, a restaurant and a bar, will be operated via a management agreement. This was the second contract to be concluded by Deutsche Hospitality in the Sultanate of Oman within a short period of time. An IntercityHotel is also currently under development in the capital city of Muscat, and the plan is that this will open for business in 2020.
In Dubai, where Deutshe Hospitality operates its upscale Steigenberger Hotel in Business Bay and where Intercity Hotel Apartments has opened in the Al Barsha district, a second Intercity Hotel is being planned for development with a target opening sometime in 2018.