Hotelier Express Power List 2017: 21 to 25
Hotelier Express compiles the annual rankings of the most influential hoteliers in the mid-market sector
21. Sheikh Mubarak al Sabah
Founder and Chairman, Action Hotels
Sheikh Mubarak Al-Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah founded hotel ownership, hotel development and asset management compant Action Hotels in 2005, after identifying a gap in the underserved three- and four-star branded hotel market in the Middle East.
These days, Action Hotels counts 10 mid-scale hotels in its Middle East portfolio. These include the following: ibis Salmiya and ibis Sharq, Kuwait; ibis Muscat, Holiday Inn Muscat Al Seeb and Mercure Sohar, Oman; ibis Amman, Jordan; ibis Seef and the newly opened ibis Styles Diplomatic Area, Manama, Bahrain; Al Majaz Hotel, Sharjah in the UAE; and Tulip Inn Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE.
The group’s development pipeline remains healthy and firmly focused on the mid-scale, with the group venturing into Saudi Arabia, as well as Dubai, for the first time. Upcoming properties include Tulip Inn Modon in Jeddah, Mercure Riyadh Olaya, both in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in the UAE, a new Novotel in Dubai Creek.
According to a statement from Action Hotels in March 2017, the outlook for 2017 was “positive”, with total revenue in Q1 up 14% over the same period last year and average occupancy at its mature operating hotels at 77%, up slightly from last year’s 76%.
A company statement attributes the positive results to a deliberate, focused strategy of focusing on working with mid-scale branded hotel operators in prized locations. “Our success is the result of the careful execution of a focused plan to develop high quality assets in locations which have the potential for growth, coupled with our local market knowledge and well-developed network of contacts which allows a creative approach to hospitality development,” the company statement said.
22. Ferghal Purcell
Chief Operating Officer, HMH – Hospitality Management Holding
Founded in 2003 in Dubai, Hospitality Management Holding (HMH) is one of the pioneers among local hotel chains in the region and one of the largest hotel operators in the dry segment. Three out of the group’s five brands cater to the mid-market, namely Corp Hotels, EWA Hotel Apartments and ECOS Hotels.
The group currently operates two mid-scale properties: Corp Amman Hotel in Jordan and EWA Khartoum Hotel & Apartments in Sudan, with the portfolio expected to grow.
Launched in 2006, Corp Hotels is described as a “trendy, cosmopolitan brand designed for value conscious business and leisure travellers”. EWA Hotel Apartments is committed to developing mid-market hotels and serviced apartments in key destinations around the Middle East. ECOS Hotels is billed as a ‘no frills’ B&B brand bringing together an ‘economical and ecological’ concept.
HMH chief operating officer Fergal Purcell believes the time has finally come for mid-scale hotels in the Middle East and that his group is ideally positioned to capitalise on opportunities.
“The scale of opportunity in the GCC region for mid-market and budget hotels is unprecedented,” he says.
“At HMH, we are well-placed to capitalise on this segment with three out of five of our brands catering to the mid-market sector. Development is a key focus for us and we have got some very exciting projects under consideration.”
23. Mohammed Soussan
Group General Manager, Ayla Hotels and Resorts
Al Ain-based Ayla Hotels & Resorts is on track with expansion plans outside the UAE, with a mid-scale hotel opening due in Ibri, Oman due sometime within the next 12 months.
The company currently operates three properties in its home base city with two in the mid-scale category, Ayla Hotel and Ayla Bawadi Hotel, both four-star hotels. Group general manager Mohammed Soussan has revealed that the 85-key Ayla Ibri Hotel in Oman, which is tentatively planned to be a four-star property, will be housed within a multi-use building which will also comprise a shopping mall.
“Being a co-founder of the company has made me committed to taking myself on a successful journey to report back with growing revenue to our owners,” Soussan shares with Hotelier Express.
However, in the UAE, Soussan said to Hotelier Express in July 2017 that the group’s plans for a resort in Hili, Al Ain are temporarily on hold, with the project’s site already earmarked but that the project was just “waiting for the right time”.
24. Sumair Tariq
Managing Director, R Hotels
Undoubtedly, R Hotels is one of the more formidable hotel companies around. Starting with two properties in 2010, the group now has seven in its portfolio (six operational and one to be completed in October 2017). The group has established and furthered partnerships with the biggest hotel groups in the world and under franchise agreements, it has been responsible for bringing in four new hotel brands in the UAE.
Based in Ajman, while R Hotels possesses the biggest room inventory in the emirate with its portfolio of operational Ramada properties and the Wyndham Garden Ajman Corniche set to open before the end of 2017, the group considers only one property in its portfolio as positioned in the mid-market segment:ibis Styles Dubai Jumeirah. Managing director Sumair Tariq discloses that a 200-key property is under review in the pipeline but did not reveal further details about the new hotel.
25. Faisal Abdul Rahman
Group General Manager, Dunes Hotel Apartments
The hospitality arm of Al Harbi Real Estate, Dunes Hotel Apartments began its journey in the Middle East mid-market hospitality sector in 2007 with the opening of its first property: Dunes Hotel Apartments Muhaisnah. Two additional properties subsequently followed, Dunes Hotel Apartments in Al Barsha in 2007 and Dunes Hotel Apartments in Oud Metha in 2011.
Group general manager Faisal Abdul Rhman, who has been with the company over the last 10 years says he would like to expand the group’s regional footprint to at least 10 properties in the Middle East in the next five years.
While Rahman has been instrumental in impacting company revenues and the guest experience with various initiatives, from revenue management to social media marketing, improving guestroom internet access and guest engagement, including the launch of a group loyalty programme, no development project has yet materialised.