Dubai-based Jumeirah Group CEO says plans underway to restructure hotel portfolio

Silva hinted at having three different segments for hotels within the Jumeirah Group

Jumeirah Group CEO Jose Silva.
Jumeirah Group CEO Jose Silva.

Dubai-based Jumeirah Group's newly appointed CEO Jose Silva said that plans are afoot to restructure the hotels within its hospitality brand into different tiers based on the experience each hotel offers. Silva hinted at having three different segments for hotels within the Jumeirah Group.

Along with the restructuring of the brand, Silva said Jumeirah will unfold its plans for the new, ultra-luxury brand in the fall of 2018.

"We will further define what exists in the brand before the end of the year. Once you have landmarks like Al Qasr, then you can't redefine it. That is the identity of the space but as you further renovate and evolve the iconic hotels you need to attempt to position them with more clarity for the consumer so they know which segment it is," Silva added in an interview with Hotelier Middle East at the Jumeirah headquarters in Dubai.

Silva hinted that there may be up to three different tiers within the Jumeirah brand — one ultra-luxury brand, one core brand and a Zabeel House collection that is entry-level to introduce 30-somethings to the Jumeirah brand.

"Some hospitality companies have as much as 20 brands and it’s not clear to the consumer which segment of the market they belong to, where as some have just one brand only. But the issue with that is you then try and fit everything into that one brand. I favour having three entry levels in order to have brand clarity and brand focus, whether it is a Zabeel House, a community focused entry-level brand or say a Burj collection or a Jumeirah collection. It needs to be clear to the consumer which segment of the market it is," Silva added.

According to Silva, it's important to reclassify the hotels that are in the existing portfolio before the brand begins its global expansion plans, as that will help determine the level of investment it will need.

"In the Jumeirah portfolio, the Burj Al Arab stands out as the iconic hotel in a class by itself, so we already have one of those 'bucket list hotels' in our existing portfolio. It's not a new idea to introduce a super luxury brand to the portfolio. At the core of the brand we have the Al Qasrs of the world and Al Naseem which is very family oriented but as we expand the brand, it helps us determine if we're looking at a Burj Al Arab kind of investment or are we doing a very local authentic style like Al Qasr or are we doing a contemporary hotel lifestyle and design like Al Naseem," he said.

Silva believes that brands need to stand for something and luxury brand world over have different market segments that they target like with luxury car brands and jewellery brands.

"Luxury brands world over have a core product, an aspirational product and an entry level introduction to the brand. And the vision of the three brands within Jumeirah is exactly that," he added. "It's my vision as the CEO of a luxury brand that you need to have an uber-luxury brand at the core of your business, I already see it within Jumeirah. When I arrived we already had four Zabeel Houses in the pipeline, we had the larger-than-life Burj Al Arab and the rest of the brands. So this already exist within the group based on what was the market demand was when each of these hotels was signed."

Jumeirah has also recently appointed a brand officer to identify the brands and the different identities that exist within the group.

Silva believes that in certain "triple A locations" like Paris, London, Hong Kong or New York, Jumeirah can build an extraordinary hotel that the locations demand.

"You can't put the Burj Al Arab anywhere else in the world. But could you have an expression of uber-luxury like the Burj Al Arab in Paris, London or New York? Most certainly," he added.

Without giving away the location, Silva added that Jumeirah will soon announce a hotel as extraordinary as the Burj Al Arab in a main gateway city in Europe.

The brand revamp could be completed before the end of the year, according to Silva.

"The timing of this is shorter rather than longer and we want to unfold this during the year and we could see further expansion of this uber-luxury brand over the next 36-48 months," he noted.

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