SHIC: Millennium Hotels & Resorts sets sights on 50 hotels in KSA

The operator plans to expand in both Saudi’s major cities and its secondary cities

Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi
Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi

Millennium Hotels & Resorts, like many other hotel operators, has ambitious plans for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. At the Saudi Arabia Hospitality Investment Conference (SHIC), operators announced projects in major cities like Riyadh and Jeddah, along with religious tourism plans in Makkah and Medina.

Saudi Arabia’s secondary cities
Millennium Hotels & Resorts, Middle East & Africa president, Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi however also has an eye for expansion in lesser-populated cities in the Kingdom.

In an interview with Hotelier Middle East, Alzaabi explained: “We have a large expansion plan for Saudi Arabia, we have around 20 hotels in the Kingdom. We are planning to take that target to around 50 hotels in the next 10 years, we want to be in every city in Saudi Arabia, even secondary cities like Hail, Tabuk, Jazan, Abha and others.”

Together Hail, Tabuk, Jazan and Abha make up a smaller population than the likes of Jeddah and Riyadh. Alzaabi however believes presence in these smaller cities will stimulate growth in the larger ones.

He said: “All of these cities will continue to grow and help build brand awareness when people come to bigger cities. Riyadh, Makkah, Medina and Jeddah will be our main focus, of course, we’ll have as many hotels to service all of our clients in all of the cities.”

Four-star properties
Of those 50 hotels planned over the next decade, Alzaabi hopes for a large portion of them to be four-star properties, a segment of hospitality Alzaabi believes is currently under-served. The group at SHIC announced the Millennium Central in Jeddah, a project feeding into the goal of increasing four-star representation in the Kingdom.

Alzaabi said: “We want to expand that version of the Millennium DNA into the four-star segment, the Place and Central are out of the Millennium brand. We find the four-star segment is under-served by a lot of cities. You have gaps, you have either five-stars, three-stars or unbranded. You don’t have proper international [four-star properties].”

He went on to say that “the majority of travellers’ needs are in the four-star segment.”
Millennium Hotels & Resorts recently opened the Millennium Place Marina, which Alzaabi calls an “example of what we want to do for the [Saudi] market.”

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