Philippe Harb

Philippe Harb

Chief Operating Officer and Partner, One to One Hotels & Resorts

One to One Hotels & Resorts targets growth from the Saudi Arabian market.

Since reversing the ailing fortunes of One to One Hotels & Resorts shortly after his arrival, Philippe Harb, chief operating officer and partner, has embarked on an aggressive growth strategy. In four years One to One has grown from two just properties, to having 17 in the pipeline spread across the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.

One to One Hotels & Resorts makes its Saudi Arabian debut later this year, opening four properties in Makkah and Jeddah in the second half of 2015.

Harb is plotting further expansion in the Kingdom, with MOUs signed and management agreements in negotiation for another four properties. To support its expansion, the firm has also opened a dedicated sales and marketing office in Jeddah.

“With the continued growth in business and religious tourism, we entered [Saudi Arabia] to strengthen our leadership position with [four] properties in Makkah and Jeddah, with the first due to open early this year, prior to Ramadan. Religious tourism is extremely important for our growth and presence in the market,” Harb explains.

Aside from One to One’s plans for Saudi Arabia, the brand is expanding its footprint in Qatar and Kuwait. Harb has signed MOUs for properties in both markets and management agreements are being negotiated.

The hotel operator, which is targeting a chain of 25 hotels through a mixture of hotel management contracts, development and acquisitions in the near future, has also extended its reach into North Africa and Asia. Before the end of this year, One to One Hotels & Resorts will have four properties in Thailand, mainly based in Koh Samui and Ko Phangan.

One to One is also adding to its collection of resorts in Morocco. A second Wellness Resort is due to open in Tetouan in the second quarter of 2016.

“It is easy to have ideas, but it’s hard to turn ideas into profit,” says Harb. “Instead of focusing on new construction that could take two to three years, the emphasis has been on converting existing properties and expanding,” he adds. For the properties that One to One Hotels & Resorts has taken over, the firm developed a re-positioning plan for each property.

“We brought in One to One Hotels & Resorts and branched out through the introduction of various brands, whereby each brand has the guest in mind,” comments Harb.

The turnaround story at One to One isn’t just about rapid growth. Harb has also improved the financial performance of the company; increasing RevPar by 10% and gross operating profit by 31%.

The improved financial performance and growth has been achieved with an acute focus on the customer base. “It is important to analyse our customers and understand their needs to be able to cater to them and gain their loyalty,” says Harb.

“Customer and staff engagement have also been crucial in sustaining the company’s image and ensuring healthy growth of the company,” he adds.

Top inspiration

“I look to Starwood Hotel & Resorts’ Frits Van Paascchen for inspiration. He was responsible for introducing the W brand”


Rudi Jagersbacher
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Alex Kyriakidis
President & Managing Director, Middle East & Africa
Christophe Landais
Chief Operating Officer
Guido De Wilde
Senior Vice President and Regional Director Middle East
Pascal Gauvin
Chief Operating Officer, India, Middle East and Africa
Omer Z. Kaddouri
President & CEO
Gerald Lawless
President and group CEO
Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi
Founder, President & CEO
Mark Willis
Area Vice president, Middle East and Turkey
Michael Zager
Regional Vice President, Middle East and Africa
Philippe Zuber
Chief Operating Officer
Sami Nasser
Senior Vice President Operations, Middle East, Africa, & India
Christian Clerc
President of hotel operations – Europe, Middle East and Africa
Andreas Mattmüller
Chief operating officer, Middle East and Asia
Amine E Moukarzel
President, President and Founder
Alan Leibman
Chief Executive Officer
Pablo Graf
Senior Vice President, operations
Robert Kunkler
Chief Operating Officer
Mark Griffiths
SVP, regional operations, Middle East & Africa
Baran Turkel
Managing Director Turkey, Middle East & Central Asia
Laurent A. Voivenel
Chief Executive Officer
Ziad El Chaar
Managing Director
Ibrahim Barghout
Area Vice President, Middle East & Africa
Adam Nicholls
Managing Director Middle East/Africa
Dr Badr Al Badr
Chief Executive Officer
Anton Bawab
Regional President
David Grant Thomson
Chief Operating Officer
Thierry Douin
Vice President, operations
Hussein Ali Hatata
Vice President — hospitality division
Mohamed Ahmed Awadalla
Chief Executive Officer
Noel Massoud
VP — operations and development
Rob Weeden
VP sales & marketing EMEA, India, Indian Ocean & Canada
Hamad Abdullah Al Mulla
CEO and board member
Bugra Berberoglu
Chief Executive Officer
Sumair Tariq
Managing Director
Maximilian Lennkh
Vice President – hotel operations EMEA
Antoine Sayegh
Siegfried Nierhaus
Vice President Middle East
Gabriel Escarrer Jaume
Vice Chairman and CEO
Russel Sharpe
Chief Operating Officer
Jamal Serhan
CEO, Vice President
Peter Blackburn
President & CEO
Vincent Miccolis
Area Manager GCC
Hatem Gasmi
Managing Director
Abdulla Bin Sulayem
Chief Executive Officer
Jason Harding
Area Director, General Manager
Philippe Harb
Chief Operating Officer and Partner
Daousser Chennoufi
Concept Creator and Partner
Paul Arnold
Vice President Development — Europe, Middle East & Africa
Vardaraj Shetty
Chairman & Managing Worker


Last year
Number of years in role
Number of years with the company
Number of operating hotels in the Middle East
Number of pipeline of hotels in the Middle East

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