Moving into the top 10 for the first time is Bani Haddad, who has this year overseen the opening of seven hotels and signing of 10 more properties with Wyndham Hotel Group in the region.
With his background in development, Haddad has been instrumental in securing new projects, as well as raising the profile of US-based Wyndham Hotel Group (WHG) and increasing awareness of its brands, which total 17.
Having entered the market with the midscale Ramada brand, the group has now added Wyndham Grand and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts in the upper-upscale and upscale segments, as well as Days Inn and Super 8 in the economy and budget segments.
There have been several notable progressions in Q2 of this year; the signing of the first Wyndham Hotels and Resorts branded property in the UAE, in Dubai Marina; the opening of the first Days Inn hotel in Saudi Arabia, the first of 10 signed in a deal announced late last year with Riyada International Hotels and Resorts; and the group’s debut in Iraq, with the opening of Ramada Sulaymaniyah Salim Street in Kurdistan in June.
Momentum is expected to continue, with The Wyndham Grand Manama and Wyndham Grand Riyadh both anticipated to open by the end of summer 2014. In total, six hotels are due to open between now and end 2014.
Ultimately, Haddad wants to further increase the range of products, confident that “no other company in the region will be covering such a vast spectrum of segments”. With the backing of the world’s largest hotel group with 7380 hotels worldwide, his confidence is sustained.
“Our success is driven by our ability to be truly flexible — we are able to develop both management and franchise contracts,” he says of the company.
The group is also increasingly focusing on management rather than franchise projects, investing in F&B development — with Brazilian outlet Fogueira setting Dubai’s churrascaria scene alight at Ramada Plaza JBR— and rolling out its loyalty programme in the Middle East.
Haddad joined Wyndham Hotel Group in 2007 to head the company’s development in the Middle East and Africa and was promoted in 2012 following five years of strong growth. Prior to joining WHG, Haddad worked in Dubai with Hospitality Management Services and was instrumental in the introduction and development of Holiday Inn Express in the Gulf.
Based in WHG’s Dubai office, Haddad holds an MBA in International Hospitality Management from IMHI, a joint programme established by Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and ESSEC. He firtst entered the Power 50 in 2011 at number 13.