With 42 years of hotel industry experience, including seven years in the Middle East, British-born Crawford joined Whitbread, the UK’s largest hospitality company and owner of Premier Inn in 2000.
Following a move to the Middle East in 2006, it has been seven years of success. A highlight for Crawford of the last 12 months was when the company’s three Dubai hotels were rated first, second and third on Tripadvisor out of 109 two- and three-star hotels in the emirate, and when Premier Inn Abu Dhabi Capital Centre hit number one in Abu Dhabi.
Additional good news for Crawford and his team was the fact that in 2012 Premier Inn in the Middle East achieved a 30% like-for-like sales growth.
However, it’s about to get busy. Only one additional property opened in the last 12 months, but out of nine hotels in the company pipeline, eight of which were signed in the last 12 months, six are scheduled to open in 2014.
The focus for future expansion for the company is on opening and establishing properties in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Doha, Muscat and Sharjah.