The last year has been a quiet one for Philippe Harb at One to One, although the group has plans to open seven new hotels in the next three quarters. In fact, two are due to open in the next quarter, Harb reveals. Both will be four-star properties in the UAE — Boutique Al Dhar in Sharjah and Boutique Great Wall in Ras Al Khaimah.
The Abu Dhabi-headquartered operator also has plans to expand its operations in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Morocco, and Thailand.
Last year, One to One succeeded in reducing its expenses and payroll, and kept its gross operating profit to 25%. However, Harb concedes: “Growth in revenue per available room was flat in most of our operating hotels in 2016.”
Nevertheless, he is positive about the growth of the company. He foresees doubling the existing portfolio to 30 hotels through management contracts, developments, and acquisitions, as well as through the development of One to One’s four brand categories, which cover “elite hotels”, boutique hotels, wellness resorts, and suites.
Harb shares his journey with Hotelier Middle East, saying: “I took over a home-grown brand that started with just two hotels and was about to shut down, and now it has expanded to 27 hotels in operation and seven in the pipeline within just four years. We moved the company from a national presence to an international one, and soon from ownership to corporate.”