Laurent A. Voivenel
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Laurent A. Voivenel

Senior vice president, operations, and development for the Middle East, Africa, and India, Swiss-Belhotel International
Since Voivenel took charge of the company in April of this year, Swiss-Belhotel has introduced a number of new properties

French hotelier Laurent A. Voivenel has recently taken over as senior vice president, operations and development for the Middle East, Africa, and India at Swiss-Belhotel International. Voivenel, with more than 32 years of experience, including 17 in the region, is focused on accelerating the growth of Swiss-Belhotel in the region.

The group has seven hotels in the region, including one in Turkey, with plans to operate another 26 properties. Voivenel tells Hotelier that of the 26 hotels, 16 are under construction and 10 are under negotiation.

The operator is currently in charge of 1,546 rooms, with a further 2,131 under construction and 2,000 in talks with owners. Swiss-Belhotel signed a management agreement for Swiss-Belresidences Juffair in Bahrain in June 2017, and Swiss-Belresidences Al Sharq in Kuwait in May 2017, which marked the debut of the Swiss-Belresidences brand in the region.

In addition, the group introduced the Swiss-Belboutique brand in the GCC in May with the announcement of Swiss-Belboutique Bneid Al Gar in Kuwait. It also plans to bring its other brands to the region.

Voivenel says: “We expect to introduce Zest Hotels to the Middle East, which is a fun and fresh budget hotel brand. We believe that savvy travellers shouldn’t have to sacrifice comfort, convenience, or style even when sticking to a budget [hotel] and, therefore, [we] created the Zest Hotels concept in 2015 to fit that important gap in the market.

“These developments are aimed at diversifying our offering in the region while meeting the growing demand for mid-market hotels and serviced apartments.”

Since Voivenel took charge of the company in April of this year, Swiss-Belhotel has introduced Grand Swiss-Belresort Seef in Bahrain; Swiss-Belresidences Juffair, also in Bahrain; Swiss-Belresort Marseilia Beach 4 in Egypt; Swiss-Belboutique Bneid Al Gar and Swiss-Belresidences Al Sharq, both in Kuwait; and Grand Swiss-Belresort Tala Bay Aqaba in Jordan.

He says: “We currently have seven hotels in operation but in the next five years we expect to reach 25 to 30 hotels. This is mainly because we have a very strong development pipeline of more than 3,500 rooms.”

The operator aims to take on five new hotels next year as it prepares for Expo 2020 Dubai. Voivenel says: “In addition to the 16 hotels in development, our target is to sign five hotels in the UAE, including two hotels in Dubai, by 2020.”

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ALEX KYRIAKIDIS
President and managing director
OLIVIER GRANET
Managing director and chief operating officer
PASCAL GAUVIN
Chief operating officer, India, Middle East and Africa
MARK WILLIS
Area senior vice president Middle East, Turkey, and Africa
ANDREAS MATTMÜLLER
Chief operating officer, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts
ALI HAMAD LAKHRAIM ALZAABI
Founder, president, and CEO, Millennium Hotels & Resorts
OMER KADDOURI
President and CEO
ROBERT KUNKLER
Chief operating officer
KAMEL AJAMI
Vice president operations
AMINE MOUKARZEL
President/ partner
IGNACE BAUWENS
Wyndham Hotel Group regional vice president
SAMI NASSER
COO luxury brands
PETER FULTON
Group president – Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Southwest Asia
HUSSAIN SAJWANI
Chairman
Simon Casson
President – hotel operations, Europe, Middle East & Africa
Dr Badr Al Badr
Chief executive officer
Antoine El Sayegh
President
Imad Elias
CEO
Vincent Miccolis
Country general manager, Middle East and Turkey
Mohamed Ahmed Awadalla
Chief executive officer
Henk Meyknecht
Chief operating officer, Middle East and Africa
Andrew Shaw
Assistant vice president — development EMEA
Laurent A. Voivenel
Senior vice president, operations, and development for the Middle East, Africa, and India
Sumair Tariq
Managing director
Baran Turkel
Managing directorTurkey, Middle East, and Central Asia,
Hatem Gasmi
Founder and managing director,
Aboudi Asali
Chief executive officer
Gabriel Escarrer Jaume
Vice chairman and CEO
Jamal Serhan
CEO and senior vice president
Hussein Ali Hatata
Vice president, hospitality division
Marc Dardenne
Group chief operating officer and interim CEO
Siegfried Nierhaus
Vice president Middle East
Rob Weeden
Vice president sales and marketing Europe
Kamal Fakhoury
Chief executive officer
Nehme Imad Darwiche
Founder and chief executive officer
Mohamed Soussan
Group general manager
Simon Coombs
President and CEO
Suparat Chirathivat
Vice president business development
David Grant Thomson
Chief operating officer
Prithvi Raj Singh Oberoi
Executive chairman
Philippe Zuber
President and chief operating officer
Anton Bawab
Regional president
Frederic Flageat-Simon
Chief executive officer
Sir Rocco Forte
Founder and chairman
Philippe Harb
Chief operating officer and partner
Ranjit Phillipose
General manager

BY THE NUMBERS

4
Number of months in the role
4
Number of months with the company
7
Number of operating hotels in the region as of July 2017
26
Number of pipeline hotels in the region as of July 2017

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