TRAVEL Market (ATM) 2012. The leading hotel management company in earlier announced its plans to open seven new hotels in 2012, including its first properties in Bahrain and Jordan and its second hotel in Qatar, besides the expansion of its UAE portfolio with four new properties.
The expansion is part of its $750 million investment to maintain its position as the largest hotel brand in the region and will see Rotana managing around 14,000 rooms across its properties by the end of 2012.
Rotana also expects a six per cent occupancy rate growth across its portfolio of hotels in the region when compared to 2011 figures.
“There is much focus regaining confidence in Egypt where we operate a number of properties. We expect that as general business conditions improve in these countries and indeed right across the Middle East and Africa, so will the opportunity for hospitality and Rotana is adding several new destinations to our offering – in Jordan, Oman and Bahrain,” said Omer Kaddouri, COO for Rotana.
“We believe our growth is supported by our commitment to keep evolving our products in line with travel trends and guest preferences, and one of the key areas for growth that we are currently addressing is the mid-tier market, for which we developed the Centro Hotels by Rotana brand.”
Abu Dhabi is a key market for the group, and Kaddouri frankly admits to strong competition on its home turf. “As the inventory of the hotel rooms in Abu Dhabi continue to increase, as they have in the first quarter alone, with the addition of almost 1,800 rooms, we do expect to see a ‘rate war’ between hotels. This is largely driven by the demand and supply factors. In Abu Dhabi today, just in the first three months of 2012, we have reached our occupancy targets, but not our rate targets,” he said.
“The five-star new hotels that open in Abu Dhabi open at a much lower rate than they should be in order to boost occupancies and as a result creating stiff rate-competition. We understand this will be the trend in Abu Dhabi for the next couple of years and so we remain very cautious with our budget process,” he added.
Looking to 2012, he said the group is focussing more on leisure business by creating good deals and packages for its traditional European markets especially for the upcoming summer period. “The market is already expecting a ‘bloodbath’ since everyone is going to undercut the other, to get their share of the pie,” he added.
Despite this challenging situation, Rotana is committed to open its properties on schedule across the region. “All our hotels will open as scheduled. Among those opening this year is a 400-room Centro Capital Centre at Adnec, an area in town that already has several five-star hotels operational. But we strategize who our source markets will be and what it would take to ensure we get our share of the business, well before opening doors.
“What is being built today in Abu Dhabi is not just to cater to today’s demand, but for the future. This is all part of Abu Dhabi’s Vision 2030, and is part of our sustainable future. Abu Dhabi is still a city in the making and all the developments we see today are part of that future,” he added.
Rotana will require more than 3000 new employees to support its growth targets, a welcome development for an industry hit by substantial lay-offs as a result of the global downturn. Developments planned for 2012 for Rotana include: Al Ghurair Rayhaan by Rotana, Dubai (opening Q3 2012), Al Ghurair Arjaan by Rotana, Dubai (opening Q3 2012), Boulevard Arjaan by Rotana, Jordan (opening Q 1 2012), Centro Capital Centre, Abu Dhabi (opening Q2 of 2012), Capital Centre Rotana, Abu Dhabi (opening Q3 of 2012), City Centre Rotana, Doha (opening Q3 of 2012) and Majestic Arjaan by Rotana, Bahrain (opening Q4 2012).