Ali Al Zaabi Ali Al Zaabi

Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi has been the prolific head leading Millennium Hotels & Resorts as the president for the last 16 years and in the last year, the self-made Emirati hotelier has made noticeable strides in his efforts to expand the footprint of the company.

Having started from a single property in Abu Dhabi, as of July 31st, 2018, Millennium commands 10,850 rooms in operation in the region with 35 hotels in operation but under Alzaabi leadership, the hotel company has its eyes set on a massive expansion with nearly 18,396 keys to open within the next four years within 45 properties in the pipeline.

The key area of focus for Millennium, Alzaabi tells Hotelier, has been the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In September 2017, the company took over operations of the Makkah Hilton Hotel & Towers and flagged it as Millennium Makkah Hotel and Towers. In June 2018, 227-key Millennium Madinah Airport opened next to Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz Airport. With religious tourism gaining traction more now than ever before, Alzaabi says the company plans to open 5,000 to 10,000 more keys in the Holy City in the next three years. Four hotels are expected to open this year, namely Millennium Al Naseem and Copthorne Al Naseem in Makkah, Millennium Tabouk, and M Hotel Makkah Al Aziziyah.

“We are fully committed to a strategic expansion in Saudi Arabia, extending our reach across the entire Kingdom, with 21 hotels planned to open in locations such as Jizan, Baha, Madinah, Makkah and Tabouk in the next two years.” Alzaabi reveals.

Dubai is also an area of focus in the region for Millennium with seven hotels in the pipeline and two new brands: Millennium Place and Studio M. Studio M brand will debut in Dubai this year with Studio M Al Qiyadah and Studio M Al Barsha. The three-star hotels will offer an affordable price point and design that is aligned with the “millennial mindset”. Four properties, Millennium Place Jumeirah Village Triangle, Millennium Place Business Bay and Millennium Place Mirdiff will follow in the next two years. The seventh hotel, Grand

Millennium Business Bay will house eight restaurants and is expected to open soon this year.

To support the impressive rate at which Millennium is shooting to grow at, the company also has ambitious plans to increase its employee pool. Alzaabi currently head 7,000 team members but plans to more than double it to 15,000 by 2020 providing sufficient employment opportunities within the region with the vision of advancement for the local GCC nationals in mind.

To contend with this, Millennium launched TooMooh — which means ambition — a concerted, consistent programme to accelerate nationalisation and be an active contributor to the vision and initiative of GCC countries. The initiative plans to integrate nationals in the private sector and offer increased opportunities in the hospitality industry.

For the near future, Alzaabi tells Hotelier is to strengthen the existing portfolio and that the development objective for Millennium Hotels & Resorts is to have 100 hotels under its belt by 2020.

Tim Cordon

Area senior vice president, Middle East, Turkey and Africa Radisson Hotel Group
Tim Cordon was appointed the new area senior vice president in November 2017, the youngest area senior vice president in the company’s history

Ali Al Zaabi

President, Millennium Hotels & Resorts, Middle East & Africa
Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi has been the prolific head leading Millennium Hotels & Resorts as the president for the last 16 years and in the last year, the self-made Emirati hotelier has made noticeable strides in his efforts to expand the footprint of the company.

Olivier Harnisch

Chief executive officer, Emaar Hospitality Group
Over the last 12 months, Emaar’s focus has been to strengthen the footprint of its existing three main hotel brands – Address Hotels + Resorts, Vida Hotels and Resorts, and Rove Hotels.

Marc Descrozaille

Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts president, Middle East & Africa
Marc Descrozaille has paved his way into this year’s Power 50 ranking after taking over as president for Middle East & Africa only nine months ago after Andreas Mattmuller retired from his position as chief operating officer for Mövenpick MEA after 16 years of service in the company.

Kamel Ajami

Vice President, Operations, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia & Levant, Hilton
Saudi Arabia has been a key area of focus for Hilton as it is its largest developmental market in the in the region and the company expects to grow from 10 to 40 properties in the country within the next five years.

Ignace Bauwens

Regional vice president, Middle East, Eurasia and Africa, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Over the last two years, Bauwens has overseen the group’s portfolio grow by 30%, from 8162 rooms in 2016 to 10,593 rooms today in the Middle East and Africa.

Mohamed Awadalla

Chief executive officer, Time Hotels Management
Given the group’s growth in operating properties Time Hotels has witnessed year-on-year growth of 13%, with profit up 19% as of June 2018

Simon Casson

President – hotel operations, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Over the last year, Casson led the opening of two new properties — the Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Al Shaya in November, and the Four Seasons Hotel Tunis in December.

Henk Meyknecht

Chief operating officer Middle East & Africa, Kempinski Hotels
In addition to the new signings, the group also lost one hotel. Kempinski Hotel Ajman was reflagged as the Ajman Hotel, under the Blazon Hotels brand early this year.

Robert Kunkler

Chief operating officer, Minor Hotels
Robert Kunkler, the leadership team have “ambitious plans to further expand Minor’s existing brands in the region and to explore strategic acquisitions with strong joint-venture partners.”

By THE NUMBERS

16 Number of years in role

16 Number of years with company

35 Number of Middle East operating hotels

45 Number of Middle East pipeline hotels

 

Tim Cordon

Area senior vice president, Middle East, Turkey and Africa Radisson Hotel Group
Tim Cordon was appointed the new area senior vice president in November 2017, the youngest area senior vice president in the company’s history

Ali Al Zaabi

President, Millennium Hotels & Resorts, Middle East & Africa
Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi has been the prolific head leading Millennium Hotels & Resorts as the president for the last 16 years and in the last year, the self-made Emirati hotelier has made noticeable strides in his efforts to expand the footprint of the company.

Olivier Harnisch

Chief executive officer, Emaar Hospitality Group
Over the last 12 months, Emaar’s focus has been to strengthen the footprint of its existing three main hotel brands – Address Hotels + Resorts, Vida Hotels and Resorts, and Rove Hotels.

Marc Descrozaille

Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts president, Middle East & Africa
Marc Descrozaille has paved his way into this year’s Power 50 ranking after taking over as president for Middle East & Africa only nine months ago after Andreas Mattmuller retired from his position as chief operating officer for Mövenpick MEA after 16 years of service in the company.

Kamel Ajami

Vice President, Operations, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia & Levant, Hilton
Saudi Arabia has been a key area of focus for Hilton as it is its largest developmental market in the in the region and the company expects to grow from 10 to 40 properties in the country within the next five years.

Ignace Bauwens

Regional vice president, Middle East, Eurasia and Africa, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Over the last two years, Bauwens has overseen the group’s portfolio grow by 30%, from 8162 rooms in 2016 to 10,593 rooms today in the Middle East and Africa.

Mohamed Awadalla

Chief executive officer, Time Hotels Management
Given the group’s growth in operating properties Time Hotels has witnessed year-on-year growth of 13%, with profit up 19% as of June 2018

Simon Casson

President – hotel operations, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Over the last year, Casson led the opening of two new properties — the Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Al Shaya in November, and the Four Seasons Hotel Tunis in December.

Henk Meyknecht

Chief operating officer Middle East & Africa, Kempinski Hotels
In addition to the new signings, the group also lost one hotel. Kempinski Hotel Ajman was reflagged as the Ajman Hotel, under the Blazon Hotels brand early this year.

Robert Kunkler

Chief operating officer, Minor Hotels
Robert Kunkler, the leadership team have “ambitious plans to further expand Minor’s existing brands in the region and to explore strategic acquisitions with strong joint-venture partners.”