A seasoned hotelier, Laurent A. Voivenel has ambitious plans for Swiss-Belhotel International’s operations in the region.
The hotel operator’s current portfolio includes 1,546 keys under operation in seven hotels, and nearly triple the number in the group’s pipeline.
As of July 2018, Swiss-Belhotel International has 27 hotels in the pipeline — 17 of which are already under construction and an additional 10 under negotiation.
“With 14 well-established brands, we are well equipped to meet the needs of every segment of the market. This diversity of brands allows owners the flexibility to pick the right fit for their property,” Voivenel tells Hotelier Middle East.
The 17 hotels under construction will add 2593 rooms to Swiss-Belhotel’s portfolio in locations such as Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Egypt.
“We have 10 new openings lined up this year and the next in addition to a series of projects under development. These will not only add some fantastic hotels to our portfolio but will allow us to penetrate new destinations such as Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Egypt and Tanzania while growing our presence in existing territories. This will increase our portfolio in the region by more than 50% over the next three years,” Voivenel reveals.
Swiss-Belhotel aims to have 20 hotels in operation and 10 under construction by 2020, Voivenel adds, with a target of 25 to 30 operational hotels in the next five years.
To drive this growth, the group has adopted an aggressive marketing strategy, which seems to have paid off.
“During the last one year, we achieved tremendous improvement in terms of brand visibility and market exposure which had a huge positive impact on our business,” Voivenel says. “Comparing the cumulative performance of our hotels demonstrates that nearly all our properties reported 3-4% growth in occupancy while keeping the ADR in control.
“Tourism performance in the main cities across the Middle East is expected to remain strong with the fruition of major infrastructure projects such as airport expansions, increased global connectivity and growth of low-cost carriers, new leisure attractions, enhanced business facilities, and a year-long calendar of regional and international events.”
1.5 Number of years in role
1.5 Number of years with company
7 Number of operating hotels in MENA as of july 2018'
27 Number of pipeline hotels in the region as of july 2018