Laurent A. Voivenel Laurent A. Voivenel

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.”

Amine E. Moukarzel

President, Louvre Hotels Group MENA
Louvre Hotels relaunched its Golden Tulip brand to cater to millennial travellers.

Laurent A. Voivenel

Senior vice president, operations & development for the Middle East, Africa & India, Swiss-Belhotel International
A seasoned hotelier, Laurent A. Voivenel has ambitious plans for Swiss-Belhotel International’s operations in the region.

Dr Badr Al Badr

Chief executive officer, Dur Hospitality Company
Dur Hospitality is one of the largest and longest-standing hospitality companies in Saudi Arabia.

Hussain Sajwani

Chairman, Damac Properties/ Damac Hotels & Resorts
The property development company’s hospitality arm — Damac Hotels & Resorts is looking to boost its current portfolio of 1,700 hotel units over the next three years, delivering 15,000 operational units by 2021.

Taras Ettl

Vice president Middle East & Asia, Deutsche Hospitality
In April 2018 the group opened its third property in Tunisia — the Steigenberger Hotel Palace Marhaba on the Gulf of Hammamet — joining two hotels that opened in the country in 2017: Steigenberger Kantaoui Bay, and Jaz in Sousse. Deutsche Hospitality’s current portfolio of 10 hotels is set to nearly double, with eight new properties in the pipeline in GCC markets.

Michael Wale

Chief executive officer, Kerzner International
Adding to its One&Only portfolio in Dubai, the group will open a new One&Only Urban Resorts in 2020. The property will be located within the One Za’abeel development in the Za’abeel district.

Prateek Kumar

Regional vice president EMEA, Dusit International
Dusit International is in an important growth phase, which will see the company’s current portfolio of 27 hotels surpass 70 worldwide within the next four years.

Jose Silva

Chief executive officer, Jumeirah Group
The group also opened its first property in Bahrain — Jumeirah Royal Saray Bahrain — in February this year, and further expansion into new markets, is planned, Silva tells Hotelier Middle East.

Baran Turkel

Managing director, Turkey, Middle East & Central Asia, Best Western Hotels & Resorts
In 2017, Best Western Hotels debuted its new brand Vib in Antalya, Turkey. Vib is defined by Best Western as a, “new hip, chic, boutique concept and lifestyle brand that re-imagines the Best Western hotel experience for today’s traveller who is seeking innovation, technology integration and style with an authentic, local flavour.”

Michael Cottan

Executive vice president — operations, Middle East, India and the Indian Ocean, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts
Additionally, phase two of Shangri-La Dubai’s extensive renovation is also due to finish this year.

By THE NUMBERS

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

 

Amine E. Moukarzel

President, Louvre Hotels Group MENA
Louvre Hotels relaunched its Golden Tulip brand to cater to millennial travellers.

Laurent A. Voivenel

Senior vice president, operations & development for the Middle East, Africa & India, Swiss-Belhotel International
A seasoned hotelier, Laurent A. Voivenel has ambitious plans for Swiss-Belhotel International’s operations in the region.

Dr Badr Al Badr

Chief executive officer, Dur Hospitality Company
Dur Hospitality is one of the largest and longest-standing hospitality companies in Saudi Arabia.

Hussain Sajwani

Chairman, Damac Properties/ Damac Hotels & Resorts
The property development company’s hospitality arm — Damac Hotels & Resorts is looking to boost its current portfolio of 1,700 hotel units over the next three years, delivering 15,000 operational units by 2021.

Taras Ettl

Vice president Middle East & Asia, Deutsche Hospitality
In April 2018 the group opened its third property in Tunisia — the Steigenberger Hotel Palace Marhaba on the Gulf of Hammamet — joining two hotels that opened in the country in 2017: Steigenberger Kantaoui Bay, and Jaz in Sousse. Deutsche Hospitality’s current portfolio of 10 hotels is set to nearly double, with eight new properties in the pipeline in GCC markets.

Michael Wale

Chief executive officer, Kerzner International
Adding to its One&Only portfolio in Dubai, the group will open a new One&Only Urban Resorts in 2020. The property will be located within the One Za’abeel development in the Za’abeel district.

Prateek Kumar

Regional vice president EMEA, Dusit International
Dusit International is in an important growth phase, which will see the company’s current portfolio of 27 hotels surpass 70 worldwide within the next four years.

Jose Silva

Chief executive officer, Jumeirah Group
The group also opened its first property in Bahrain — Jumeirah Royal Saray Bahrain — in February this year, and further expansion into new markets, is planned, Silva tells Hotelier Middle East.

Baran Turkel

Managing director, Turkey, Middle East & Central Asia, Best Western Hotels & Resorts
In 2017, Best Western Hotels debuted its new brand Vib in Antalya, Turkey. Vib is defined by Best Western as a, “new hip, chic, boutique concept and lifestyle brand that re-imagines the Best Western hotel experience for today’s traveller who is seeking innovation, technology integration and style with an authentic, local flavour.”

Michael Cottan

Executive vice president — operations, Middle East, India and the Indian Ocean, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts
Additionally, phase two of Shangri-La Dubai’s extensive renovation is also due to finish this year.