Since opening five years ago, the Fairmont and Raffles hotels in Makkah have welcomed more than 2.5 million pilgrims and this year’s 10-day Hajj pilgrimage, which will take place from the 13th to 23rd of September will be no different with many choosing to stay at one of FRHI’s three hotels in the region.
FRHI’s three hotels, Fairmont Makkah Clock Royal Tower, Raffles Makkah Palace and the Swissôtel Makkah in the Abraj Al Bait complex make final preparations for the annual influx of Hajj pilgrims, Ahmed Hozaien, managing director for FRHI in Makkah, said that part of the FRHI’s overall growth strategy is to increase the proportion of guests who book directly from the hotels from the current level of 40%.
Many of these independent travellers come from within Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, and tend to book all year round, not just during the peak holy periods of Hajj and Ramadan, he said: “Our goal is to increase the number of room sales from the individual guests’ category who book directly without using a tour agent or travel office, the individual guests represent 40% of our business today.”
“We’re particularly keen to attract more independent travellers from GCC countries including here in Saudi Arabia, so we’re aiming to raise awareness in this market. Our main Middle East strategy is to maintain our reputation as a word-class hospitality group operating the three best and most known luxury hotels in Makkah. We want to be regarded as the landmark hospitality company among Makkah’s hotel offerings.” Explained Hozaien.
Makkah’s religious tourism and hospitality sector is expected to grow as the expansions of Jaddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport and Al Haram Mosque, and the construction of the new Makkah Metro system raises the holy city’s capacity for visitors.
FRHI Makkah has seen a marked increase in occupancy and revenue in the first half of this year, compared with the same period in 2014, according to Hozaien.
Last year, the company announced plans to increase its presence in Saudi Arabia with the opening of Fairmont Riyadh Business Gate (2016), Swissôtel Jeddah (2017), Raffles Jeddah (2018), and Fairmont Jeddah (2018)