Hotel News ME profiles the hotel group’s 2014-2015 achievements, its future goals, plus it planned Middle East pipeline
Founded in 2003 in Dubai, HMH – Hospitality Management Holdings is a fully integrated hotel management company that prides itself on being the first hotel chain in the Middle East to offer a halal-friendly, alcohol-free safe environment. It operates five distinct hotel brands catering to varied market segments from budget to luxury. These include The Ajman Palace Hotel, Coral Hotels & Resorts, Corp Hotels, EWA Hotel Apartments and ECOS Hotels.
CURRENT MENA PROPERTIES
HMH currently operates 15 hotels across four brands: The Ajman Palace Hotel, Coral Hotels & Resorts, Corp Hotels, EWA Hotel Apartments. These are located in 15 cities across seven countries:
UPCOMING MENA PROPERTIES
There are five new properties opening under the HMH banner this year, which will boost the group’s portfolio by 25% and employ 500 new staff members. The company is also looking to launch its budget brand ECOS Hotels soon.
Coral Muscat Hotel & Apartment (Muscat, Oman): 88 keys
Coral Beirut Concorde Hotel (Beirut, Lebanon): 61 keys
Coral Al Madina Hotel (Madina, KSA): 400-plus keys
EWA Khartoum Hotel & Apartments (Khartoum, Sudan): 72 keys
EWA Port Sudan Hotel & Apartments (Port Sudan, Sudan): 84 keys
Coral Dubai Sports City Hotel & Apartments, Dubai (304 keys)
- Coral Muscat Hotel & Apartments is being hailed HMH’s flagship property in Muscat. Located in Qurum, the deluxe four-star property is part of a shopping arcade and multiplex and features 88 furnished apartments comprising 56 two-bedroom and 32 one-bedroom units. Key features include an international all-day-dining restaurant, pool deck and lounge, terrace lounge, meeting venues for small- to medium-sized conferences, plus a gym, fitness room and swimming pool.
- The opening of Coral Al Madina Hotel will mark the firm’s KSA debut. The five-star property overlooks the Holy Mosque and features 400-plus rooms and suites, three restaurants, a lobby lounge, shopping arcade, gym and spa, two meeting rooms, a business centre, and a large parking space, as well as helicopter-landing site.
Discussion points: Laurent A. Voivenel, CEO, HMH – Hospitality Management Holdings
The hotel group’s key achievements and milestones over the past 12 months
Last year (2014) was an extremely productive and successful year with HMH marking a number of significant business and technological milestones. In a matter of a few months we strengthened our executive team, consolidated our brand positioning and rolled out our expansion strategy with a solid development pipeline. This included signing Coral Al Madina Hotel, which will be our biggest opening in 2015 featuring 400 plus rooms and suites.
We also carried out an all-round IT upgrade and developed a new bi-lingual website with a single platform for all brands.
The key challenges facing HMH and the hospitality sector in general
There are several issues putting pressure on room rates and occupancies such as the Russian crisis, competition from Egypt and the increasing supply of new rooms. However, a number of factors will continue to drive demand to Dubai – the massive growth of aviation industry, increased airport capacity, new leisure attractions, the development of business infrastructure, technology optimisation, digital and social media marketing, plus a high level of safety and security. There is sufficient business out there across the different market segments to sustain existing and upcoming hotels but we all need to work harder to get it.
Top goals for the next 12 to 18 months
- Budget hotels have emerged as the greatest business opportunity across the Middle East and Africa for multiple reasons. There is a considerable shortage of affordable accommodation and not enough supply and as the low-cost airlines blossom cost-conscious travellers are flooding the market, pushing up demand for mid-market lodgings. Given this staggering demand we see massive potential for ECOS Hotels, which is a ‘no frills’ B&B brand that offers a unique economical and ecological concept. It is a smart choice for investors due to lower construction and operating costs and a quick and high return on investment. We are aiming to launch ECOS by the end of the year.
- Pipeline growth is on our radar. Today we are present in some of the Middle East’s fastest-growing markets with very promising development prospects and moving forward we wish to focus on GCC markets, particularly the UAE and KSA. We definitely want to capitalise on the opportunities presented by Dubai Expo 2020 and Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022.
- Our 2020 goal is to have a hotel in every GCC country while doubling our portfolio in the UAE. We also have a strong interest in the booming Asian markets such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia and China.
How technology is dictating the way HMH runs its business
We operate in a highly digitalised world and in order to achieve the right results, digital marketing is vital. One of our greatest strengths is the adoption and integration of the latest technology into every aspect of our business, from management to operations. We have invested heavily in technology that places us on par with top international brands, enabling us to optimise our performance to deliver superior results. From rolling out a new e-commerce friendly website designed to improve online conversions to embedding the right hardware and software at various levels of operations in order to increase efficiency and compliance of standards, we have put in place some major initiatives.