Hotel News ME takes a look at the Swiss hospitality firm’s current and upcoming Middle East footprint.
Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, an international upscale hotel management company with more than 16,000 staff members, is present in 24 countries with 82 hotels, resorts and Nile cruisers, representing 19,996 rooms. The company’s focus is to expand in its core markets across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts specialises in business and conference hotels, as well as holiday resorts, all of which are designed to reflect a sense of place while respecting their local communities.
Of Swiss heritage and headquartered in central Switzerland (Baar), Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts is passionate about delivering premium service and culinary enjoyment – all with a personal touch – and has also earned a reputation as the hotel company with the most Green Globe certifications in the world. The hospitality firm is jointly owned by Mövenpick Holding (66.7%) and the Kingdom Group (33.3%).
26 hotels in the Middle East
Saudi Arabia (9)
United Arab Emirates (6)
7 properties under contract in the Middle East
Mövenpick Hotel Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (433 keys)
Mövenpick Hotel City Star Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (230 keys)
Mövenpick Residences Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia (270 keys)
Mövenpick Hotel Financial District Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (353 keys)
Mövenpick Hotel Dubai Media City, UAE (246 keys)
Mövenpick Hotel Apartments Downtown Dubai, UAE (246 keys)
Mövenpick Hotel Heraa Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (227 keys)
Mövenpick Hotel Riyadh, which will open in Q4 this year, marks the group’s first property in the Saudi capital and takes its portfolio in the kingdom to 10 hotels. Located on Al Fahd Road in Riyadh’s business district, this contemporary business hotel will offer 433 guest rooms and suites, the largest inventory in the city. Additional highlights include a 1,200-square-metre Riyadh Grand Ballroom with a built-in bridal suite, as well as an attractive F&B offering – Acacia, a Michelin-starred French restaurant by Pierre Gagnaire, and four international specialty outlets, including Naya, serving contemporary Lebanese cuisine.
Five of Mövenpick’s upcoming properties are pipelined for Saudi Arabia with two planned for Riyadh, two for Jeddah and one for Al Khobah. It will take the group’s portfolio across the kingdom from nine to 14 by 2019.
Achievements and milestones in 2014 and 2015
- In the latest Middle East Brand Ranking Index conducted by independent research consultancy firm BDRC, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts ranked second in terms of brand recognition.
- The company introduced a new brand promise – ‘Natural Enjoyment’ – delivering a “relaxed, uncomplicated experience”.
- 2014 developments included the takeover of a property in Karachi plus the opening of a new hotel in Casablanca and a new resort in Koh Samui.
- In 2014, nine new management agreements were signed for properties in
Kochi,India; Casablanca, Morocco; Les Berges du Lac, Tunisia; Koh Samui, Thailand; Downtown Dubai, UAE; Erbil, Iraq; Jeddah and Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia; and Basel, Switzerland. More than 25 Mövenpick hotels and resorts are currently in development.
- The company also launched its ‘Shine’ Global Sustainability Programme in 2014, focusing on education initiatives in the communities where the firm operates it properties.
Market challenges faced
In this industry things change fast and in order to turn opportunities into real wins we need to adapt quickly. The digital world has made a significant impact on the way guests choose and book their accommodation, influenced by social media, consumer-generated content and technological in-room features. Brand websites and OTAs are currently the main generators of bookings, a development that has changed the traditional commercial environment.
Retention of employees is also a growing industry challenge and we continuously endeavour to enhance our selection process to keep retention rates high.
Being in this business also requires a proactive approach to address unexpected situations, such as geopolitical events and economic uncertainties. The economic downturn in Europe resulted in a decline in revenues for some of our hotels in that region. This was offset by improved performances across the Middle East, particularly in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Our balanced portfolio split over Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa ensures the company’s continued success.
Key goals for the next 12-18 months
The Middle East and North Africa is our fastest growing region in terms of new developments and our strategy is to expand our presence at a sustainable rate. To this affect we recently appointed Amir Lababedi as vice president for development, Middle East and South Asia. We plan to consolidate our position as one of the Middle East’s dominant hospitality firms with plans to add more than 10 hotels across the region by 2020.
Making the most of technology
As hoteliers we need to exceed guest expectations with our technology service offerings, while keeping things functional, simple and easy to use. We endeavour to customise our technology services so they deliver real value to our guests. The goal is to achieve a balance, striving for efficiency while maintaining a human touch. We want to provide experiences that make our guests happy, and this is always a key consideration when we introduce new technology.