Earlier this week, Aleph Hospitality announced the debut of the third-party hotel management company founded by ex-Wyndham Hotel Group senior executive Bani Haddad and headquartered in Dubai.
A regional first, the white label company will operate assets on behalf of hotel owners under franchise agreements from international brands.
Speaking exclusively to Hotel News Middle East, founder and managing director of Aleph Hospitality, Bani Haddad commented: “We offer strength of network, quality relationships with owners, really in-depth market knowledge, and the know-how to talk to hotel owners in less-developed markets where building a hotel has not always been part of their DNA.
“The owner deals with a professional hotel company so they are not losing the professional skills. The commercial terms are much more flexible because we don’t have the overheads that a brand owner has. We are also willing to go to certain places and operate properties a brand owner wouldn’t do – whether in secondary or tertiary markets, or a relatively small property,” he adds.
The first management contract signed by Aleph Hospitality is the 116-key new-build Best Western Addis Ababa in Ethiopia owned by Noah Real Estate PLC, which is scheduled to open in June.
“Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing markets in Africa with one of the fastest growing economies. It’s the second largest country in Africa after Nigeria and it has the largest airline company in the continent, Ethiopian airlines. Politically it’s very stable and their GDP has been growing but there is a lack of hotel brands,” Haddad said.
Aleph Hospitality is in talks with Noah Real Estate on further projects, and also has its sights set on more East African properties, with Kenya, Uganda and Nairobi being considered.
Interest is also coming in from Nigeria and Liberia.
“We’re very close to signing new properties, mostly in East Africa for the time being – it seems for the time being that the immediate opportunities are from Africa rather than the Middle East,” he commented.
That said, the Middle East is of key interest to Aleph, and already there are some discussions underway in Saudi Arabia, with the UAE cited as another big opportunity.
“The Gulf is a bit more mature in terms of hotel development so most of the brand owners require a different approach to get their business but we’re now in a position to start talking to a few owners in the Middle East,” said Haddad.
Haddad expects that by September 2016, the company should have three or four signings confirmed, and over the next five years, this could grow to at least 30 properties.
“We started in September 2015, and we’re about to open our first property and will soon close another few management agreements. On top of that we’ve had a lot of interest from hotel owners and brand owners. I’m really surprised and excited,” Haddad said.
Prior to launching Aleph Hospitality, Haddad was regional vice president Middle East & Africa for Wyndham Hotel Group, where he set up the company’s Middle East & Africa office and helped grow the regional portfolio from 12 franchised hotels to 49 operational properties, with another 20 in the pipeline.
Aleph Hospitality has unveiled its new website, Alephhospitality.com, which provides prospective hotel owners and business partners with an overview of the company’s services.
The new site also serves to demystify the concept of third-party management, which is widely tipped to fuel significant expansion in the Middle East & Africa hotel industry.