Hotel & Catering News ME caught up with Richard Haddad, Chief Executive Officer, Jannah Hotels & Resorts to discuss what makes Jannah Hotels & Resorts competitive in the current market and how Expo 2020 Dubai will boost the hospitality industry.
Tell us about Jannah Hotels & Resorts, how you joined the group and your journey since then?
I first joined the Jannah group in March 2013 as Vice President of Operations across several properties. My main role was to timely deliver new properties openings, analyze the market for potential new hotel projects and monitors the overall performance of the existing properties under the brand umbrella, to review growth strategy to name just a few. I took a short break from the Jannah Hotels and Resorts and returned in September 2018 as Chief Executive Officer. Since then, my main focus is on driving the group’s growth strategy and increasing operational efficiency.
How did you navigate your team through the pandemic?
The pandemic was a very uncertain time for many businesses and individuals, but we were lucky in that we were able to retain all our staff. We have launched a recovery plan and monitored
is closely and ensured that we cruised through the pandemic without losing any staff.
When the country started opening up again in June of last year, all our properties performance gradually improved and we lifted all salary cuts by September 2020. It’s easy in uncertain times to get stressed however it was essential for us not to portray these feelings to the team and to keep them uplifted and as positive as possible.
What is it that makes Jannah Hotels & Resorts competitive in the market?
The UAE market is saturated with five‐star, 500 key hotels and we are not looking to compete with these big international brands. We do not want to oversize our properties as we want to maintain the level of customer experience in a smaller, friendlier environment. We have also realized that smaller hotels are more appreciated and desired following COVID‐19 as people feel more comfortable in smaller properties.
With Expo 2020 Dubai coming up, what are your hopes and goals for this event?
Expo 2020 will be a huge event not only for Dubai but for the global travel industry and we are expecting a big influx of international tourists into the emirate and are looking forward to welcoming them. We are hoping to see occupancy levels of pre‐covid times but this will all depend on travel restrictions in place across various countries.
Tell us about the EDGE brand and the launch of EDGE Creekside?
This hotel opening marks the debut of the Edge brand which falls into the more affordable, halal segment of the market. The hotel is located in Deira and offers 138 rooms and suites in addition to two restaurants, a lobby specialty café, meeting rooms, a pool and gym. The hotel has a certain ‘edge‐ factor’, similar to the wow factor, and every touchpoint in the hotel has a story to help guests feel comfortable with where they are.
Any other comments?
We wanted to share some highlights on the group financial performance for the first half of 2021.
Our overall turnover grew by a healthy 30% YTD compared to 2020 and by 14% compared to the same period in 2019. These positive results have been achieved through the efforts of a strong team across
in all aspects. We look forward to more records in the second half of 2021 especially with the high season and the Expo 2020 in the last quarter.