A Word with GHN Advisory Board Member Guy Hutchinson
2019 Priorities and Growth Aspirations
Since its inception in the UAE’s capital Abu Dhabi in 1992, Rotana has been on an eventful journey. It has evolved into one of the leading hotel management companies in the region with hotels across the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Turkey over nearly three decades. With its vision to be the leading hospitality management company, recognised for its unique blend of world-class standards, genuine hospitality and for its truly treasured experiences provided for guests, colleagues and owners, Rotana has played an instrumental role in the transformation of the region’s hospitality industry.
Driven by a relentless focus on improving offerings to enhance guest experiences and expanding its portfolio to bring its hospitality to new destinations, Rotana has consistently delivered strong performance. With its five brands, namely Rotana Hotels & Resorts, Rayhaan Hotels & Resorts by Rotana, Arjaan Hotel Apartments by Rotana, Centro by Rotana, and The Residences by Rotana, the company has served the varying needs of its different target guests, from leisure and business travellers to the local community. Similarly, the company’s diverse Food & Beverage offering, which currently includes a collection of over 300 unique dining venues across all of its properties, has remained a major pillar for its success.
Rotana has started 2019 on a positive note, with most properties in the portfolio posting firm growth in occupancy, ADR and RevPAR in the first quarter. Given the upward trend in the performance of global markets, the company remains optimistic about positive growth prospects for the region. However, with supply to grow by an additional 58,000 keys in 2019 in GCC alone, the region’s hospitality market may witness intensified competition that will put pressure on room rates, and therefore maintaining profit margins will be a key challenge for hoteliers. In order to address this, Rotana will continue to intensify focus on revenue generation throughout the year.
Rotana’s sustained investment in technology and innovation has also been key to its long-term growth. The company continues to actively embrace customer-driven smart technology to enhance guest convenience and comfort at its hotels. In line with this vision, Rotana has initiated an upgrade to its Central Reservations System (CRS) to enhance technical, functional, service support and commercial offerings. The revamped CRS will be rolled out by the middle of 2019.
Strengthening its commercial efforts by expanding its network of Global Sales Offices also remains a priority for Rotana. Four new Global Sales Offices have been opened including Paris, Milan, Turkey and Amsterdam over the last 12 months to drive business from these key markets. Similarly, the company will continue to work closely with stakeholders, including airlines and tourism boards, to increase volume from key markets and explore new sources of business.
With its strong market presence and robust long-term strategy, Rotana is well-positioned to capitalise on new opportunities offered by the region’s hospitality sector. As a result of the growing public spending in tourism sectors, driven by the ambitious economic diversification roadmaps for the regional economies, the industry is on the verge of a tremendous transformation. Major upcoming events, such as Expo 2020 Dubai, and tourism initiatives, including the $500 billion Red Sea coastline project, NEOM mega-city project, Al Qiddiya Entertainment City, Farasan Islands, and the 3,000-square-kilometre Amaala luxury destination project in Saudi Arabia, will further strengthen the region’s reputation as an attractive destination for tourists and investors alike. In addition, international events taking place in the region with the support of regional governments – such as the 2019 AFC Asian Cup and Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019–not only help drive occupancy, but also promote the destinations worldwide. Similarly, the ongoing reforms aimed at easing visa regulations will make way for new source markets.
What to Expect from Rotana in 2019-2020
Despite challenging economic conditions in the region, Rotana has maintained its sharp focus on controlled expansion to deepen the company’s presence in its home market of the UAE and expand the footprint to leading markets globally. In 2018, Rotana opened nine new hotels in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, and in February this year, the company took over Iraqi capital Baghdad’s famed Babylon Hotel to operate under its new brand name, Babylon Rotana Baghdad.
Close on the heels of its long-term growth strategy, Rotana has also laid out an impressive pipeline plan for 2019 and the years to come. Between this year and 2020, Rotana will open nine new properties to bring its inventory of operational keys to 21,135. In line with its vision to bring its signature hospitality to new markets, Rotana has also placed significant emphasis on expanding its presence in the African continent.
Rotana currently manages a portfolio of over 100 properties throughout the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Turkey, with an aggressive expansion plan in place. Rotana has chosen to acknowledge how precious time is by making all time spent in their range of hotels ‘Treasured Time’. This means Rotana has pledged to understand and meet the individual needs of all guests. In so doing, Rotana has evolved its product brands to include, Rotana Hotels & Resorts, Centro by Rotana, Rayhaan Hotels & Resorts by Rotana, Arjaan Hotel Apartments by Rotana and The Residences by Rotana. Treasured Time. The Rotana promise to you.
Further information on any Rotana property, its brands or reservations can be obtained by visiting rotana.com or by contacting one of the regional sales offices