WITH its sights firmly set on bring the number of properties to 50 from current 22 within next five years, the upscale Maltese Hotel chain Corinthia is contemplating moving into the ripe Middle East market.
“There are a few major projects at the final stages, largely in Central Europe which will mature within this year, but we are still at scouting stage for Middle East and plan to enter this competitive market as property managers and operators. We are more interested in first raising the Corinthia’s brand profile in the region and then move in for major projects,” Paul Pisani, director, business development, Corinthia Hotels International says.
Pisani who has been a frequent visitor to Arabian Gulf region believes there is still room for hospitality ventures with a personalized touch in major cities like Doha, Abu Dhabi, Muscat and Bahrain.
“There are enough hotels, but not enough who can provide a personal touch in service. For Corinthia, personalised service is the key to success and this is what we intend to offer when we move into Middle East.
With the pioneering concept of ‘five senses room’ for the leisure market, CHI has 20 four and five star properties, however, the new focus is on developing the MICE market with acquiring more city hotels with extensive meeting and conferencing facilities.
“There are finalizing three deals in Central Europe, which will enhance Corinthia’s MICE portfolio. Deals have been made but they are not yet enforced. We are definitely moving towards offering diverse facilities and adding up more city rooms to our strength. Currently the figure stands at 70 per cent of the total room stock compared to previous 40:60 ratio,” he adds.
The chain is carrying out a massive branding exercise, projecting its premier collection. “Starting from three properties family-owned in Malta, we have grown across continents. It is still largely a family business but changes were embraced at different times to accommodate growth and today we are known for some of the best properties in the Europe, Asia and North Africa,” he continues.
Corinthia, greatly respected in the hospitality industry as a dynamic and pioneering company, with an extraordinary ‘sixth sense’ for establishing itself as the market leader in upcoming destinations. When CHI started looking at expanding outside of Malta, it didn’t look at mature tourist destinations, but at countries that were ripe for development. This strategy has paid off handsomely -- Malta in the 70’s and 80’s; Turkey in the early 90’s; and central Europe (Prague and Budapest) in the mid-90’s; and now St Petersburg and the Bab Africa Hotel in Tripoli. Corinthia made the right moves at right times and today is reaping the fruits of foresight,” he explains.
Besides incorporating more city centre properties through management contracts and strengthening Corinthia as a brand, the company is focusing on improving its product offering. “Be it the leisure or business aspect of a hotel, we are working hard to find a combination of products which can make a difference in the market and establish Corinthia as a hospitality leader in Europe and elsewhere.”