How has 2007 fared for the Movenpick Hotels & Resorts?
It is still early to give final figures however the forecast indicates that the year will close with a 25 per cent increase in revenues compared to 2006 and a similar amount of increase in gross operating profits for the Middle East and Asia region.
Some of this increase could be attributed to the openings of MovenpickHotel & Resort Al Bida’a Kuwait and MovenpickTower & Suites Doha.
What are the company’s plans for 2008?
We intend to launch our new five star hotel in Al Khobar by the end of February 2008 followed by MovenpickHotel Jumeirah Beach in September 2008. At the same time we will be working on 21 projects currently being developed and which will open between 2009 and 2011.
Are there plans to enter new markets?
The focus for 2008 and beyond will be mainly on expanding our presence in Asia. We now have a regional office in Asia and have already hired two development directors for the Asia region. New markets for us next year will be Thailand, China, Vietnam and India.
What is the company’s strategy in the face of competition?
Our strategy is simple. Focus will continue on employee training and development to ensure higher levels of service for our guests as well as building brand awareness while expanding our regional sales marketing and revenue network.
Movenpick bullish about 2008? If yes, why?
Yes 2008 for us will continue the strong upward momentum witnessed in both 2006 and 2007. We see no reason for this to change given that across the GCC demand will continue outstripping any additional supply of accommodation options.
As mentioned, our focus for growth next year is very firmly on Asia which is currently witnessing a tourism boom as the effect of the 2005/2006 Tsunami have now fully faded.
We foresee an additional 25 per cent growth in the combined revenues and GOP’s of our hotels in the Middle East and Asia mostly due to the additional hotels coming online.
What can guests look forward to in the New Year?
Marketing wise our focus for 2008 will be purely on anticipating guest preferences and personalising guest’s stays through automated guest recognition programmes, complaint handling and rapid response mechanisms.
What will be the biggest challenges facing you in the Middle East in 2008?
The entire hospitality industry will face the same issue, that of human resources. The recruitment, in 2009 and beyond, of more than 15,000 employees for MovenpickHotels & Resorts alone will be our biggest challenge for the coming few years.