Rotana aims to have a property in every key city in the Middle East and this goal is being steadily achieved, according to Selim El Zyr, president and CEO, Rotana who outlined the group’s expansion plans across the UAE.
“We currently have a portfolio of 62 properties in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt, Amman, Oman and Syria. As long as we are able to manage our growth in an efficient way then we will take further properties as we are extremely cautious on expanding strategically and efficiently. In addition, we have committed to have 25 Centro properties within the coming five years,” he said.
“Our priority is to have a property in the main cities in Saudi Arabia and in Cairo. We are currently negotiating several other projects but we are keen on taking the ones that would guarantee a healthy return to the owners and those would add value to our brand. But we welcome any other appropriate opportunity in the remaining Arab states.”
“During ATM we will be showcasing our new brand throughout our 120 sq stand. Also, we are in negotiations for new properties and perhaps we will be announcing a new number of properties. This will be detailed in a later stage,” he said.
Five properties in the UAE open in 2008, and between 2009 and 2010, 13 properties will open in Abu Dhabi and two Centro by Rotana properties will open in Dubai.
He believed it was vital for the group to re examine their brand structure to further expand their portfolio. Rotana’s brand revitalising was crucial to ensure differentiation between the various products. Two new products - Arjaan by Rotana and Rayhaan Hotels & Resorts by Rotana - complement their existing portfolio.
Arjaan properties are aimed at long term guests and families.
“Those staying longer than the average visitor will appreciate the particularly spacious accommodation, whilst families relish the promise of an environment which more closely resembles home,” said Zyr.
Rayhaan, an Arabic name that refers to an aromatic plant mentioned in the Holy Quran, reflects the group respect for the culture and beliefs of guests, offering a no alcohol option.
Rotana has also a new identity for the division formerly known as Rotana Hotels, Suites & Resorts. Now operating under the name Rotana Hotels & Resorts, it is characterised by excellent dining venues. “Rotana Hotels & Resorts is one of the leading names on the market, offering first-rate food that caters for the requirements of the local markets in which the company operates.”
Centro, launched in 2006, offers superior accommodation at an affordable price, aiming at a new generation of traveller seeking finesse and functionality at reasonable rates. A total of 25 Centro properties across the Middle East are due to be opened by 2014.
“Centro is coming at a time that will ideally position it for continuous long-term development, strong operating performance and sustainable growth well in to the future,” he said.
The Centro concept provides essential amenities and necessities specifically geared to the travelling executive. Standard guest rooms at Centro hotels are approximately 21sq m. Special features include the design, functionality and ergonomics of the furniture, in-room technology, innovatively styled bathrooms, and a unique aspect includes deli style dining and take away service for in house guests.
The main challenge facing Rotana is to find staff, as “we will need about 15,000 team members over the next five years.
Rotana Hotels currently has 6000 employees and by 2010 the company will be increasing it’s manning by 150 per cent, which makes the approximate total number of employees 15,000.
“Rotana Hotels is looking at recruiting 8,300 employees, out of which are 27 general managers, 330 department heads, 390 managers, 685 supervisors and 6600 employees. The traditional markets in emerging countries such as India are simply drying up because of the availability of jobs locally and global competition.
“Another challenge is remaining up to speed with online technologies since we anticipate that up to 50 per cent of our business will be generated online within the next five to seven years,” said Zyr.