Stressing an European heritage

The Kempinski Hotel Ishtar

Brand: Kempinski Hotels
Spokesperson: Ulrich Eckhardt, managing director of Kempinski Hotel Ajman and senior vice-president Middle East & Africa

Plans for 2007?
We will continue to roll out our expansion plan in the Middle East and Africa, with our next opening at the end of 2007 – the Kempinski Hotel Royal Palace in Agadir, Morocco. It features 236 deluxe rooms, 17 residential apartments and 37 suites besides a 3000sqm spa and wellness centre. Our opening in Morocco will give Kempinski an even stronger foothold in Africa. The recently opened Djibouti Palace Kempinski already is establishing our reputation in the region as leading five-star resort destination. 

Strategy in the face of competition?
Our priority to guests is to continuously deliver on our promise of offering the best in European Classic Service and subtle luxury, which our guests prefer over the opulence or intrusive service style of competitors. We truly believe that our style of hotel and service appeals to a wide range of customers.

Bullish about 2007?
Our expansion strategy will continue targeting the boom markets in the Middle East & Africa, China & Asia and Eastern Europe, where our European heritage for quality and service is a welcome addition to the booming landscape. We have and continue to benefit from growth in these developing markets. Bringing our product to developing markets, allowing the guests to experience our style, quality and sensitivity to their needs and preferences in their home market, is the best campaign you can run to persuade the guest to choose our flagship hotels across the world.

New source markets?
In the Middle East our strategy is to partner with the strongest developers and investors. We will continue to drive our expansion in this region, even into those markets where American competitors opt out. With regard to Africa, we are currently looking into a range of potential projects so we offer loyal customers and new fans a more diversified portfolio of properties offering trusted service, signature quality, even in the more remote and under-explored destinations on the continent.

New for guests?
Our guests can look forward to what everything they already expect from Kempinski – the highest level of personal service, properties in beautiful locations, each and every one of them a gem in itself. We constantly thrive to expand our portfolio by developing even more exceptional properties that will only serve to heighten the standards in our existing ones.

How has political unrest affected your group and will it impact business in 2007?
It is true that our hotel in N'Djamena has had to bear the uncertainty and worries of the local unrest in Chad, but all is back to normal and we firmly believe that to give in is to give up. Naturally the safety of staff and guests is of the utmost importance, but safety and terrorism is a global issue that is unavoidable. What we have learned is that clear communications and sustainable development of our products helps generate support from the local community. In addition it has to be said that Kempinski Hotels has the advantage of being understood and appreciated as being a brand that does not impose itself, but rather respect local culture and heritage by integrating itself with the local community.