Rotana Hotels announced major expansion plans in a press briefing held at the Fahaheel Manshar Rotana last week. Guy Hutchinson, chief operating officer of Rotana Hotel Management Corporation expressed excitement and optimism at the Rotana Hotel plans for the year 2016.
“We are opening 12 hotels in 12 months and we expect 2016 to be a great year for Rotana Hotels,” Hutchinson told The Times Kuwait adding that they will be opening their first hotel in sub-Saharan Africa, in Congo, in addition to opening in Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Hutchinson also revealed that Rotana would be opening another hotel in Kuwait in two years’ time which will be located near the 360 Mall under their Centro brand adding 200 rooms to its inventory. Centro is a lifestyle hotel with a unique concept that has become quite popular among travelers and visitors. Hutchinson went on to point out that Rotana gives a lot of importance to the Kuwait market and has a dedicated office of 5 persons to promote their destinations.
Commenting on the present economic scenario Hutchinson pointed out that the hotel industry is a long-term investment of 20 to 30 years and there might be some years when business might not be great, but the underlying fundamentals of the GCC are very good.
The GCC represents the largest outbound and inbound travel market in the region for Rotana, both in terms of volume and value. Currently, 37 percent of Rotana's room nights and 40 percent of Rotana's room revenue are generated from the GCC region, Hutchinson said, adding that the company has been seeing an increase of more than 8 percent year on year.
Commenting on the growth prospects for Rotana and the wider industry in 2016, Hutchinson said at the round table, “We are very optimistic about the outlook for Kuwait and GCC tourism sector in 2016, despite the fact that market conditions are expected to remain challenging well into the year due to the fall in oil prices. Increased spending by GCC governments to enhance infrastructure and accelerate the pace of economic diversification is expected to positively impact continued investor appetite for the region and its tourism industry.”
On the top hospitality trends expected in the Middle East in 2016, Hutchinson said, “The Millennials, or the new-generation travelers, have been the latest focus for the industry. We’re seeing a lot of growth in that area and then they’re influencing the older generations as well. Rotana has been pioneering e-commercefocused innovations in the Middle East hospitality industry. Furthermore, we have developed a Rotana Mobile App which has posted a 20percent increase in monthly mobile bookings in 2015, delivering a significant return on investment in developing the mobility platform.”
Rotana currently manages more than 100 hotels in the Middle East, Africa South Asia and Eastern Europe, and has an aggressive expansion plan for the future. “For us expansion is just the natural evolution of growth and our focus is to take the brands into key cities around the world,” emphasized Hutchinson.