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Interview with Nicolas Nasra, Head of Hotel Advisory, Hospitality & Tourism, Colliers in MENA

Interview with Nicolas Nasra, Head of Hotel Advisory, Hospitality & Tourism, Colliers in MENA

Continuing with our series of Interviews with Industry Leaders attending FHS Saudi Arabia taking place on the 29 April - 01 May 2024 at Mandarin Oriental Al Faisaliah, Riyadh, we next speak with Nicolas Nasra, Head of Hotel Advisory, Hospitality & Tourism, Colliers in MENA.

BTN: What are your core areas of focus when it comes to investment, i.e., in the areas of innovation, sustainability, human capital, and/or technology?

NN: At Colliers, we are deeply entrenched in the commercial real estate sector, offering specialised and tailored Hospitality & Tourism advisory services to a diverse range of clients. Our value proposition is multifaceted, focusing on conducting feasibility and highest-and-best-use studies, providing strategic advice, representing owners from an asset management perspective, and advising on acquisitions or dispositions. Our extensive market insights and experience, in combination with a wide array of projects we are involved in, enable us to tailor our services to meet each client’s specific needs.
Regarding investment analysis, our guiding principle is to always seek avenues for optimisation—enhancing the guest experience or improving operational efficiency. For this, we place a significant emphasis on operational and product innovations, identifying and implementing strategies that not only meet current market demands but also anticipate future trends.

BTN: What is your outlook for the hospitality industry in Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East in 2024 and beyond?

NN: From a hospitality market standpoint, hotspots in the Middle East are poised for another record-breaking year. This is buoyed by robust travel demand and strong operating performances despite global economic and political uncertainties. The visitation data shows strong international and regional demand growth beyond the development markets like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, and Cairo. The hospitality and tourism projects across various countries, driven by economic diversifying strategies, are beginning to manifest in the visitation and operational statistics.
Saudi Arabia, arguably the global leader in hospitality and tourism development, has recently celebrated a landmark achievement of 100 million tourist trips in 2023. Also, for this year, there are no signs of demand stalling. With a well-structured long-term plan in place and several mega projects in advanced stages, it will all come down to successful execution. This includes enhancing the local infrastructure to accommodate tourism growth, developing the human capital to ensure sufficient availability of skilled staff and experienced management, ensuring timely and quality finishing of the developments, and creating effective marketing and promotional strategies to attract the desired target audience.


BTN: What does your panel/presentation/workshop at FHS focus on, and what will delegates be able to take away from your session?

NN: I plan to be moderating the panel “Navigating Tomorrow’s Hospitality: The Evolutionary Intersection of AI, IT, and Human Touch for Unparalleled Guest Experiences” on the first day of FHS. Our discussion will explore integrating AI, IT, and human interaction, emphasising their collective role in forging efficient, personalised, and deeply engaging service experiences.
The main takeaway for our audience will be how to strike a perfect balance between technological advancements and the human touch. This equilibrium is essential for delivering services that not only meet the efficiency and personalisation delivered by technology but also exude the warmth and care that are only possible through human interaction. This harmony is pivotal for the hospitality industry’s future, enabling it to meet and surpass guest expectations continually.

BTN: What are you looking forward to most from your attendance at FHS Saudi Arabia?

NN: Beyond the networking opportunities and the chance to foster existing relationships, FHS represents a forward-looking journey. It is about exploring the future of hospitality real estate, understanding the potential challenges our clients could be facing, and discovering new opportunities for our advisory services. This event is a treasure trove of learning opportunities, allowing ourselves to absorb new ideas, trends, and perspectives that will enable us to serve our clients better. So, our focus is on learning, observing, and immersing ourselves in the industry’s future directions.