Accor is mapping out its blueprint for accelerated growth in the Middle East & Africa at the annual Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Ras al Khaimah.
The rapidly-expanding group currently operates over 260 properties with 60,000 or more rooms across 36 countries in the region.
With more than 20 projects opening in 2019 alone, the group is highlighting strong development opportunities for its unrivalled portfolio of residences, extended-stay and lifestyle brands, as well as the growth potential for all-inclusive luxury resorts, at the annual hospitality industry forum in Ras Al Khaimah.
“We have identified a strong consumer appetite for innovative hotels, residences and resorts that have a distinct lifestyle and entertainment focus in strategically-important markets region wide,” explained Mark Willis, chief executive, Accor Middle East & Africa.
“With our unrivalled portfolio of brands, agile approach to development and attractive business models, Accor is partnering with like-minded owners and investors to introduce concepts that anticipate current and future guest demands, adding meaningful value in an increasingly competitive market place and offering robust return on investment.”
Willis is one of the high-profile speakers at AHIC’s ‘Synching for Success’ panel session (on Wednesday, April 10th), and will discuss which business models will retain and attract more owners against a backdrop of increased hotel room supply.
Accor now offers the largest and most diversified portfolio of lifestyle brands in the industry, providing owners with a unique proposition – the opportunity to invest in curated brands and collaborate with their maverick founders and chief executives, while simultaneously leveraging the strength of one of the world’s leading hospitality groups in terms of distribution, loyalty, procurement, regional expertise and more.
The group’s augmented lifestyle portfolio currently includes Jo&Joe, Mama Shelter, partnerships with 25Hours and sbe Entertainment (including the Delano, SLS, The House of Originals, Mondrian and Hyde brands) and most recently its midscale brand, Tribe, identifying the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman as target growth markets.
Its regional expansion campaign for these concepts is gaining momentum with the first Mama Shelter, 25Hours and SLS properties all on track to make their Middle East debut in 2020 with hotly-anticipated launches in Dubai.
SLS Dubai Hotel & Residences, considered the cornerstone of sbe’s Middle East development strategy and set to be one of the tallest hotels and residences in the region, will be housed in a 75-story tower in Business Bay.
It will feature 254 design-led hotel rooms, 371 branded residences, 321 hotel apartments, one of the highest swimming pools in the world and sbe’s signature culinary concepts.
sbe, in which Accor purchased a 50 per cent stake in October last year, is a hospitality specialist that develops, manages and operates hotels, residences, restaurants and nightclubs in partnership with cultural visionaries.
With 28 residential and extended-stay brands across its portfolio, each of which catering to a specific industry segment, Accor is well positioned to meet robust demand for projects of this nature region wide.
The MEA accounts for 40 per cent of the group’s residential pipeline of 60-plus projects, with Accor offering 16 brands within its residential portfolio across its midscale to luxury segments.
Among the recent launches in the Middle East and Africa is Fairmont Residences Royal Palm Marrakech offering 39 private villas and representing the first residences concept of its kind in the Moroccan city.
The group is also the leading operator with the largest portfolio of extended-stay properties outside of the US, boasting a network of almost 300 properties and 60 more under development.
In 2018, the group witnessed 100 per cent development growth in the MEA as global demand for this type of product gained momentum and as a result, it is on track to more than triple its portfolio from ten to 30-plus stand-alone and co-located extended-stay projects by 2022.
Accor is also championing a hospitality concept that is new to the Middle East market – all-inclusive, all-exclusive and fully-integrated entertainment resorts operated by Rixos, a brand with a unique positioning that has fast gained market traction since the group took a share in the company.
The October 2018 opening of Rixos Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi features 366 rooms and suites, 12 four-bed villas with private pools, ten restaurants and lounges, a water park, spa, kids’ club, water sports centre and much more. This tested new hospitality formula proved an overnight success, appealing to guests from major regional and global source markets who appreciate luxury, high service standards, value for money and innovative entertainment and dining all under one roof.
Looking ahead, Accor is now in advanced discussions to manage several more all-inclusive entertainment resorts operated by Rixos in major Gulf markets, as well as leisure destination favourite, Egypt.