Posted on February 10, 2017

Rotana will open two more hotel properties in Qatar in the next two years with a $250mn investment to further strengthen its presence in the country’s growing hospitality sector, a senior official has announced. “Downtown Arjaan by Rotana, Doha is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2018 and Plaza Rayhaan by Rotana, Doha, our first property in Qatar under the Rayhaan Hotels and Resorts brand, in the fourth quarter of 2019,” Rotana chief operating officer Guy Hutchinson explained.

The upcoming properties will add 765 rooms to Rotana’s existing inventory of 1,510 rooms in Qatar, bringing the total tally to 2,275 keys, he told a press conference on Wednesday. “At the end of 2019, we will have all of our brands here in Qatar and will be operating close to 2,300 rooms, which probably would make us close to being the largest hotel operator in Doha,” Hutchinson said. He pointed out that Rotana’s expansion efforts aim to support Qatar’s economic diversification strategy and contribute towards the country’s vision of attracting 7mn visitors by 2030.

Rotana, one of the leading hotel management companies in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and Eastern Europe, currently operates four properties in Qatar: City Centre Rotana, Oryx Rotana (both five star), Centro Capital Doha, and Sedra Residences by Rotana. The proposed Rotana properties will have different markets. The Arjaan brand is a hotel apartment designed for long stay while the Rayhaan brand, which is alcohol-free, caters to travellers. “It is not something that will compete in the traditional five-star or three-star. These brands will complement each other, it will enable us to organise differently with procurement, sales, and marketing,” Hutchinson said.

He cited that the Qatar market has traditionally been heavily developed in five-star deluxe, about 80% of the total rooms in Doha. “Each property is slightly different, the Oryx Rotana has always traded extremely well with benefits from being at the airport,” the COO noted. “It runs at a level probably at the top end of the market, particularly in terms of the occupancy because of its history and traction, and also its partnership with Qatar Airways.” He said the City Center Doha, has been “doing extremely well” with 80% occupancy in peak months while the Centro has exceeded their expectation. “It is not in the prime location, but the speed in which the Centro has really taken off, has illustrated to us that there is really a lot of demand for that brand, a mid market level of accommodation,” Hutchison added.

About industry trends and developments, he disclosed that the months leading up to 2017 were characterised by economic headwinds caused by regional and global trends which slowed growth for the hospitality industry. But despite these challenges, Hutchinson expects tourist numbers to increase further in the coming years due to Qatar’s continuing efforts to further develop its tourism industry and with the 2022 FIFA World Cup drawing closer.

source: Gulf Times

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