Feature Interview: UAE based hotel chain, Rotana is adding 17 new properties across the Middle East in the next two years and looks to strengthen its German visitor base to fill the new rooms, President & CEO Omer Kaddouri told 4Hoteliers at the ITB Convention.
“Germany has always been a great source market for us,” Kaddouri said. “They look for leisure and beach holidays and are the largest group of occupants after the British.”
Kaddouri’s hotel chain witnessed a 15 percent year-on-year growth in the number of Germans visiting their United Arab Emirates properties in last year.
He added that the clientele is mainly older couples in their late 50s and young families, so it follows that safety is a big concern.
“They like to have a safe environment,” Kaddouri said. “Germans stopped going to Turkey for a while and other areas that were having problems.”
One of the things that make German tourists so attractive to the Rotana hotels is that they are loyal and do not let themselves become strangers.
“As long as you give them what you promise they deliver,” Kaddouri said. “They come back time and time again.”
To go above and beyond expectations it is important to have staff on hand that can communicate with these guests in their native language.
The Rotana CEO added that it is not safe to assume that all Europeans can get by in English.
A favorite hotel of German clients is the waterfront Salalah Rotana Resort in Oman with views of the Indian Ocean. German-speakers made up 31 percent of the hotel’s occupancy in 2016, while room nights booked by this demographic witnessed a 34 percent increase.
The group is putting an extra focus on attracting young families with children to create a new generation of customers.
“First we had the older people coming by and now younger couples with children are starting to choose our hotels for vacations,” Kaddouri said. “Its important to reach new customers, because those who have been visiting us for years are getting older and will not be able to travel at some point.”
These families helped to fill the rooms in 2016 as Rotana expanded its portfolio to 58 properties, but by the end of 2020, they have set their sights on running 100 properties.
A significant portion of this will be completed in 2017 and 2018.
For more information: www.rotana.com
Al Bandar Rotana & Arjaan
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