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‘Our Indian business has experienced impressive growth’

We are committed to make our brand visible across all the major and upcoming destinations around the world. Our development pipeline in 2023 is very strong with the further expansion of our brands including Address Hotels + Resorts and Vida Hotels and Resorts, says Mark Kirby, Head of Hospitality, Emaar Hospitality Group in a conversation with Prasenjit Chakraborty.

In your opinion, what are some of the important factors determining hotel industry trends in the new normal?

With challenges during the pandemic, we focused more on re-inventing practices and new investments in people and products. With the new normal, we are experiencing some new travel trends and our brands are successfully embracing these changes. We are focused on adopting sustainable solutions, wellness initiatives, and contact-less services as tourists are becoming more mindful of factors like environment, wellness, and safety. For us, guest experiences remain at the heart of what we do, and therefore it is very crucial for us to ensure that hotels are fully aligned with our guests’ needs.

Which are your important source markets? How do you plan to attract more footfall from India?

Emaar Hospitality Group has gained prominence in the GCC region with its brands that have organically grown from within the UAE to an exceptional breadth of hotels and resorts in key locations across the region. The group attracts key international markets with a focus on the GCC, India, China, Europe, and Israel.

India is very important to us as it is one of the biggest outbound markets in the world, one of the biggest in Dubai, and amongst the top 10 for Bahrain and Turkey. Therefore, we are committed to continue growing our prominence in India to ensure this market stays aligned with our existing and upcoming strategies.

Also, our presence in India is not new, we have been represented through the Nijhawan Group for over a decade and our Indian business has experienced impressive growth. However, the last 2 years were challenging for travel and tourism across all regions but despite this, India has continued to show true potential and growth. We look forward to welcoming the Indian market to Bahrain, Turkey, and very soon in Egypt.

What are your investment and expansion plans? (Specifically for India or Asia)

We are committed to making our brand visible across all the major and upcoming destinations around the world. Our development pipeline in 2023 is very strong with the further expansion of our brands including Address Hotels + Resorts and Vida Hotels and Resorts. Additionally, through our joint venture with Giorgio Armani, we will also be developing the Armani brand beyond Dubai and Milan very soon.

We have new openings within the UAE along with international destinations including Egypt, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia – all locations with India as one of its key markets.

What are the opportunities that you foresee for Emaar Hospitality Group?

Emaar Hospitality Group is successfully capturing new markets in the region, and we see immense opportunities with our growing portfolio. Our latest openings like Address Istanbul and Vida Marassi al Bahrain have received great responses in these markets. Our brands have immense potential to successfully expand to new markets.

Even during the pandemic, we were focused on re-inventing practices and making new investments in people and products. We continued to expand and grow as a brand despite the recent challenges as our approach was focused on regional expansion and innovative experiences for our guests. This strategy has proven to be a success as our industry is now revived with open travel and tourism around the world while we are ready to welcome tourists with multiple new openings offering exceptional services at top destinations in the region. Going forward, we see a lot of opportunity and potential in new markets that are aligned with the group’s expansion strategy.

What are the lessons you learnt from the pandemic?

Despite the changes during the pandemic, as a group, we remained focused on our strategies to keep growing our brands and catering to the needs of our guests with innovative and safe solutions. Also, it is important to note that UAE was one of the first countries to restore the confidence of its citizens and residents through an effective vaccination campaign and informed policy.

Overall, it is important to have the right strategies and policies in place to ensure the success of our industry and therefore platforms like this are very important for our industry to come together and plan the way forward.

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