Saturday, February 24, 2024

Ishraq Hospitality redefines its role in the hospitality industry

Ishraq Hospitality, the hospitality and asset management division of the Mohamed & Obaid AlMulla Group, welcomed Richard Haddad as its Chief Executive Officer earlier this year. Since then, Haddad’s mission has been to drive growth for the extensive hotel portfolio while overseeing their regional expansion and reshaping the brand’s influence within the hospitality sector.

Central to their strategy is optimizing efficiency, enhancing performance, and maximizing returns across their existing property portfolio.

Ishraq Hospitality currently has a portfolio of eight-owned properties under IHG, including Holiday Inn Express (HIEX) hotels and Staybridge Suites as well as Crowne Plaza Deira and Crowne Plaza Dubai Jumeirah, and an exciting line-up of new hotel openings soon.

“We assessed our current portfolio to find ways to increase efficiency, performance, and returns for our current owners. Our strategy is to strengthen our financial performance, forming the basis for growth while ensuring exceptional guest experiences,” noted Haddad.

He continued, “Our second priority is transitioning from being an asset owner to becoming a leading hotel management company. This shift taps into our vast experience, knowledge, and success, benefiting not only our properties but those of other owners. This aligns with our vision of creating a network of thriving hospitality establishments under the Ishraq Hospitality brand.”

As part of their expansion plans, Ishraq Hospitality is venturing beyond its traditional UAE base into emerging markets like Africa and Central Asia. This expansion is driven by their commitment to sharing their expertise and replicating their success stories with new partners.

A significant milestone in this expansion is Ishraq Hospitality’s entry into the Georgian city of Batumi, where they will manage a multi-service building housing a 150-room Crown Plaza hotel and a 240-room hotel apartment residence. This strategy is aligned with their vision of becoming a preferred global hospitality partner in the industry.

Haddad added, “While our current portfolio resides in the UAE, I beleive that our experience and management vision will lead us into new, emerging markets like Georgia. The addition of the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Batumi View Hotel Apartments to our portfolio signifies our dedication to expanding our presence these strategic markets.”

He continued, “We hope to announce new hotels in Egypt and other destinations in Africa and Central Asia too. We are also looking to expand to Saudi Arabia and our home base, the UAE.

“Today our portfolio of properties are all affiliated with InterContinental Hotels and will continue to be our prefered partner, our growth into new markets could necessitate partnerships with diverse brands and operators. We also envision launching the Ishraq Hotels brand in the near future.”

Haddad highlighted the company’s robust performance, noting a strong first half with double-digit growth. “Dubai’s pioneering spirit in welcoming new markets while nurturing existing ones has been advantageous for us. We’ve welcomed guests from both traditional and emerging source markets, including Azerbaijan, Vietnam, Israel, and Latin America.”

Aligning with evolving guest preferences, Ishraq Hospitality is also embracing new technological innovations. Haddad noted, “The digital age has ushered in technological advancements and changes across industries. In hospitality, staying updated on trends like technology, digital experiences, and sustainability is pivotal for enhancing guest satisfaction and maintaining competitiveness.”

Ishraq Hospitality is also deeply committed to sustainability and social responsibility. Haddad outlined their ambitious targets, which include community volunteering, reducing food waste and paper usage, planting nearly 5,000 trees, and setting a target to reduce their single-use plastic usage by 60 percent by year-end, aligning with their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals.

The transformation and expansion journey of Ishraq Hospitality go well beyond geographical boundaries . By leveraging new experiences in new locations, nurturing partnerships, and being sustainably responsible, the company is shaping the future of hospitality.

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