KUWAIT-based Safir Hotels and Resorts recently launched an updated corporate profile as it prepares to increase its offering by almost 25 per cent by the end of the year.
CEO Helmut Meckelburg, who joined the group two years ago, explained: “We want to make it very clear who we are and what we do.
“Previously Safir was a collection of hotels that were not particularly linked and did not conform to a brand standard. What we are aiming for is that agents and guests should be able to book with us and know they are getting a classic Safir standard almost cross the board.“
Typical of the Safir property of the future is the Safir Hotel & Residences at Fintas, Kuwait, which recently celebrated its first anniversary.
Contemporary in design the 146-room property also includes serviced apartments, leisure facilities and dining outlets. On a prime beachfront position it aims to provide the service and facilities the Safir group is known for with a modern twist which epitomises the new corporate identity.
Meckelburg added that, though there are certain properties which do not fit into that aim such as those which could more accurately be described as heritage destinations like Failaka Heritage Village – a very unique property which offers a sense of Kuwait’s history and allows guests to interact with the local population – and the soon to be opened Syrian mountain property, the aim is that, otherwise, the group will, in future pursue a brand standard.
And it is with this in mind that the new corporate profile has been launched aiming to promote the group’s activities not simply as a hotel management company but also in the field of asset management.
Meckelburg elaborated: “It is very common within this region for an owner to employ an asset management agent as well as a hotel management company but we, in fact, perform this as a dual purpose as a matter of course.
“When we agree to take on a property – and we are not just taking on every property, they have to be right for us and we have to be right for them – we will hold a detailed meeting with the owner to establish what they expect from us and whether it is something that we can deliver.
“If we are taking on a new build, we aim to be involved from the beginning rather than the end.
“Our vision is yielding sustainable and substantial returns on investment for our shareholders and investors and also for our owners and we can do that by managing their asset – the hotel – as part of the package.“
Safir Hotels and Resorts currently operates 17 hotels and will this year open further properties in Salalah, Oman, Malula, Syria and the United Towers and Safir Plaza in Kuwait.
The expansion represents a growth of almost 25 per cent and Meckelburg said there are several further properties in the pipeline.
“Overall the plan was to develop the portfolio by 2013 and with projects in the pipeline we are still targeting this number. Alongside the four properties that we will launch this year, we are also looking at Iraq with two to three further projects in Kerbala, another two in Baghdad and one in Erbil as well as others in Aleppo, and Egypt. We have just opened Doha and there are plans to renovate the iconic Marina Hotel in Kuwait.”
He added that the current political situation across the region will, of course, impact on operators throughout the tourism industry but said he believes the leaders will learn the lessons of Egypt and take pre-emptive steps to address political concerns in other areas which have experienced less serious unrest.
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