How would you describe your leadership style?
After working in a variety of cultures for many years, I believe that the most important thing is how you adapt to situations. You will always be presented with new scenarios, so knowing how to deal with them gracefully and patiently comes with experience. It is vital to learn from the past and face challenges with positivity. I would say that I have a family-oriented leadership style, with a deep sense of emotion where my team is concerned.

What defines a successful hotelier?
There are so many qualities that define a successful hotelier. Some of the most important ones are:
∞ Passion for your job
∞ Taking ownership of what you do on a daily basis
∞ Persevering
∞ Serving others with grace and pride
∞ Paying attention to the finer details
∞ Being motivated and positive
∞ Knowing how to maintain good relations with owners

Do you think the younger generation of hospitality professionals has something new to offer?
Over the last 10 years, topics relating to sustainability and technology have gained traction. Today, the new generation is more adept at dealing with speed; they live fast-paced lives and are more tech savvy. What is important, though, is that the new generation understands the hospitality basics and values the human element.

What have been the greatest highlights of your professional career?
Whether it is the hotel owners, the team or our customers, serving people and seeing them smile is the greatest highlight. Providing our employees with more than just a hotel job is also rewarding, as we watch them climb the ladder and excel in the industry. Funnily enough, I just received a call from a former employee who thanked me for having contributed to his career and for helping him rise through the ranks and reach a general manager position. Moreover, it is satisfying to be shown gratitude by the hotel owners and receive a pat on the back for successfully running their properties.

What are the global hospitality trends that are impacting the MENA region?
In my opinion, the future of the hospitality industry can be summarized as follows:
I) Five pillars
∞ Evolving consumer behavior habits
∞ Health, safety and wellness
∞ Purchasing power/spending
∞ Digitization
∞ Sustainability

II) Six key areas
∞ Remote working
∞ New ways of traveling
∞ Greener destinations
∞ Rural tourism
∞ Technology
∞ Private transportation

How is Louvre Hotels faring in the Middle East?
Entrepreneurial spirit and agility are part of our DNA, and we need to rely on this more than ever to accompany owners during this period of recovery to continue building long-term partnerships. Indeed, exciting times are ahead in the MENA region, as we introduce new concepts, such as the mid-scale lifestyle offering of Campanile, which stands to serve our younger, more dynamic customer profile. Coupled with the redesigned modern upscale Golden Tulip brand, we are set to introduce our all-new extended-stay Tulip Residences brand.
All in all, our focus is on expanding our footprint of new-age hotels to ensure we stay relevant for the guests of today and tomorrow.
Louvre Hotels has over 10,000 rooms in operation in the MENA region and Georgia, with more than 12,500 rooms in the pipeline. By 2024, we aim to be present in all capital cities within the MENA region.

Which markets are you most interested in right now and why?
The leading marketplace remains the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This has been the case for many years now, and this trend is likely to continue thanks to the visionary leadership of HRH Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud and the formation of a new Ministry of Tourism. Countless megaprojects are being developed to drive tourism in the kingdom. Indeed, the extended-stay segment profile of our newly introduced Tulip Residences brand, as well as mid-scale budget hotels, notably our Campanile brand, provide opportunities in Tunisia, Algeria and other prospective markets where we are on our way to being a leading hotel chain. We work with the ministries to support the growth of their economies. I anticipate that Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE and Kuwait will witness greater momentum, while Egypt continues to be a key market for tourism development.

What are the group’s latest developments?
Louvre Hotels Group MENA is leading the way in terms of expansion. However, we were affected by the pandemic, with many of our hotel projects put on hold. Thankfully, we are now able to resume our activities.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia remains at the helm of our growth, where Louvre Hotels Group currently operates 17 properties in leading destinations across the country. We are on track to launch a number of additional properties this year. Our project pipeline consists of 12 distinct hotel, reflecting a growing emphasis on budget-friendly, tech-focused accommodation in Saudi Arabia. Supported by Flamingo Hospitality Management, Louvre Hotels Group is expanding throughout the region. We are excited that Kyriad, Campanile will be debuting in Tunis, while we are set to welcome two Tulip Residences in KSA and one in Bahrain. Furthermore, two Kyriad and two Golden Tulip hotels are slated for Algeria.

Rita Ghantous