CEO of HMH- Hospitality Management Holding, Aboudi Asali, addressed the recent Gulf & Indian Ocean Hotel Investment Summit (GIOHIS 2018) in Abu Dhabi, revealing the pioneering role the group has played in new and potentially challenging markets, such as those in Africa.
Taking part in a panel discussion, ‘Investing in Frontier Markets – Dangerous Hype or Solid Profits?’, Mr. Asali stressed that these new markets were an exciting investment prospect, but operators such as HMH had to educate investors of the risks as well as the lucrative potential of the low supply-high demand scenario in such countries.
“At HMH, we have found that investing in frontier markets is not in line with any other markets,” he explained to the audience of industry experts. “If it takes one to three years to develop hotel assets in a developed market, it can take twice that amount of time in these particular countries which can be prone to instability and have challenges such as foreign ownership restrictions, currency limits, local funding and registration requirements, and different standards of corporate governance and financial reporting.”
Founded in 2003 and with a niche as a ‘dry’ hotel operator, HMH-Hospitality Management Holding has solid experience in Sudan, where it currently has two properties in the capital Khartoum as well as another hotel in Port Sudan and an additional hotel set to open soon: “Despite this pioneering presence, we feel the market still remains under-exploited and as a group we can benefit by committing to being there for the long-haul.” stressed Mr. Asali.
“From our experience, I would say those elements that have assisted us in hotel operations in frontier markets are a willingness to work closely with national and local authorities and the provision of training for staff in the country – while among challenges are currency fluctuations and airline access to the country.”
Founded in 2003 in Dubai, HMH – Hospitality Management Holding is a fully integrated hotel management company that prides itself for being one of the pioneers among local groups that are specialized in the dry segment. Being the largest operator in the sector within the region, HMH provides hotel owners and developers a broad spectrum of world-class management solutions with five distinct, yet complementary, hotel brands catering to varied market segments from luxury to budget. These include Bahi Hotels & Resorts, Coral Hotels & Resorts, Corp Hotels, EWA Hotel Apartments and ECOS Hotels.
HMH’s strategic expansion in the Middle East and North Africa has been successful in unlocking a world of opportunities while creating value for its stakeholders, associates, staff members and customers. The existing portfolio is located in some of the most desirable destinations across the MENA region, with a pipeline of hotels under development to grow HMH’s regional footprint even further.