Jumeirah seems to have set its eyes on expansion. Now after Middle East, Europe and Asia, is it ahoy Americas?
Jumeirah Hotels is keen to invest in more properties in Europe. Having recently acquired Le Richemond in Switzerland’s Lake Geneva, Jumeirah with a 26-property portfolio now has five hotels in Europe.
“We do realize that the way to grow at the pace we want to is to invest. And we do have a strategy to continue investing in trophy assets and key assets,” said Katerina Giannouka, CEO of Jumeirah Group in conversation with Skift President Carolyn Kremins during the Future of Lodging Forum in London on Wednesday.
With a large proportion of its portfolio being based in the Middle East, Dubai specifically, Giannouka said the market’s booming and that has given the company financial capabilities to expand its business.
Talking about investing in more properties in Europe, Giannouka said in the medium term Jumeirah also wants to grow through hotel management agreements.
“We’re looking for key assets and places that are of interest to us and continue to be in Europe,” she said.
With five hotels in Asia, the group is also keen to continue to invest in the continent. “And then you’ve got the Americas. We do have plans to strategically grow the portfolio to those regions,” Giannouka said.
In terms of emerging markets, Giannouka said the hotel group has a pipeline that reflects some of its interests.
With a hotel at the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia opening next year, a hotel opening this year in Mecca, Giannouka also spoke about a hotel opening at the Formula 1 circuit in Bahrain, and hotels in Muscat and Dubai.
Speaking about wealth that’s transitioning now through generations and the emerging middle class, Giannouka said there’s a lot of volume of travel coming from luxury travelers in the region.
Looking a bit further afield, she spoke about the very strong China outbound market that’s starting to come back right now.
“A lot of it depends on air capacity and visa-free travel, even issuance of passports in China as there’s still limitations on travel outside of China, but with that market coming back we’re super excited to welcome back Chinese travelers,” she said.
Jumeirah has also noted a 25 percent increase in demand from sub-Saharan Africa and southern Africa. Giannouka is confident that the demand from this region would continue at double-digit growth.
And while these may be niche markets, the Jumeirah CEO observed the emergence of a new middle class and high net-worth individuals coming out of those African and sub-Saharan African states.
She also made note of demand coming from the India market and spoke about being able to cater to that market.
With dining becoming an experience, especially in Dubai, Giannouka spoke about the emergence of branded concepts, “Branded food and beverage at a really different level — hyperpersonalized and hyperfun entertainment, that’s a real trend we are seeing.”
Branded concepts is one trend that Jumeirah is investing in, Giannouka said, adding, “We’d like to see our concepts taken elsewhere as well.”
Jumeirah is also keen on trends around wellness, specifically longevity, said its CEO.
“We are going to invest into that space of really personalized wellness and well-being, where we can curate and develop programming for people around longevity, nutritional and spirituality,” Giannouka said.
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Photo credit: Jumeirah Group CEO Katerina Giannouka (left) and Skift President Carolyn Kremins at Skift Future of Lodging Forum in Londonl on March 29, 2023. Russell Harper Photography / Skift