It was a positive start to the year for Kerten Hospitality with our CEO, Marloes Knippenberg, speaking at the second annual Saudi Arabia Hotel Investment Conference (SHIC). SHIC was launched to meet the needs of the investment community in Saudi Arabia, which is reacting quickly to a number of developments in the cultural, economic, and social fabric of the country.
The two-day conference was held at the Marriott Riyadh Diplomatic Quarter from 22-23 January 2019.
Our CEO spoke on both days of the event: on 22 January, she spoke passionately about the merits and benefits of Cloud7 Hotels in an invitation-only panel titled ‘The Three Minute Pitch to Owners’. During this session, 16 hotel operators were invited to pitch their mid-market concepts to owners and investors. Cloud7 hotels speak to the next-generation traveler and can be rolled out across hotels and residences, are easy to operate, and like all our brands, can be adapted to the local community. The benefits for owners are plenty – from being economically friendly (we estimate at $80K per key) and flexible, we focus on per meter square profitability. Plus, owners love us for our in-depth collaboration – we aren’t simply taking over projects. We want to work side by side with owners for the best possible offering.
On the second day, 23 January, Knippenberg hosted a presentation titled ‘Creating New Products for Gen Z’. Who exactly is Gen Z? These are the individuals born from 1996-2010, and are already making their travel decisions known and are now slowly entering the workforce. As of the second half of 2018, the buying power of Gen Z had exceeded $500bn – that’s a hefty amount. And especially for them right now, JOMO (joy of missing out) is the new FOMO (fear of missing out). As an operator, all our offerings allow our travelers to disconnect, if they choose to, and truly immerse themselves in an authentic and local experience. The time to capitalize on this generation truly emerging on the world travel market is now – we have taken on the challenge.
At SHIC, we saw strongly more than ever before that the Middle East region is changing at a fast pace. Technology is more important than it has ever been, and Gen Z’s desires are driving trends on a global level. Every traveler, whether Gen Z or not, values their time and is eager to experience something real and authentic. With that in mind, owners in the region not only want to cater to these travelers but also want the form of hospitality which we bring – something we highlighted strongly at SHIC 2019.
Kerten Hospitality is set to debut its first Saudi Arabian property with The House Hotel Jeddah in 2019 – keep your eyes peeled for future announcements about this hotel!