Mohammad Omar Bin Haider (MOBH) Hospitality, a subsidiary of MOBH Holding Group, plans to double the number of hotels and rooms in the UAE by 2020, thus creating over 5,000 jobs, said a senior company official.
Speaking to Emirates 24l7, Dave Cockburn, Group General Manager at MOBH Hospitality, said: “We have a number of projects in the pipeline… By 2020, our aim is to have at least 5,000 rooms; it’s more than doubling from our current 2,200 rooms, generating 5,000 jobs in the country.”
Dubai-based MOBH Holding Group is a well-diversified conglomerate with interests in real estate, insurance, hospitality, education and healthcare, banking, marine, aviation and petroleum industries.
MOBH’s hospitality section consists of three sections – one owns and manages hotels which is Excelsior Hotels; second section owns with third party management; and third owns and manages hotel apartments under Deebaj brand.
Cockburn revealed that the hospitality unit currently has 7 properties under its umbrella and target is to have 15 in operation by 2020 as number of projects are at various stages of completion.
“We have a project at Palm Jumeirah; in fact we are fortunate to purchase the last section of the Palm where we’ll build 5-star hotel. We are in discussion at the moment with 3-4 global management groups to manage the property for us. Our intention is to break ground by July or August 2014 by the latest and build in 18 months. It will be 200-room hotel with other state-of-the-art amenities.
“In Al Nahda, we have a property which will be a combination of hotel and services apartments. We’re in close negotiations with a global brand for the management contract. It will be a good site because it’ll cater both Sharjah and Dubai sides. For others, we are still deciding whether to put our brand management on them which is the Grand Excelsior or go to the third party management,” he said.
“In Studio City, we’ll be proceeding with Starwood Aloft brand that’ll come online in 2 years; in Fujairah, we are doing due diligence now of a project; another site is being developed in Al Barsha and two sites are in Al Garhoud where we’ll demolish two buildings and build new hotels. So if you look at the pipeline between now and 2020, our expectation is to have at least 80 per cent – if not 90 per cent – of these projects up and operational; so it’s quite an aggressive pipeline,” Cockburn added.
He said: “With Dubai getting Expo 2020, the pent-up demand has already started to happen; Expo has given us confidence to fast-track these pipeline projects”.
A hospitality veteran with over 2 decades of experience in senior management, Cockburn has been associated with a number of global hospitality brands in US, Europe, New Zealand, and Middle East.
Hospitality executive with solid operational experience and accomplishments, Cockburn boasts an extensive background in both domestic and international multi-site operations including large-scale portfolios in the luxury market. He also boasts an impressive track record of developing and executing turnaround strategies for under-performing hotel groups and managing significant individual hotels.
Cockburn said most of these projects will come online in 2015-16.
Commenting on expanding its hotel management brand, Cockburn said plan is to grow Grand Excelsior brand through new build, acquisitions or managed contract.
“Our plan is to grow Grand Excelsior brand either through new build, acquisitions or management contract. We’ll find those hotels which are underperforming and the strength of our management can bring value to them and offer reasonable returns. With our brand we can bring something unique to the customers.”
He also revealed that the group recently did a feasibility trip to Salalah, Oman, and saw strong opportunity there.
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