Indian mid-sector hotel brand plans Dubai foray
Lemon Tree Hotels, through its management subsidiary Carnation Hotels, has signed for the first Lemon Tree Hotel in Dubai. It is India's largest hotel chain in the mid-priced sector and the third largest overall.
The 115-room mid-scale property located across the Burj Al Arab on Al Wasl Road will open in Q3 of 2019. The hotel is owned by Al Waleed Real Estate. Raine & Horne are the official representatives of Carnation Hotels in the GCC.
This will be the first mid-scale hotel in the area and will serve both leisure and corporate visitors.
Rattan Keswani, deputy managing director, Lemon Tree Hotels, and director, Carnation Hotels, said: "We have a locational advantage, with the hotel strategically located in proximity to destinations such as the Burj Al Arab, Kite Beach and Mall of the Emirates and equidistant from Business Bay and JLT, the two major business districts of Dubai."
Mohammed Abdulrazzaq Abdul Aziz Al Mutawa, CEO of Al Waleed Real Estate, said: "There was a need for a midscale hotel of this calibre in this location. India has been the largest source market for tourism into Dubai, as well as the UAE as a whole, for over three years now."
Lemon Tree Hotels aims to include 8 to 10 properties in the region within a three-year timeframe. The group is already in discussions with more owners to manage hotels in other parts of the UAE, including Ras Al Khaimah.
"We also have interest in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait. We plan to bring Lemon Tree [mid-scale] and Lemon Tree Premier [upscale] brands to this region," Keswani told Khaleej Times. He added that mid-scale properties usually charge around 15 to 18 per cent less than what an upscale property would charge. "Pricing will be very competitive at our properties," he added.
Lemon Tree Hotels has 51 operating properties in India and around 31 under construction. "With this [Dubai] signing, we will have 3,700 hotel rooms in our portfolio. This is our fourth international signing, after two each in Bhutan and Nepal," Keswani explained.
On what would differentiate the property in a crowded hospitality market, he said: "We can bring here what we have been doing very successfully in India. Our rates and guest service have been found to be very effective. We have under 1 million loyalty card holders who account for 30 per cent of our business daily."
The hotel brand also employs differently abled people on the front desk, house keeping and room service. Almost 15 per cent of its total employees are differently abled and 5 per cent are economically and socially backward. "This is a value system and our differentiator. We will bring the same policies here," Keswani observed.
Sanjay Chimnani, managing director, Raine & Horne Dubai, said: "We had foreseen a huge potential for mid-scale hotels, and found a large opportunity in the market for an established brand. Lemon Tree Hotels boast an aggressive distribution network across India and a significant number of travel operators who act on their behalf internationally. We are in talks with numerous hotel owners to expand the brand across the GCC."
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